Jimmy Carter was arguably one of the least effective presidents of the 20th century. Historians say Warren Harding was nothing to write home about, but he couldn't have been as mean-spirited and petty as President Peanut has turned out to be.
I found Carter's conduct at Coretta Scott King's funeral reprehensible and hypocritical to the max. He took the occasion to mention how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. King had been subjected to "illegal wiretaps," for no other reason than to take one of his usual cheap shots at President Bush, who was seated behind him.
Bush is using wiretaps to try to ferret out terrorists before they can kill a few thousand more of us. The wiretaps on the Kings were unjustified and were put into effect by the Kennedy administration at the direction of Attorney General Robert Kennedy and were continued by the Johnson administration - both Democrats. I believe Carter omitted that little fact in his talk.
Carter also failed to tell the attendees that because of his own ineptness in dealing with terrorism, 66 innocent people spent 444 days as Iranian hostages.
With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight - something President Peanut seems to have an abundance of - I would suggest he might have prevented the Iranian hostage crisis from ever happening had he done a little surveillance of his own. After all, if his party was not hesitant to wiretap the Kings who were American citizens, why not wiretap that scumbag Ayatollah Khomeini?
One hostage was quoted later as saying the hostage taking was "a stepping stone to get the terrorist movement going. It was such a terrible loss of face ... such a show of weakness that I still don't think we've recovered." It is fair to say that our current president has had to take drastic measures to combat terrorism because Carter didn't do so when he had the chance.
Carter also didn't mention at the funeral that he ran for governor of Georgia in 1970 at the height of the civil rights movement as an arch-segregationist. Veteran Georgia political observer Bill Shipp has written that Carter "ran a subliminal 'fergit, hell' campaign." Shipp said, "Carter promised to be the antithesis of his Democratic primary opponent, former Gov. Carl Sanders, an urbane Augusta lawyer who had served Georgia ably as governor from 1963 to 1967. Sanders promised a fair shake for African-Americans in state government. Carter promised to invite Alabama Gov. George Wallace into the state to speak, and he vowed to retain an old-time segregationist as chairman of the state Board of Regents."
During the campaign, Carter's minions aggressively promoted a photograph to the media showing a smiling Sanders with his arm around a (gasp!) black athlete, and Carter referred to the highly respected former governor as a "Hubert Humphrey Democrat." Carter won the gubernatorial election in 1970, but with less than 10 percent of the black vote.
Funny, but I don't remember him discussing any of these facts at the funeral, nor do I remember him apologizing to the mostly black assemblage about running for office as a segregationist. Maybe he was pressed for time. After all, the funeral only ran six hours, and that's not near enough time to confess your sins and bash a sitting president all in the same self-serving eulogy.
Bush, to his credit, did not let Carter's barbs bother him. I guess he took my daddy's advice and considered the source. Daddy used to say, 'If the source is important, then you'd better listen to what they say. If they aren't important, then neither is what they say.' Bush probably decided a long time ago that President Peanut and his pontifications are about as important as a tattoo on an elephant's rump.
Carter needs to understand that history is going to judge his one-term administration as weak and ineffective, and no amount of Bush-bashing is going to change that. The sooner he accepts that fact, the better. Maybe then he will honor us by keeping his opinions to himself. I hope so. Frankly, he is getting pretty tiresome.
Contact Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. Visit his Web site at www.dickyarbrough.com. His column appears on Saturday.