Obama — even worse than Carter, and that’s saying a lot

You know I’m going to be hooked on a post if, in the second paragraph, it describes Jimmy Carter in these terms:

Jimmy Carter should not have been president. He was incompetent beyond belief; angry about America’s success in the world; wanted us to get our comeuppance; and was and is a mean, reptilian and graceless little man.  Being out of office has made him even angrier, meaner, smaller, more anti-American, and even more anti-semitic. He was and remains a repellent creature; if ever anybody could make me ashamed of my country, he could. I can’t forgive him for that.

Well, yes, that does about sum up the man.  What’s really depressing, according to the DiploMad, a career Foreign Service employee, is that Obama is even worse:

We now are saddled with another abomination as president: one worse than Carter. The damage Obama has done to our economy and global standing, while immense, can be relatively easily fixed. The real damage he has done is more pernicious and perhaps permanent. He has participated fully and deliberately in undermining the essence of what it means to be an American. Let me explain.

By all means, do let the DiploMad explain, although I guarantee you that the post will depress you — especially if you consider that both London’s bookies and Intrade have put their money on Obama.  Obama, the international man of mystery, whose past, the media harangues us, must forever be a closed book, has Leftified America, something from which it may never recover.

H/T:  JKB

 

Obama presidency proves Palestinians have never wanted peace

Pro-Palestinian putzes have consistently claimed that if Israel would just bend a little more, and still a little more, then there would be peace in the Middle East.  The execrable President Carter (I always affix that adjective to this loathsome human being) now claims that he’s being forced to urge a UN vote for a Palestinian state because Obama didn’t exert enough force on the Israelis to make them really, really bend over.  Jonathan Tobin explains that Carter’s criticism of Obama, while reflecting badly on both, reveals a home truth about the Palestinians:

It is highly ironic Carter would blast Obama for being insufficiently supportive of the Palestinians, because the latter prioritized the peace process throughout his administration. Ignoring the evidence PA leader Mahmoud Abbas​ had no intention of ever signing a peace deal, Obama plunged into the negotiations picking fights with Israel and showing a clear preference for the Palestinian position. But despite Obama’s attacks on Israel’s positions on settlements and Jerusalem, Abbas refused to rejoin the negotiations. Even after the president ambushed Netanyahu in May with his proposal that the 1967 lines be the basis for talks, Abbas still wouldn’t budge.

Had Abbas been willing to make peace, he would have found Obama a useful ally who had little love for Israel. Obama did everything but present a U.S. dictat for peace in order to please the Palestinians, but Abbas never had any intention of negotiating. As the New York Times noted last weekend, the Obama-Abbas spat has been something of a lovers’ quarrel. Having been thoroughly embarrassed by the Palestinians, Obama has stayed aloof from diplomacy on the conflict in recent months.

It’s a really good article, so you may want to read the rest here.

The Obama-Carter analogy only extends so far

To many of us, the Carter-Obama analogy is a no-brainer.  Whether one looks to failing economies, rising oil prices, despair, Iranian troubles, arrogance, etc., the two are joined at the hip.  Conservatives hope that the similarities extend to Obama’s being a one-term president.  Jay Cost warns, though, that while their governing styles are similar (with Obama managing to be Carter on steroids), Obama has something Carter lacked — a strong base.  The inevitability of a one-term Carter-esque presidency may be more elusive than we wish.

Presidential Education

We have enjoyed spirited discussions on these pages with Book’s question about universities and the values thereof.

A recurring theme that I hear among Liberals is one of educational snobbery. I heard this with regard to G.W. Bush (despite his Harvard MBA) and now we hear it about Sarah Palin and other conservative candidates that may one day run for President.  Educational credentials will be an issue. Should they?

To lay my own opinions right out on the table, I admire Sarah Palin and do hope she runs – to me, she embodies many of the qualities that I always admired about American women when looking at my country from an overseas (expat) perspective. Those qualities include strength, “can do” practicality and a self-assuredness that looks adversity straight in the face. Plus, she can shoot straight. She was one of Alaska’s all-time most effective governors in just 2-1/2 years. Her autobiography on those years describes someone with exceptional tenacity and people management skills.

Her qualities, however, are the product of her life experiences. The fact that she was expected by her parents to go to university and pay 100% of her expenses and did so at various institutions is a major plus, not a negative. For me, her real life practical accomplishments say far more than her limited educational experience. And, for the sake of Book’s daughter, her (not Alaskan but North Central states) accent is no more a barrier to me than Gov. Christie’s New Jersey accent, JFK’s Boston accent or Bush’s Texan accent…I love accents!). To me, it is practical real-world experience that counts, not formal education. If anything, formal education is a barrier.

So, just how important is education for U.S. presidents? I note that some of our greatest presidents had little or no advanced education. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Harry S. Truman never went to university. Ronald Reagan got an undergraduate degree in economics from tiny Eureka College in the middle of the corn and soybean fields of Illinois. By contrast, our worst presidents were some of our best educated: Woodrow Wilson (Ph.D. professor), Jimmy Carter (nuclear engineer), Bill Clinton (Rhodes Scholar) and, now, Barack Obama (Ivy League elitist lawyer).

So, how important is formal education to being a good President? What are the Presidential qualities that a university can or cannot impart? How do we best counter these arguments from the Liberal /Left…not for the sake of the Lefties (whose egos remain immune to reason) but for the sake of all others trying to make up their minds on this issue?

