Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Clueless in Minnesota, Georgia and Washington, DC

The funeral of Coretta Scott King in Atlanta this week gave friends and admirers an opportunity to honor her life, but in a display of viciousness and deceit not seen since Paul Wellstone’s funeral, the speakers were much more willing to engage in partisan back-biting than in memorializing her life.

While Democrats in Congress were taking the administration to task for trying to save American lives by intercepting communications with foreign al-Queda, the same Democrats who erected barriers that prevented the stopping of 9/11 (remember Jamie Gorelick?), former President Jimmy Carter was spouting nonsense and deceit, and using the platform of Mrs. King’s funeral to launch a cheap partisan attack.

I remember well the presidency of Jimmy Carter. I remember 15% interest rates and record unemployment. I remember $1000 gold, the hostage crisis and the bloody fiasco in the desert. Quite a few other people with long memories remembered Jimmy Carter – including the editors of the New York Post:


Jimmy Carter may or may not have been the worst president of the 20th century — history will have the final word on that — but his disgraceful performance yesterday at Coretta Scott King's funeral marks him as the most shameless.
Maybe of all time.

There is, after all, a time and place for everything — but not for Carter.

In a reprehensible (albeit typical) display of tone-deafness, the former president used the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King's widow to score cheap points against President Bush. (He wasn't alone in that regard, more of which in a bit.)

Carter warmed up by conjuring the outlandish conspiracy theories that still linger from Hurricane Katrina: "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."

Then he segued on to the Bush administration.

In what could only be taken as a direct attack on Bush's electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists — a program Carter has repeatedly denounced as "illegal" — the ex-prez said of Mrs. King and her slain husband, Martin Luther King, "they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance."

True enough — though Carter couldn't quite bring himself to note that the wire-tapping was conducted under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and was originally ordered by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, all Democrats.

And, frankly, had Carter made better use of electronic surveillance back in his day, 52 Americans might have been spared 444 days of Iranian captivity. (Indeed, the world might well have been spared the Iranian revolution — and the current nuclear crisis — had Carter been up to the job.)

There was a time when former presidents did not publicly attack their successors, but that respect long ago went by the wayside as far as Carter, America's national scold, is concerned.

But to level such attacks at Mrs. King's funeral demeaned the occasion as well as the woman who was being honored by four presidents.

Sadly, Carter wasn't alone in mistaking Mrs. King's funeral for a Democratic pep rally.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who once upon a time was a figure of some note among Dr. King's colleagues, was even more pointed in his hectoring.

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," he said. "But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.
Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."

To be sure, Mrs. King probably would have agreed with the sentiments — though she was far too gracious to openly insult a president of the United States to his face.

Not Jimmy Carter.
No clue.
No class.
Some things never change.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous SteveH said...

Ridiculous. Carter made sense. GOP Just trying to make something out of nothing.

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Joe Alves said...

Both Jimmy Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery didn't even have the guts to insult the President to his face. They both had their backs to him the whole time, which makes them nothing but yellow lily livered cowards. This is the Paul Wellstone Memorial service being repeated. With people like Carter, it's all about power and nothing else. Years ago, when Jimmy Carter was running for President, I ask my uncle Bill Smith who had been Sheriff of Camdem County Georgia for many years, what he thought about Carter. He told me that Carter was the worst Governor that the State of Georgia ever had, and pray that he never becomes President of the United States. Well, history has proved that Uncle Bill was right. Carter was a miserable failure!

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous SteveH said...

Carter said nothing about Bush's wiretapping. If you draw the conclusion that because bugging Dr. King was wrong, Bush's program is wrong well, then you're right.

Carter's complete comments are at

At 9:49 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

To SteveH, Certain people recognize inappropriate and rude behavior, and certain people don't. Since Carter and Clinton employed warrantless wiretaps, and President Bush has full authority to record al-Queda conversations with US nationals, one truly wonders at the motivation of the objectors.


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