On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz, noting a report that Rev. Al Sharpton is considering throwing his hat in the ring as one more name on the endless list of candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, offered a hilarious idea for one more candidate who could fill out the Democratic field. Cruz tweeted, “What America needs: more Dem presidential candidates! Just a reminder, under the 22nd Amendment, Jimmy Carter’s still eligible for another term.”
Carter, who will turn 95 on October 1, served as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. His presidency is generally viewed as one of the greatest failures in the history of the American presidency. He pulled U.S. missiles out of South Korea without consulting the Pentagon; he signed the Panama Canal Treaty, thus giving up control by the year 2000; he implemented price controls, and presided over an economy that by 1980 featured interest rates at a staggering 21%, inflation at 13.5%, and unemployment at 7%.
Carter’s bitterness toward Republican presidents, particularly President Ronald Reagan, is almost legendary; as recently as late June at the Carter Center’s retreat, he said of President Trump that a full investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election would prove that Trump didn’t actually win the presidency, snorting, “There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election. And I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.” When asked if Trump was an illegitimate president, Carter answered, “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” as the audience laughed.
As far as Reagan, Jay Nordlinger, in his classic essay Carterpalooza! in National Review in 2002, noted that of Carter’s meeting with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1990:
Carter boasted of his toughness toward Israel, assuring Arafat at one point, “. . . you should not be concerned that I am biased. I am much more harsh with the Israelis.” Arafat, for his part, railed against the Reagan administration and its alleged “betrayals.” Rosalynn Carter, taking notes for her husband, interjected, “You don’t have to convince us!” Brinkley records that this “elicited gales of laughter all round.” Carter himself, according to Brinkley, “agreed that the Reagan administration was not renowned as promise keepers” (this, to Arafat). If you are sickened by the thought of a former U.S. president and a former First Lady of the United States and the career terrorist Yasser Arafat all sitting around bashing Ronald Reagan . . . you and I think alike.
Nordlinger continued that Carter also attempted to undermine former president George H. W. Bush, that prior to the Gulf War, Carter “wrote members of the U.N. Security Council — including Mitterrand’s France and Communist China — urging them to thwart the Bush administration’s effort. Our government found out about it when the Canadian prime minister, Brian Mulroney, called the defense secretary, Dick Cheney, and said, ‘What the . . .?’”