McCainiacs thinking outside of the box

In 1980 (and again in 1984), Ronald Reagan won in significant part because traditionally Democratic voters abandoned their party to vote for him. Those same “Reagan Democrats” have shown up frequently in the news today.  Indeed, McCain is specifically targeting those same people and demographics.  US News & World Report explained back in May:

As the Democrats struggle to select their nominee, John McCain is quietly finalizing his fall strategy. One of his goals will be to attract white working-class and culturally conservative Democrats who supported Ronald Reagan and now have their doubts about the Democratic presidential candidates, especially Barack Obama. This trend was particularly clear in the May 13 primary in West Virginia, where Obama did poorly among such voters. “The Reagan Democrats are in play more than they’ve been in a long time,” says Frank Donatelli, a senior official at the Republican National Committee and former White House political director for Reagan.

I have my doubts, though, about McCain being able to replicate precisely the same Reagan Democrat trend that occurred in the 1980s.  Don’t get me wrong — I think this is another election that will see renegade Democrats tilt the balance in favor of the Republican candidate (color me hopeful).  I just don’t think it will play out on precisely the same lines as before.

For one thing, back in 1980, the Democrat in question had a record on which to run and, boy, was it a depressing one.  Carter’s ineffectual waffling almost certainly aided the Shah of Iran’s downfall, and his manifest weakness when it came to the situation in Iran was a green light for the Revolutionaries to seize American hostages and to lord that fact over the former super power of the world.  Old-time northern Democrats may have liked their unions, but they liked American strength and security even more, and they weren’t about to put their faith in this pathetic American leader a second time.

The economy also suffered mightily under Carter’s tender economic ministrations, which relied heavily on high taxes and high government spending.  Even long-time Democrats who believed in an expanded and strong central government could see that this approach wasn’t working.

Carter was also so damn equivocal.  He seemed to have no fixed principles whatsoever.  A friend of mine  once tried to explain his waffling away by saying that Carter was an engineer and that he constantly recalculated things every time a new piece of data came along, thereby rendering himself completely ineffectual.  That explanation sounded plausible back then, but I’ve come to believe that, in fact, Carter actually doesn’t now and didn’t then have any fixed principles.  Be that as it may, Ronald Reagan, with his cheerful personality and his strong moral and political beliefs, was a welcome antidote to the vacillating, weak, grim boob occupying the White House.

Obama, unlike Carter, has virtually no record whatsoever on which to run — and this means virtually no highly visible political record that is repugnant to voters.  It’s only by the most diligent digging that people who care have managed to find out information about his politics.  And the sorry fact is that too many people don’t care.  We who peruse blogs believe that all other Americans share our heightened interest in politics.

I suspect that the opposite is true.  Most people are headline readers:  They might scan Drudge, but their news major intake may be limited to reading the cover and back page of Time Magazine while waiting in the checkout stand at the grocery store.  And, perhaps, they watch the first 5 or 10 minutes of the nightly news.  If those are indeed their sole news sources, they keep hearing that Obama is fresh, that he’s brilliant, that he’ll change things — and since things don’t seem so hot right now, and since Bush is not an overwhelmingly popular President — change can only be for the better.

It is true that people are beginning to figure out that all is not as it seems in Obama-land.  He’s pompous, he’s egotistical, his affiliations range from the silly to the scary, he’s ill-informed, he is an unprincipled vacillater, he’s hostile to many traditional American values, his politics come from the far Left end of the political spectrum, he misspeaks with almost unusual frequency, etc.  But again, that news is only slowly trickling into the awareness of the average voter, especially since the mainstream media is assiduously working overtime to protect Americans from Obama’s less savory and flattering aspects.

All of the above is McCain’s first problem in courting conservative Democrats:  Obama is a cipher and, while that’s not good, it’s better than being one of the worst Presidents ever.  In other words, Reagan got lucky that he was running against Carter.

The second problem, and one that I think is even more serious than the first, is the fact that, in many communities, conservatives have been run underground in a way that was inconceivable even in the politically polarized 60s and 70s.  Those decades were still transitional periods, during which traditional values, which still held sway in such cultural markers as the media and schools, were being given a good run for the money by the new Leftists, and were also starting to appear in the media and in schools.  This meant that a lot of the old time Democrats were rethinking their political allegiance in the face of new Democratic politics that, increasingly, had little to do with FDR’s New Deal, and a lot more with Moscow’s old deal.  There was, therefore, a great deal of fluidity that we don’t have now.  This fluidity meant that there was room for open public debate within people’s own communities.  This flux and freedom allowed for political movement.

Things are different now.  Conservatives slink around, afraid of public attacks and social isolation (something I’ve blogged about here and here).  In Hollywood, which has the most visible, vocal liberal community in America, departing from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy can spell career death.  (See here, here and here for articles spelling out what’s going on in Hollywood.)  Liberals speak with increasing frequency of prosecuting political speech with which they disagree, and have resorted to thuggish tactics to suppress donations to conservative causes.  If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to remind you of the way in which conservative speakers are either barred entirely from America’s campuses or are harassed and attacked.  This is not a fluid time politically.  It’s one that is very fixed.

