Jimmy Carter Revisionism

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I must confess that I join many others in asserting that Jimmy Carter is the best of our ex-presidents over the past half century. (Of course this is like saying he is the best former Mafia Don of the organized crime Syndicate, which is essentially what he is and was.) Carter is not perfect, no one is. But his intellectual curiosity and integrity seem to have grown considerably since leaving office. His earnest commitments to such projects as Habitat for Humanity have been admirable.

Carter’s view on America and her place in the world have not calcified or become rigidly frozen as with Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, both Bushes, or Clinton. He has been willing, repeatedly, to take rather bold unconventional positions (within the staid paradigm of the acceptable establishment political spectrum) on issues of the drug war, Palestine human rights, questions of war and peace, etc. For all of this he should be commended.

While he was president I strongly opposed his administration’s policies (both foreign and domestic) and saw him as a Rockefeller stooge because of the open domination of his cabinet (and sub-cabinet) by members of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. Who can ever forget Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security advisor, double-digit inflation, or the Iranian hostage crisis?

But like Carter I have not remained stagnant in evaluating the world around us. Intense study of the “October Surprise” Scandal of 1980 and how the Reagan/Bush campaign (with aid from covert intelligence sources) essentially stole the election was one of the first elements of my reevaluation of Carter.

Then Walter Karp’s illuminating (and very neglected) book, Liberty Under Siege: American Politics 1976-1988, demonstrated that Carter was surrounded (engulfed) by enemies within the Democratic Party (left, right, and center) from the very beginning of his presidency, from Tip O’Neil, Ted Kennedy, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the AFL-CIO on down. Jackson’s wing of the party morphed into the neocons and have been the incubus, the cancerous beast which has devoured the American Republic.

As Murray Rothbard noted:

The burgeoning neocons were able to confuse and addle the Democratic Party by breaking with the Carter Administration, at the same time militantly and successfully pressuring it from within. The neocons formed two noisy front groups, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and the Committee on the Present Danger. By means of these two interlocking groups and their unusual access to influential media, the neocons were able to pressure the Carter Administration into breaking the détente with Russia over the Afghanistan imbroglio and influencing Carter to get rid of the dove Cyrus Vance as Secretary of State and to put foreign policy power into the hands of the Polish émigré hawk and Rockefeller Trilateralist, Zbigniew Brzezinski. In the meantime, the neocons pushed the hysterically hawkish CIA “B” Team report, wailing about alleged Soviet nuclear superiority, which in turn paved the way for the vast gift of spending handed to the military-industrial complex by the incoming Regan Administration. The Afghanistan and “B” Team hysterias, added to the humiliation by the Ayatollah, managed not only to kill off the bedeviled Carter Administration, but also to put the boots to non-intervention and to prepare the nation for a scrapping of the “post-Vietnam syndrome” and a return to the warmongering of the pre-Vietnam Era.

Much revisionist revelations have surfaced that the real drive for deregulation of the economy, especially in telecommunications and transportation, actually began under Jimmy Carter and not the hallowed “free marketeer” Ronald Reagan.

These are just a few items to note. There should be many more dedicated and impartial revisionist scholarly studies which follow up on these points and more when evaluating Carter.

2:52 pm on June 25, 2012