Wednesday, September 22, 2010

White House Diary


Seems Jimmy Carter is making a few waves with his promotional book tour of White House Diary.  You have to love the comments he made in regard to Christine O'Donnell,

He noted that even though he (Joe Biden) launched his national profile as an anti-Washington politician, he probably wouldn't be welcome within the tea party movement, since unlike O'Donnell, he has never "been involved with witchcraft ...

I would have to agree that Carter's post-presidency beats that of any recent president, and stacks up pretty well with those of the past, like John Q. Adams who remained a strong voice in the House long after his presidency.  All though, I imagine Clinton would have something to say about that.

20 comments:

  1. I think that was on the Daily Show and he said "he" as in Carter himself. It was a good line! Jon Stewart's reply was Carter was only 85 and there was still time!

    Chris Matthews showed that clip along with his interview of Bill Maher, someone I've never particularly warmed up to. But he made some interesting observations about O'Donnell et al.

    Matthews noted that Obama is being compared to Carter, and Maher ended with a strong defense of Carter who basically took unpopular positions in the public interest.

    I admire Carter, although I'm not so sure he was a very good president. Still, he did actually try to address the energy problem (which Reagan promptly reversed -- free markets for all) and access to health care.

    But he has lived his convictions after the presidency. Clinton has done good works, but I don't see him taking the lead the way Carter has done.

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  2. Agree. I think Carter's position on energy was what we needed at the time, but unfortunately Americans weren't ready to make the change. History, I think, has been very favorable to the positions Carter took during his presidency.

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  3. He also funded programs in low-income communities -- community action programs or CAPs I think -- which was a legacy I worked with, getting information out on solar and small-scale energy production, energy conservation, etc.

    Seems like a natural today to put people back to work and get serious again about energy conservation, which is much more cost effective than energy production.

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  4. The irony of it is that Carter created more jobs than Reagan, who has been widely hailed by neo-cons as "saving" the economy.

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  5. I need to read more about the Reagan presidency. Wasn't there a book in that series on conservatism (one on Nixon and then maybe on Reagan)? I just can't think of the author's name right now.

    Reagan was the master destroyer of jobs as far as I can tell. I always like to remind people to watch the American Dream if they haven't seen it, about the Hormel meat packers' strike. That to me will always be the Reagan legacy.

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  6. Rick Perlstein. He wrote about Goldwater and then Nixon (I have his Nixonland but haven't read it yet). But no Reagan, alas. Hopefully that will be coming.

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  7. I was teaching high school in the Reagan years and can't forget my colleague who stood in the teacher's lounge the day after his re-election and openly wept. She could almost understand once, maybe, but...

    And re labor issues back in that day, let's not forget his splendid debut with the air traffic controllers...

    I still associate his presidency with the int'l & domestic scandal that was Iran-Contra (among my mementoes is a set of cards with the characters in that fiasco pictured/profiled, like baseball cards).

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  8. That's how I felt when Bush was re-elected. I couldn't get out of bed the next day I was so stunned and depressed.

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  9. I defended Carter for years when it was popular to picture him as a rube, naive, weak, unable to deal with the hostage-takers, etc., so I was glad to see him become "America's best ex-president." In recent years he seems to be acquiring some codger characteristics, to which he is certainly entitled, but it can still be disconcerting. Someone I know who's involved with an organization working to rebuild in Gaza & other war zones or occupied areas was very put off by attempts to get Carter involved (just to make an event appearance) through Habitat for Humanity--it was very on-again, off-again and he seemed to be pretty well insulated by handlers.

    Another friend of mine who idolizes Ted Kennedy cannot bear Carter's continued resentment of TK over issues (from 1980!) and statements that we would have had national health care long ago if it weren't for TK's lack of support for whichever version was then being debated. I have to remember not to mention Carter around her.

    All of which has absolutely nothing to do with whether folks here want to read his book. After all, who can resist reading someone else's diary. (Wonder if it has anything about lust in his heart...or that rabbit episode.)

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  10. Hee, I got that last posted by typing "polit."

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  11. Interesting comments, NYT. I can't really blame Carter for holding a grudge against TK. That was one of TK's worst hours, and he had many. The Democrats were really struggling at the time, trying to hold onto the party and couldn't bear a good ol' Southern boy at the helm. TK wanted the party for himself. Later, the Dems essentially handed the party to Bill Clinton, who was much more a good ol' boy than Carter. But, at that point they would do anything to win after the failed campaigns of Mondale and Dukakis.

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  12. Perlstein's Nixonland was fun to read. Very fast paced and captures that time well. It is more about the political climate that resulted in the election of Nixon than it is Nixon himself, which I guess is why Perlstein titled it Nixonland.

    Chris Matthews also wrote an interesting book on the rivalry between Nixon and Kennedy, culminating in the 1960 election.

    As for Reagan, it is odd to see the praise he has been garnering in recent years. I was really put off by Douglas Brinkley editing The Reagan Diaries and speaking so favorably of Reagan in interviews. Makes you wonder where is Brinkley coming from.

    Carter didn't think much of Reagan. Like many, he was shocked how poorly informed Reagan was on so many issues. But, it was interesting to read about the friendship Carter and Ford developed in the years after their presidencies.

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  13. "Makes you wonder where is Brinkley coming from....."

    Well, where should we start.....

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  14. Carter would be more interesting to read tha Bush if only because Carter is known to speak his mind more openly and honestly. Carter is a bitter old man who noy only can't forget, but can't forgive--a very unchristian side to a very christian man. Toobad he never got the opportunity to whip Kennedy's Ass--his bitterness arises from Kennedy dropping out and robbing him of the opportunity. The irony is they both took a walk in the end...they both failed in the end.Carter never got the hostages released--so he was robbed in that sense--and Kennedy never lived to see his dream fulfilled. Life is full of ironies and contradictions.

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  15. Bob Dole has agreat sense of humor---stang at the airport seeing off three former presidents to attend the funeral of Anwar Sadat, he pointed to Gerald Ford and said "see no evil" and the pointed to Jimmy Carter and said "hear no evil"--and the pointed at Dick Nixon and said "EVIL"

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  16. Robert, that is a GREAT Bob Dole story.

    I'm pretty sure I shared this story when it happened -- it was during the worst of the Bush years.

    I was on the same flight with Carter who flies out to Montana to fish with Ted Turner every year -- or at least used to. Before we took off, he came through the plane and shook everyone's hand, smiling, nodding.

    When he reached me I shook his hand and told him we needed him back. He moved on to the next person but then turned back to me with the smile off his face. I think he asked me what I had just said, so I told him. Things are really bad -- we could use you right now. He just shrugged and had this look of total resignation on his face.

    Then the smile came back on and down the aisle he went.

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  17. Jonathan Yardley is quickly becoming my favorite reviewer:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/24/AR2010092402263.html

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  18. Just read the Yardley review. Doesn't encourage me to buy this as he considers it very dull (at the end of the review). I hope he is wrong.

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  19. Looks like stress or a bad meal got to Carter on his tour,

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100928/ap_on_re_us/us_carter_hospitalized

    but he seems to be on the mend.

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