What all of this means is that people who have historically self-identified as liberal, and who live and work in liberal communities, are very isolated.  They don’t feel as if they’re part of a movement.  The younger ones are especially hampered by a culturally dominant belief that Republicans are hate-filled old fogies who want to suck money away from poor people in America and who keep KKK hoods hidden in the back of their closets.

The problem, then, in true Blue Communities is to give conservatives positive visibility.  In this way, the ones who waver can look around and think, “Hey, I didn’t realize What’s His Name was also thinking of voting for McCain.  We ought to get together and talk.”  There’s really a heady rush that goes along with discovering that you’re not alone, especially if you’ve made a rather painful journey from one end of the political spectrum to another.

I discovered I wasn’t alone in Marin when I bravely journeyed out to my first Marin for McCain meeting.  I learned at this meeting that at least half the people there were former Democrats and that, of those, half of them are scared to let anyone know about their political transformation.  Significant parts of the organizational meetings, therefore, are given over to brainstorming ways to convince Marin’s shy neo-cons (or anti-Obamites) that it’s okay to be a conservative.  I wanted to share with you some of the thinking outside of the box that goes on at these meetings as we work to break through the monolithic liberal attitude that pervades Marin, and other Blue communities.

My favorite suggestion, and one that I think will play well all over America, is to co-opt the concept of Flash Mobbing.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the Wikipedia definition:  “A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse.”  The idea is a good one right off the bat since the flash mob concept is closely tied to emails and text messaging — it therefore has a young feel to it.

A conservative flash mob could work this way:  Politically active conservatives would agree to show up at some agreed-upon location (a mall or a farmer’s market) wearing their McCain t-shirts.  There’s wouldn’t be anything threatening about these appearances.  That is, the conservatives wouldn’t group together or do cheers.  Instead, they’d just be there, at the mall or the farmer’s market, in their McCain shirts, showing local residents that McCain voters actually exist.  Someone would then take photos of these McCainiacs wandering through the mall or mulling over the fresh fruits and vegetables, and send these photos to a website — providing further proof that conservatives exist in Blue regions.  For the conservatives who show up, there would be a wonderful feeling of camaraderie.  And for those who hear about it and see the pictures, there would suddenly be a visible reminder that they are not alone.

Other ideas for enabling conservative Democrats to become McCain Democrats include using bloggers like me, with stories of breaking away from the computer and working for the McCain campaign; making the McCain headquarters a welcoming place for police and firefighters by offering food, drink and toilet facilities for them; finding local conservative musicians (they do exist), to liven up the campaign headquarters; taking out silly ads in local newspapers (with the latest idea for our dog crazy community being an ad showing dogs in McCain way); and handing out free M&Ms to remind people that Marin is for McCain.

As I said near the start of this post, I believe quite strongly that, as the election draws near, more and more people will be become frightened of Obama and back away from him.  (Or if Hillary comes back, enough people are already frightened of her to render that avoidance prophecy true.)  The challenge is to get these frightened people to take an affirmative step.  They shouldn’t just avoid voting for Obama; they must vote for McCain.  And its our job in the coming months to make that, for them, very big step, as easy and fun as possible.

If you have ideas that can entice those old Reagan Democrats into becoming McCain Democrats, let the active McCain supporters know.  You can email me at Bookwormroom*at*gmail.com, or just contact your local Republican or McCain headquarters.  Don’t be shy.  It’s fun!  And it’s for an awfully good ’cause if you don’t want to see a scary repeat of the Carter era.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Jimmy Carter, worst President ever, Part 43890314809

J.R. Dunn ruminates about ex-Democratic leaders, who seem driven by some bizarre Narcissistic compulsion to cling to the spotlight long after their political moment has passed.  Aside from being an enjoyable read, it has a great summary of the horrible effect of President Carter’s moral equivalence, a character failing that has seen him gravitate time and time again to totalitarian dictatorships with horrible consequences, not only for the unfortunates in the dictator’s country, but for the world at large:

Carter was indirectly responsible for putting the mullahs in power in Iran (kicking off the violent confrontation between Jihadism and the West in the process). He was directly responsible for handing Nicaragua to the Sandinistas (Carter refused to sign off on a plan to replace the dictator Somoza with a government of moderates) and Zimbabwe to Robert Mugabe. (Abel Muzorewa, the centrist opposition figure first elected president, was pushed aside with Carter’s acquiescence and a new election arranged that Mugabe was guaranteed to win.)

Carter’s weakness for goons has had horrendous historical consequences. Khomeini’s takeover of Iran led to a major war in which millions died, the birth of two terror organizations dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, the deaths of thousands of others across the world — including hundreds of Americans — and the encouragement of the Jihadi terror movement. The Sandinista takeover resulted in chaos across Central America for over a decade and the slaughter of thousands of Nicaraguans, including a large number of Miskito Indians in a process indistinguishable from genocide.  Zimbabwe, once one of the richest states in Africa, is today an economic basket case suffering chronic famine and one the lowest life expectancies in the world. The end game is being played out now, with a distinct possibility of a climax to rival in horror and blood those of Rwanda and Cambodia.

Jimmy Carter, loathsome old man

The New York Times again gave a forum to Jimmy Carter. This time Carter defends his immoral, illegal decision to consort with terrorists, something that would be objectionable if the ordinary private citizen were to do it, but that rises to outrageous levels of indecency when a former President does the same thing.

