The Overlooked History Of Jimmy Carter, Who Fights For His Life

Slandered in history by people not morally fit to tie his shoes. 

By Charles Pierce
Esquire (8/13/15)


Aw, goddammit to hell.

“Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body,” the former president, 90, said in a statement today. “I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare…A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”

This is a man who has lived a good, long, rich and decent life, and who has been slandered in history by people not morally fit to tie his shoes. I admit, my first exposure to him was in the frustrating stern chase in the 1976 Democratic primaries on behalf of Mo Udall. (Don’t ever mention the 1976 Wisconsin primary to me. I will nail your head to the floor.) But watching what was done to him during the 1980 campaign – including what I believe was the international ratfcking involving the Reagan campaign and the Iranian hostages – and subsequently during the following eight-year national amyloid cascade got me on his side. I don’t believe he was a good president, and it can be argued that the stick up his ass was the size of a Louisville slugger and that his talking about “ethnic purity” in our neighborhoods presaged what was coming with DLC politics. Nevertheless, this was a tough man, despite what you may have heard. He was tough enough to win a very hard primary season and then whip a sitting president in the general election. He was tough enough to hand a Kennedy the worst electoral drubbing anybody in that family ever suffered. And, more relevant to our current situation, he was a lot tougher on Iran than Ronald Reagan ever was.

In the existential crisis of his presidency, Carter made two mistakes: first, he listened to that old vampire, Henry Kissinger, and allowed the deposed Shah of Iran into this country for medical treatment, and second, he launched the ill-fated rescue mission instead of pursuing the patient strategy of squeezing the Iranian economy until it screamed. Other than that, he embargoed their oil and he froze their American assets. Whether or not you believe that William Casey was engaged in monkey-mischief during the 1980 presidential campaign – and I do – there seems little doubt that the Iranians released the hostages when Reagan was sworn in not because they were terrified of the man who would: a) unfreeze their assets; b) leave 243 Marines unprotected and cause them to be slaughtered by Iranian-backed terrorists, and, c) ultimately sell the mullahs some missiles, but rather as a final flip-off to Carter, whom they genuinely hated. Who was the tough guy there? Reagan’s myth has been built on the reputation of a better man, who now fights for his life. Godspeed, Jimmy, but we still should have beaten you in Wisconsin.

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