- - Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Out of the mouth of babes, right?

Or in this case, 93-year-old former presidents.

Jimmy Carter, born in 1924, is finally cutting loose. He’s been pounding nails for the last 40 years with Habitat for Humanity (OK, and working toward world peace and winning the Nobel Prize), but he’s finally comfortable telling it just like it is.

In case you don’t remember his one-term presidency, there was the gas crisis (your license plate determined when you could buy gas) and 21 percent interest rates and a “general malaise” among Americans, whom Mr. Carter blamed for the bad economy. By all accounts, left and right, he was a mediocre president, a placeholder.

This past weekend, the former president sat down with The New York Times and chatted about all kinds of subjects. The Times decided to play up the fact that Mr. Carter would love to go over to North Korea as an envoy. The great paper of record even wrote what (for it) is a witty headline: “Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting.” See, Mr. Carter had told Playboy magazine, “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” So, it’s fun to mock him for that.

The Times is steadily proving how out of touch it is, and how it no longer seems to actually “get” what real news is. Mr. Carter said a lot — a lot. The Times shoved it all down in the story, so let’s highlight the major news the former Democrat from Georgia made in the interview.

1) The Russians didn’t steal the 2016 election.

He was asked “Did the Russians purloin the election from Hillary?” “I don’t think there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes — or any votes,” Mr. Carter said.

So the hard-left former president doesn’t think the Russians stole the election? Take note, Capitol Hill Democrats.

2) The Carters didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, disagreed on the Russia question. In the interview, she “looked over archly [and said] ‘They obviously did’” purloin the election.

“Rosie and I have a difference of opinion on that,” Mr. Carter said, to which his wife replied, “The drip-drip-drip about Hillary.”

Which prompted Mr. Carter to note that during the primary, they didn’t vote for Mrs. Clinton. “We voted for Sanders.”

3) President Obama fell far short of his promises.

Mr. Obama whooshed into office on pledges of delivering “hope and change” to the country, split by partisan politics. He didn’t. In fact, he made it worse.

“He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” he said about Mr. Obama’s action on the Middle East.

4) Media “harder on Trump than any president.”

A recent Harvard study showed that 93 percent of news coverage about President Trump is negative.

But here’s another shocker: Mr. Carter defended Mr. Trump.

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Mr. Carter said. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”

5) NFL players should “stand during the American anthem.”

Mr. Carter, who joined the other four living ex-presidents on Saturday for a hurricane fundraiser, put his hand on his heart when the national anthem played — and he has a strong opinion about what NFL players should do, too.

“I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate,” he said. “I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem.”

The story came and went rather quickly. By Monday no one was talking about it. But here you had a former Democratic president — a hard-left liberal at that — saying he didn’t vote for Hillary, doesn’t think the Russians affected 2016, says Mr. Obama overpromised and underdelivered, calls the media out for bashing Mr. Trump and tells NFL players to stand for the anthem.

But maybe, just maybe, the Democrats — who are desperately looking for a leader and a winning message — can grab hold of the wisdom of one of their elder statesmen and run for the goal line. It’s just crazy enough to work.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @josephcurl.

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