Carter’s most recent column is worth fisking because it either shows the thought process of a senile immoral old man or, more scarily, the thought processes of a liberal immoral old man:

A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE Washington policy in recent years has been to boycott and punish political factions or governments that refuse to accept United States mandates. [That's cute. Hamas, which (a) took over Gaza by war, (b) announced its intention to destroy Israel, (c) terrorizes its own citizens, and (d) routinely and purposely attacks civilian targets, especially children, is just a "political faction[] or government[] that refuse[s] to accept United States mandates.” This is truly an Orwellian perversion of language.] This policy makes difficult the possibility that such leaders might moderate their policies.

Two notable examples are in Nepal and the Middle East. About 12 years ago, Maoist guerrillas took up arms in an effort to overthrow the monarchy and change the nation’s political and social life. Although the United States declared the revolutionaries to be terrorists, the Carter Center agreed to help mediate among the three major factions: the royal family, the old-line political parties and the Maoists.

In 2006, six months after the oppressive monarch was stripped of his powers, a cease-fire was signed. Maoist combatants laid down their arms and Nepalese troops agreed to remain in their barracks. Our center continued its involvement and nations — though not the United States — and international organizations began working with all parties to reconcile the dispute and organize elections. [I can't comment about this, knowing nothing about it. Any information from others who do would be helpful.]

The Maoists are succeeding in achieving their major goals: abolishing the monarchy, establishing a democratic republic and ending discrimination against untouchables and others whose citizenship rights were historically abridged. After a surprising victory in the April 10 election, Maoists will play a major role in writing a constitution and governing for about two years. To the United States, they are still terrorists. [Considering that Maoists are arch communists, and considering that arch communists have invariably enacted arch repression, I rather wonder about Carter's sanguine view of these guys as just good old liberal style Democrats. After all, the original Maoist -- that would be Mao himself -- was a psychopath who oversaw the death of 70,000,000 of his people. Again, information on this subject would be appreciated.]

On the way home from monitoring the Nepalese election, I, my wife and my son went to Israel. My goal was to learn as much as possible to assist in the faltering peace initiative endorsed by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Although I knew that official United States policy was to boycott the government of Syria and leaders of Hamas, I did not receive any negative or cautionary messages about the trip, except that it might be dangerous to visit Gaza. [Who are you going to believe -- Rice or Carter? Given that Carter has been caught in lie after lie over the years, while Rice has not been shown up as a liar even once (one may disagree with her, but she doesn't lie), I have absolutely no doubt but that this is a blatant lie.]

The Carter Center had monitored three Palestinian elections, including one for parliamentary seats in January 2006. Hamas had prevailed in several municipal contests, gained a reputation for effective and honest administration and did surprisingly well in the legislative race, displacing the ruling party, Fatah. [Except for that little fact that it eventually took over leadership from Fatah by a small civil war, complete with atrocities. Apparently things like that just don't bother Carter, the cheerleader for leftist oppressors. Bad as Fatah is, Hamas is worse.] As victors, Hamas proposed a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah as president and offered to give key ministries to Fatah, including that of foreign affairs and finance.

Hamas had been declared a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, and the elected Palestinian government was forced to dissolve. [Aside from the fact that it took over and rules Gaza by terror, there is that little problem of Hamas' stated policy of destroying Israel, one dead child at a time. Frankly, if Carter doesn't consider that a terrorist, what is a terrorist? George Bush? Cheney? That lying skank Condi Rice (Carter's theory, not mine, of course)? I'd really like him to set down his definitions so we can get an insight into his Orwellian use of language.] Eventually, Hamas gained control of Gaza [care to explain how, Mr. Carter, or would that raise too many twisted linguistic difficulties?], and Fatah is “governing” the Israeli-dominated West Bank. [You ,appreciate, I'm sure, all the deep meaning behind those quotation marks. Gaza is "real" government, Fatah is a puppet government. We know which Carter prefers.] Opinion polls show Hamas steadily gaining popularity. [Because a terrorist organization is liked by a population raised to hate and kill, does that mean it's no longer a terrorist organization? Apparently in Carter-world it does.] Since there can be no peace with Palestinians divided, we at the Carter Center believed it important to explore conditions allowing Hamas to be brought peacefully back into the discussions. (A recent poll of Israelis, who are familiar with this history, showed 64 percent favored direct talks between Israel and Hamas.)

Similarly, Israel cannot gain peace with Syria unless the Golan Heights dispute is resolved. [There's not much of a dispute. When Syria held the Golan Heights, it used that advantage to kill Jews. It will do the same again. Of course, since Carter has no problem with the Jews -- he did want to "f**k them" in 1980, blaming them for his defeat -- I can see where he thinks there might be a dispute: dead Jews versus not dead Jews. Hmmm.] Here again, United States policy is to ostracize the Syrian government and prevent bilateral peace talks, contrary to the desire of high Israeli officials. [The US might be ostracizing the Syrian government for a few other little problems, such as the fact that it's a shill of Iran and Hezbollah, that it sponsors world-wide terrorism, and that it's planning to go nuclear. Silly stuff like that, you know. Even in Carter-land, is it really possible for everything to be caused only by Jewish conspiracies?]

