Emmett Tyrrell

Former President Jimmy Carter is a clever rascal. The other day, when he esteemed the presidency of George W. Bush "the worst in history," he was naturally intent on bold-faced headlines. He is always covetous of attention. But there was more to it. Assigning the Bush presidency the "worst in history" is now a major theme among leading Democrats, and it cannot have been lost on Jimmy that if President Bush's presidency becomes known as the "worst," Jimmy's presidency will only be runner-up. So Jimmy rather brazenly joined his fellow Democrats and made yet another attempt to rise from history's cellar.

Unfortunately, he keeps writing books. With his 2006 blunderbuss, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," he has now written 21. With each book he emerges anew in all his cheesiness, his hollowness, his ignominious smallness. It is difficult to believe that the American people ever raised him to the presidency, but then he was elected in the middle of the 1970s, a decade when America was on the run. The Soviet Union was taking advantage of the Democrats' recent foreign policy bug-out, Vietnam. Moscow's agents and allies were busily advancing the Marxist-Leninist hooey in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. At home the moribund liberals were putting the final touches on their governmental monstrosity, the welfare state, thus ensuring stagflation, ungovernable cities and continued wretchedness for their victims, the poor.

Jimmy was an exemplary leader for them. When he bewailed America's "malaise," they imagined still more social engineering, higher taxes and government bureaucracies to treat the malaise. Unfortunately for Jimmy and his liberal friends, Gov. Ronald Reagan, a man Jimmy has always considered his moral and intellectual inferior, knocked him off in 1980. Jimmy turned to writing books and serving as a prof at Emory University. The books have all been insipid and occasionally remarkably bad.

His first book, "Keeping Faith," won him the J. Gordon Coogler Award for the Worst Book of the Year in 1982. For the next two decades, his infantile books were merely childish. Then in 2005 there was a dropping off. He copped another Coogler for his "Our Endangered Values." In it, he seemed to be taking credit for the foreign policy achievements of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the Pope, whom he incidentally accused of alienating Latin American Catholics with his ferocious anti-communism. Jimmy's fantasies often are not even amusing.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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