Jimmy Carter is at it again. After finally winning his lifetime underachievement award, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, and joining Michael Moore in the presidential box at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Carter has decided to monitor the scheduled Jan. 9, 2005, "Palestinian elections." Carter did such a great job in the 1996 "Palestinian elections" that Yasser Arafat won 85 percent of the vote. Carter labeled the elections "open and fair." The only electoral problems, Carter said, were caused by Israel. Carter was happy with the results as well; he and Arafat were friends. At one point, Carter even penned a speech for the terrorist leader.
For Carter to monitor the newest "Palestinian election" takes a silo-full of gall. But it has been a year of gall. And so, in honor of the worst president of the 20th century, I have decided to initiate a new award: the Jimmy Carter Honorary Golden Peanut of Gall.
The 2004 nominees:
Louise Arbour, United Nations high commissioner for human rights. While representing an organization that has been repeatedly complicit in mass murder, Arbour had the incredible chutzpah to morally equate coalition forces in Iraq with "insurgents": "The High Commissioner considers that all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for breaches ... must be brought to justice, be they members of the Multinational Force or insurgents." When the storm troopers come, you can be sure the United Nations will be there to condemn anyone who resists them.
Harry Reid (D-Nevada), incoming Senate minority leader. Asked about the possibility that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could fill Justice William Rehnquist's seat as chief justice, Reid called Thomas "an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice." Reid didn't cite a single decision Thomas had written. If Reid wanted to find an embarrassment sitting on the Supreme Court, all he had to do was look to Ruth Bader Ginsburg; her decisions are often unintelligible (e.g. Gasperini v. Center for Humanities Inc., 1996). But it's always easier to get away with calling a conservative black man unintelligent.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania). Specter warned President Bush not to nominate any judges who are "anti-abortion": "When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v Wade, I think that is unlikely. ... I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations that I mentioned." Specter almost immediately backed off his threat, mindful that his spot as chairman of the Judiciary Committee was at stake. It's helpful to remember here that overruling Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with being anti-abortion: The plain and simple truth is that the Constitution does not prohibit states from regulating abortion. But for Specter, reading the Constitution as it was written has never taken precedence over reading the Constitution as he wishes it had been written (see Bork, Robert).
Michael Moore, morbidly obese filmmaker. You have to admire a man who despises the U.S. military, yet can keep a straight face while pretending that his anti-war sentiments spring from love of soldiers. This is a man who stated: "I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began, and sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end." This is a man who called Iraqi terrorists "the Revolution, the Minutemen." Yet he has the remarkable nerve to do his Jeanette Rankin routine in the name of the American soldier.
John Kerry, Democratic presidential nominee. Kerry centered his entire campaign on the fact that he once served in Vietnam, ignoring the fact that had he not returned and testified that his fellow veterans were war criminals, he would be an obscure upper-class, kept man today. Kerry's gall provided my favorite moment of the presidential campaign. During the third presidential debate, President Bush was explaining how his religious beliefs shaped his policies. "In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty," he stated. The atheistic Kerry hilariously responded by attempting to out-God Bush: "I think that he just said that freedom is a gift from the Almighty. Everything is a gift from the Almighty." Everything, apparently, including a couple of loaded wives and a gift for inspired humbuggery.
While the winner of the Jimmy Carter Honorary Golden Peanut of Gall remains unclear at this time, all the nominees should remember: It's a dishonor just to be nominated.