We met with Hamas leaders from Gaza, the West Bank and Syria, and after two days of intense discussions with one another they gave these official responses to our suggestions, intended to enhance prospects for peace [Please keep in mind as you read this that Hamas had the last laugh by denying all the agreements Carter purported to make on its behalf]:

Hamas will accept any agreement negotiated by Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel provided it is approved either in a Palestinian referendum or by an elected government. Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshal, has reconfirmed this, although some subordinates have denied it to the press. [I notice that Meshal hasn't gone out of his way to repudiate those denials. In any event, given that Palestinians by a vast majority have announced their intense desire to murder all Israelis, I don't see many of them passing this referendum. Same for the "elected" Hamas government.]

When the time comes, Hamas will accept the possibility of forming a nonpartisan professional government of technocrats to govern until the next elections can be held. [Pardon me while I laugh myself sick. These are the people whose only skill is sucking up world dollars and turning them into bombs.]

Hamas will also disband its militia in Gaza if a nonpartisan professional security force can be formed. [Only someone truly naive or deeply evil would believe this given Hamas' history. It's like speaking with Hitler in 1942, and then writing an op-ed saying he'll be pleased to disband the Gestapo, or at least to rename it to something with fewer negative connotations, such as the "Friends of the Jews" organization.]

Hamas will permit an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in 2006, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, to send a letter to his parents. If Israel agrees to a list of prisoners to be exchanged, and the first group is released, Corporal Shalit will be sent to Egypt, pending the final releases. [This is truly obscene. Hamas has held in captivity for two years a young man who was merely standing guard duty. In exchange for his freedom, they except the release of hundreds of convicted killers. Not guards, killers. Aside from how disgusting this is, I'd like to remind all of you that Israel has frequently released killers in return for promises from the Palestinians. None of the promises have been kept, but the killers have done what killers will do: killed again.]

Hamas will accept a mutual cease-fire in Gaza, with the expectation (not requirement) that this would later include the West Bank. [I believe this promise. The cease fires usually last one or two days while Hamas/the Palestinians regroup, and then, having enjoyed a breather, the cease fire magically terminates. I believe the technical term for this strategic little breather is hudna.]

Hamas will accept international control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, provided the Egyptians and not the Israelis control closing the gates. [Hamas apparently hopes that it will have the fox guarding the hen house. Or at least Carter hopes that's the case. More cynically than the American fool, Hamas probably hopes that Egypt, which is less then thrilled by having radical Islamic guerrillas stream into the country, will be less adept than Israel at preventing incursions.]

In addition, Syria’s president, Bashir al-Assad, has expressed eagerness to begin negotiations with Israel to end the impasse on the Golan Heights. He asks only that the United States be involved and that the peace talks be made public. [1938, 1938, 1938, 1938, 1938, 1938....]

Through more official consultations with these outlawed leaders, it may yet be possible to revive and expedite the stalemated peace talks between Israel and its neighbors. In the Middle East, as in Nepal, the path to peace lies in negotiation, not in isolation.

Now that I’ve fisked what Carter has to say, I feel confident concluding that he manages to be both a fool and entirely evil. This is a very, very bad man, and the US should muzzle him with every weapon in its arsenal of laws against treason and consorting with enemies.

A bipartisan Congressional attack against Carter

Congress isn’t actually doing anything beyond complaining about how upset it is, but I was very pleased nevertheless to see that two representatives have sponsored a bipartisan resolution specifically mentioning Carter in connection with Hamas and reiterating that Hamas is a dangerous terrorist organization that should be isolated, not courted.  To date, it has 47 signatories or co-sponsors.  Most of them are Republicans, but there are enough Democrats on board to earn my kudos for people who can put principles ahead of politics.

Can we try him for treason?

Hamas is an official terrorist organization. That minor detail, however, doesn’t seem to deter President Jimmy Carter, a man who has never met a sleazy Islamic or communist terrorist he doesn’t admire and trust:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in remarks to air on Sunday that his upcoming visit to the Middle East probably would include a meeting in Syria with leaders of the militant group Hamas.

“I’ve not confirmed our itinerary yet for the Syrian visit, but it’s likely that I will be meeting with the Hamas leaders,” Carter said, according to a transcript of his interview on ABC News’ “This Week.”

The Bush administration and close U.S. ally Israel oppose the meeting, which would take place during Carter’s nine-day trip to the Middle East that begins on Sunday.

U.S. policy has been to isolate Hamas, which seized control of Gaza last June, and to bolster pro-Western President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules the West Bank and is in U.S.-sponsored talks with the Israelis.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who sought Carter’s counsel on his own previous Arab-Israeli peacemaking efforts ahead of a U.S.-hosted Middle East conference in Annapolis last November, called Hamas a “terrorist organization” on Friday.

With regard to his travel plans, here is what Carter said:

“I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that, if Europe is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Nazis, that Hitler will have to be included in the process,” said Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

“I think someone should be meeting with Hitler and the Nazi Party to see what we can do to encourage them to be cooperative,” he added.

Carter, who served one term as president from 1977 to 1981, would be one of the most prominent Americans to meet with the leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler.

“We’ll be meeting with the Nazis, the Italian Fascists, the Japanese Imperialists, the Vichy Government, and with the whole gamut of people who might have to play a crucial role in any future peace agreement that involves Europe and the World,” Carter said of his trip.

Oh, silly me. I was having a weird historical flashback. What Carter really said was:

“I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their [sic -- proving that he's not only an idiot, but a grammatical cretin] next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process,” said Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

“I think someone should be meeting with Hamas to see what we can do to encourage them to be cooperative,” he added.

