Friday, June 1, 2007

Why Didn’t You Stand Your Ground, Mr. Carter?

Andrew Bard Schmookler in his blog None So Blind ask the question

Why Didn’t You Stand Your Ground, Mr. Carter?

Carter was being Carter. Andrew is probably old enough to remember his presidency. For those of who did live in those times this latest flip-flop by the peanut farmer from Plains is deja-vu all over again. Carter always had a bit of a tin ear to public discourse, which is one of the reasons he only got one term in office. There were other reasons too for his loss in 1980, many other reasons.

Since he left office President Carter has been trying to rebuild his legacy. Of all the former presidents in modern history none has been as successful as Carter in changing public perception of his legacy. Carter re-invented the role of ex-president. Before he indulged himself in a little Bush-bashing Carter was mostly known and admired for his good works. Once he let slip his real opinion on Bush the Republicans were more than willing to remind the public of his less-than-stellar presidency.

Being Republicans the Swiftboaters of the right went way over the top. Considering that Nixon preceded Carter by only few years, there is no way Carter could be judged “the worst president in history.” Now Nixon is an incredibly low bar to judge a president by, but Carter does easily exceed that standard. Odd that Clinton was the former “Worst President” in Republican eyes before Carter opened his mouth.

Receiving all that incoming fire from the Swiftboaters Carter folded. He was taking too many hits. Carter’s presidency had one too many low points for him to be a good messenger about Bush’s misrule. Again Carter is a politician and even at this late date he is concerned about his legacy. Carter is smart enough to know that his image can and will be damaged by the mud slinging of the Republican noise machine. Carter also knows that this little flap will quickly blow over if he “apologies” and then keeps quiet.

If he pushed the Bushies he knows that he become a bigger target for Faux Noise and the Right Wing echo chamber. Even now the Mighty Wurlitzer of right-wing media, discredited as it is, can do major damage to Carter’s reputation.

Carter knows there is no level that the Bushies won’t stoop to, no vile lie that they won’t try to use to crush him. He also knows he only has a few years left to polish his reputation, so he has to use his time wisely. So instead of using his time trying to defend the obvious against the attack of the oblivious he has cut his losses and moved on.

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