Carter, who served one term as president from 1977 to 1981, would be one of the most prominent Americans to meet with the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

“We’ll be meeting with the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Saudi Arabians, and with the whole gamut of people who might have to play a crucial role in any future peace agreement that involves the Middle East,” Carter said of his trip.

You can see where I might suffer some temporal confusion when it comes to a bumbling idiot, who lacks anything approaching a moral compass and who doesn’t even have the common sense of an old-fashioned real politician (a la Kissinger), inserting himself into foreign policy.

Two more things: First, a reminder that not only was it morally wrong to talk to Hitler, it was also useless. Hitler simply used those talks as a way to buy time to arm himself. He then kept making incremental terror steps, broken by brazen apologies to the West, and each of which was followed by an even bigger step, all of which culminated in WWII itself. Hitler loved to talk because he had no interest in cooperation or peace. For him, talk was as much weapon in his arsenal as anything else.

Second, if you find Carter’s conduct utterly loathsome, remember that Obama will be even worse, because he’ll be in the White House when he meets with Ahmadinijad.

More comparisons between Huckabee and Carter

As you may recall, I compared Huckabee to Jimmy Carter, foreseeing with the former some of the same problems we saw with the latter (and that despite the fact that Huckabee seems like a much more ebullient and nicer person than Carter). I’m not the only one making those comparisons. After listening to Huckabee opining about foreign policy and comparing himself to Reagan, Power Line had this to say:

When it comes to foreign policy, Huckabee more closely resembles another former governor, Jimmy Carter. It was Carter, not Reagan, who viewed foreign policy as an extension of his own character and personal principles. Carter stood for a foreign policy “as decent as the American people.” Reagan stood for defeating our enemies. When Huckabee frets about how Gitmo is making us appear to foreigners, when he asserts that “we broke Iraq,” and when he says he’s qualified to be commander-in-chief because of his character rather than because of his understanding of our enemies, it’s pretty clear that his foreign policy roots extend nowhere near the fertile soil of Reaganism.

Huckabee may be a good and witty human being (and an excellent candidate because of that wit), but he’s not the President this country needs at this time in its history.

UPDATE: See also Laer’s post looking at the naiveté of Huckabee’s foreign policy positions.

Surprising movie review at the NYTimes

I like to tweak NY Times movie reviews (heck, any MSM movie reviews), because of the relentless Progressive punditry that characterizes them, regardless of the movie’s actual content.  With a movie about Jimmy Carter on the table, I was therefore prepared for a full frontal case of anti-Bush commentary in the review.   It wasn’t there.  Instead, Manolah Dargis wrote a surprising review of Jonathan Demme’s hagiographic new movie about Jimmy Carter, including language actually critical of the one-sided (read:  pro-Palestinian) approach to the Middle East that both the Left and Carter invariably display:

This sense of simplicity is underscored by Mr. Carter’s folksy manner and by Mr. Demme’s representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a tidy loop with images of Israelis bulldozing Palestinian homes followed by images of dead Israelis after a suicide bombing. I couldn’t help but wonder what the leftist intellectual Ellen Willis would have made of Mr. Carter’s interest in Israel. In a 2003 essay, “Is There Still a Jewish Question? Why I’m an Anti-Anti-Zionist,” Ms. Willis wrote that “the left has focused on Israeli acts of domination and human rights violations with an intense and consistent outrage that it fails to direct toward comparable or worse abuses elsewhere, certainly toward the unvarnished tyrannies in the Middle East (where, for instance, is the divestment campaign against Saudi Arabia?).”

The former president’s evangelical Christianity makes his focus on the Holy Land all the more intriguing. Yet, while Mr. Carter invokes Jesus almost as much as he does Israel in the documentary, Mr. Demme never directly puts these two parts of his subject’s life into play with each other. Neither does the filmmaker engage with any of the more inflammatory claims from Mr. Carter’s book, including this: “There are constant and vehement political and media debates in Israel concerning its policies in the West Bank, but because of powerful political, economic and religious forces in the United States, Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate in our media, and most American citizens are unaware of circumstances in the occupied territories.”

“Man From Plains” isn’t about engagement; it’s about disengagement from Mr. Carter’s critics and his more provocative beliefs.

Credit where credit is due:  this is not a knee jerk review.  I’m impressed.

A (somewhat) sympathetic look at Christiane Amanpour

For six hours this Sunday I watched my TIVOed copies of Christiane Amanpour’s God’s Warriors specials. Amanpour’s biases clearly showed through, especially when she tried to portray Muslim radicals as some kind of a small fringe group, or when she spoke to fundamentalist Christian leaders in a tone dripping with disdain. But, it appeared, she also did her best to present reasonable looking and sounding spokespersons for the Warriors and allowed them to present themselves in their own words.

Thus, I was a bit startled to see the links Bookworm provided in her post in the subject, to writers who blasted Amanpour as if her report were a broad-sided attack on Israel. Had these people watched the same reports I had? It appears Amanpour’s attackers were as biased (in the other direction, of course) as she was.

Bookworm suggested that I blog on the subject, pointing out correctly that I do not have a dog in the fight, being neither a Jew, nor a Muslim, nor a practicing (never mind fundamentalist) Christian. That’s a tall order, but let me at least share some reactions on the “God’s Jewish Warriors” piece and reaction to it.

Bookworm’s first link is to a highly entertaining and well-written attack by Robert J. Avrech. Avrech gets off to a rocky start, though, by claiming that he stopped counting after Amanpour said “God’s Jewish Warriors” 57 times. In truth, the phrase is used a grand total of 20 times in the entire piece. Poetic license and all that, but if he’s going to criticize someone else for not getting her facts right, he might focus a little more on getting his own facts right.

Next, he takes Amanpour to task for saying that “The second intifada was an attempt by the Palestinians to shake off the Israeli occupation.” Though he puts this comment in quotes, he is paraphrasing. Here is what she actually said:

“Intifada, in Arabic, it means ‘shaking off.’ And beginning in September 2000, Palestinians turned increasingly to suicide bombs in the Second Intifada to shake off Israeli occupation and strike at the Jewish state.” This is hardly the “poisonous Arab propaganda” Avrech claims. Note especially the phrase “strike at the Jewish state” which at least implies what Avrech is saying – that nothing short of the destruction of the Jewish state will satisfy the Palestinians.

Avrech goes on to decry the bias of the “experts” presented and Amanpour’s bias, but he completely overlooks the extent to which Amanpour presents the Warriors sympathetically and in their own words.

But before we get to that, a word about the “experts.” It’s true she uses Jimmy Carter a lot, but she presents him as the controversial figure he is, not as an objective source. She introduces him in the following words: “I spoke with former President Jimmy Carter who has written a controversial book that’s critical of Israel and its settlement policy.” She discusses the charges he is anti-Semitic openly with Carter, even placing on the air a talk show caller who calls him “a bigot, a racist and an anti-Semite.” No reporter could resist the opportunity to interview an ex-President and public figure such as Carter, but Amanpour presents him as the controversial figure that he is.

Similarly, she introduces John Mearsheimer as “a prominent political scientist at the University of Chicago, co-authored one of the most controversial essays of late, arguing pro-Israel advocates have too much influence on American policy.” And so he is. Surely, Amanpour can present people on all sides of the issue, including people we disagree with, so long as she identifies them fairly and accurately.

Critically, Avrech all but ignores the positive “Warriors” Amanpour presents:

She begins with the haunting story of Tzippi Shissel, whose father was murdered by a terrorist and who, nevertheless, continues to live near to where he died. As Shissel explains, “We have the Holy Land. It’s where God says this is where the Jews has to live.” Amanpour has been criticized for commenting, “But it is also Palestinian land. The West Bank — it’s west of the Jordan River — was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state.” But this statement is true. It may be a bit misleading – the Arabs rejected the plan and the United Nations is hardly the authority for anything, but at most this exposes Amanpour’s bias in favor of international organizations and international law.

Aside: This bias really comes through when Amanpour declares that the settlements are illegal. She cites to international law and specifically to the International Court of Justice. She is 100% right and 100% wrong. The ICJ did conclude the settlements are illegal and the ICJ is the final arbiter of international law. But there is no such thing as international law, and there cannot be until there is one international government. The United States, as a country, supports the ICJ, but when was the last time any American got to vote on accepting its law? But I digress.

Amanpour ends with Idit Levinger, a West Bank settler who speaks eloquently of her beliefs: “I walk around here with my children and tell them this is the hill that Abraham climbed. This is where Jacob had his dream. It’s not something that was once upon a time. It’s alive and now. . . . I feel I’m part of these hills. I can’t see myself living without them. . . . My bond with this place is far more than a house.” Amonpour could have ended with a negative portrayal of the settlers. Instead, she closes with their fight (even against their own government) to remain, and presents their views through a most sympathetic spokesperson.

In between Shissel and Levinger, Amanpour presents many positives that her critics choose to ignore. She returns again and again to Hanan Porat, an attractive, well-spoken man who presents the settlers’ position in measured terms. She includes this exchange:

HANAN PORAT: If you think we are messianic with our beliefs, now, what they think, those who believe in peace with the Palestinians, is pure mysticism.

AMANPOUR: To God’s Jewish warriors, turning land over to the Palestinians would just bring more blood and more tears.

This is not nearly the hatchet job Amanpour’s critics are making it out to be. She shows Shimon Peres making the legal point that the territories are disputed, not occupied. She shows Morris Amitay accusing Carter and Mersheimer of “Promoting an agenda in which Israel is the bad guy. Basically the United States and Israel have the same goals in the Middle East. Peace, prosperity, keeping terrorists out. I just think that the success of the pro-Israel community is the fact that they have good arguments on their side.” She shows David Ha’ivri noting that “The Arabs have 22 of their own countries” – a point that Avrech makes as if Amanpour somehow hid it.

True, she stretches to find Jewish terrorists, but carefully explains the Palestinian terrorist act that turn Baruch Goldstein into a terrorist and, in turn, led to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

True, she doesn’t make a big deal of the West’s condemnation of their own terrorists or contrast that to the Arab world’s celebration of their terrorists as martyrs, but she explains that the plot to blow up the girls’ school is foiled by Israeli police, and the would-be-Israeli-terrorists tried and convicted. Their acts clearly are not celebrated. (By contrast, in the next segment, she shows Muslim mothers proudly describing their terrorist sons as martyrs. The point is made, if not as overtly as some would like.)

In short, Amanpour does the best she can within her restricted world view, and she does so by finding articulate and sympathetic “warriors” and presenting their stories sympathetically. She could have done far worse.

Perhaps the best and worst part of Amanpour’s report (depending on your point of view) is that she showed parallels in her presentation but nowhere overtly claims the “warriors” of the various faiths are at all parallel. Oddly, I’m reminded of the Fox News slogan, “We Report. You Decide.” Amanpour reported. She presented some experts who have little credibility in my eyes, but she identified them as the controversial figures that they are. She let her own biases show through at times, but I’m convinced that she tried to be fair as best she was able. She could have found crazed “warriors” who would have discredited all “warriors” but, to her credit, she did the opposite. Having presented the least biased report she was capable of, she leaves it to the viewer to decide whether there is any moral equivalence. There is not. And, in the end, with all its faults, Amanpour’s report demonstrates that; it does not refute it.

Can’t let this article about Jimmy Carter go by

It’s no surprise to readers here that I really, really don’t like Jimmy Carter.  I think he was a dreadful President and is, if possible, an even worse ex-President.  But that’s just my opinion, unsupported by fact.  For facts, you can go to this superb Josh Muravchik article in Commentary Magazine:  Our Worst Ex-President.  Read it and prepare to be disgusted (by Carter, not by Muravchik’s writing, of course).

Jimmy Carter, I still think you’re a bad man

One of the most commented upon posts I’ve ever written had its genesis in an attack I made against Jimmy Carter. I think now, as I have thought for years, that he is a very bad man. I’m grateful that the vote I cast for him in 1980 came to nothing. Claudia Rosett, writing at National Review, doesn’t think well of him either, and writes a lengthy article about funding questions related to his Carter Center. It’s a good article, and strikes me as being quite fair insofar as it doesn’t draw conclusions beyond the limits of the available facts (and, as to Carter Center funding, facts are surprisingly unavailable). I especially liked the following two paragraphs, so I’m printing them here. I think, though, you should read Rosett’s whole article, not just this quote:

All this might be less disturbing had Carter confined his post-presidential efforts to such good works as vanquishing the guinea worm. But for years he has run his own mini-presidency

Jimmy Carter — you are a very bad man

MOVED UP TO THE TOP, NOT BECAUSE I HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD, BUT BECAUSE THE COMMENT SECTION HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING TO APPEAR ON MY BLOG, AND I DON’T WANT IT TO GET LOST AS I PUBLISH NEW POSTS.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may recall the episode in which Baboo, an Indian restauranteur, having been deported because of Jerry’s carelessness, wags his finger at Jerry, and repeatedly says “He is a very bad man.” That phrase keeps popping into my brain every time I hear anything about Jimmy Carter or, worse, actually see him speak.

We know that his most recent book about the Middle East is filled with falsehoods and that he plagarized and distorted stolen materials for his book. Cinnamon Stillwell, writing at the San Francisco Chronicle, gives a long laundry list of his policy failures, missteps, stupid decisions, and profound moral errors. Name a modern dictatorship and he’s in bed with the leader. Name a failed peace initiative that empowered the people bent on death and destruction, and he’s at the root of it. I will forever hold him responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today vis a vis the Muslim world because, when the Iran Revolution took place in 1979, it was his groveling ineptitude that emboldened the revolutionaries, not only to take on their own government, but to begin looking at the United States as a reasonable and viable target for their World Caliphate goals.

All of the splenetic feelings that guide me when I think about Carter bubbled up ferociously when I finally got around to watching Monday’s Jay Leno, which had Carter as the first guest. Although World Net Daily has come under some legitmate attack for its more loony news stories, I can tell you that its reporting about Carter’s appearance on that show is absolutely accurate:

Without mentioning the onslaught of attacks by Palestinian terrorists, former President Jimmy Carter told a national audience watching the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” there is “horrible persecution” of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis, and he is urging a return to peace talks between the residents of the embattled region.

“In Palestinian territory, there is horrible persecution of the Palestinians who live on their own land,” Carter said.

“A minority of Israelis want to have the land instead of peace. The majority of Israelis for the last 30 years have always said [they] will exchange their own land in exchange for peace. But a minority disagrees and they have occupied the land, they have confiscated it, they have colonized it, and they forced Palestinians away from their homes, away from their pastures, away from their fields, cut down the olive trees and severely persecuted the Palestinians.”

The 82-year-old Carter was on Leno’s show last night to promote his new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

Leno said to the president who held office more than 25 years ago, “But when Israel gives something back, it doesn’t seem like they get anything for it. It seems like it just moves some angry people closer to them.”

“No, that’s not true at all,” responded Carter. “Israel hasn’t really tried to give ‘Palestine’ back to the Palestinians. They did give up some of Gaza. And then they moved out, and the Palestinians captured one soldier and tried to swap [him] for 300 children

Just a little bit more about Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter has been good to my blog, since a post I did about him sparked a fascinating, free-wheeling discussion about America, American politics, the Middle East, etc. I still don’t like the man, and I like him less after learning that he’s received money from the Arabs, both directly (money in his own pocket) and indirectly (money to his Carter Center). We’re not talking chump change here — we’re talking millions and millions of dollars from people who are anxious to see Carter’s views about the Middle East gain prominence in the world debate.

CORRECTION (sort of): The article to which I linked is clear that Jimmy Carter’s Center has taken tons and tons of money from major Arab funders. I read one paragraph in the article to mean that some of this money went into Carter’s own pockets:

High praise for Carter