Jimmy Carter is not the problem - Macleans.ca
 

Jimmy Carter is not the problem


 

Jimmy Carter stirred up controversy recently by saying Barack Obama’s opponents are primarily motivated by racism. His comments provoked far right talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh (himself no stranger to controversy) and other conservatives to attack Carter for using race to shut down debate over the president’s agenda. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd sang a similar tune earlier in the week about the current climate in America. Both pointed to posters and drawings that depict Obama as a witch doctor or make reference to his Kenyan roots, with some even calling him the new Hitler. Whether or not one agrees with Dowd and Carter, racially-inspired slogans and cartoons were indeed present at the Tea Party in Washington last Saturday, along with an even more disconcerting sign that read “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy.” These types of depictions deserve to be condemned and repudiated as being unrepresentative of the spirit behind the demonstrations. Unfortunately, very few, if any, spokespersons or organizers of the protest have come out to set the record straight.

A number of prominent Republican leaders have adeptly argued against too much government, huge deficits, rampant debt and Obama healthcare plan. All are legitimate issues over which to call a peaceful demonstration. But no one has said a word against the marginal fringe. Where are Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney? (The same argument could have been made against liberals and their indulgence of the more zealous factions of the American left during the George W. Bush years.)

The Obama administration has adopted an activist agenda to deal with the economy, health care, the environment, and international issues. Economically, it has intervened in significant ways—through large-scale stimulus spending, the nationalization of certain companies in key industries, and bailouts for the financial sector. None of these ventures have enjoyed unanimous support—nor should they. It is far too early to judge the results of these initiatives. Furthermore, the rise of the Tea Party movement should not come as a surprise. Indeed, Obama seems to accept it as part of the democratic process. He has not attributed the stridency of the protests and the occasional hate mongering of some protestors to racism. It is to his credit that he has not alluded in any way to the race card.

That a former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner such as Jimmy Carter has chosen to do so is not a mundane occurrence. It is easy to fall prey to Carter’s logic when confronted with the behaviour of some protestors. But Carter’s point is an oversimplification. Last November, Obama won the election with 53% of the vote and his approval ratings have actually returned to that level of support despite the opposition. In other words, we are nowhere near a rejection of Obama as president. For the time being, the debates are over differing policies and agendas, not race. However, I can sympathize with Carter’s view when I consider that RNC chairperson Michael Steele and the GOP’s talking heads have chosen to demonize Carter and his comments rather than condemn the protestors who carry overt racist expressions. If Carter felt he had to speak out, it is because of the vacuum created by the silence of the Republican leadership and protest organizers.

I applaud Carter`s courage, even though I disagree with his attributing the bulk of anti-Obama anger to racism. Carter is not the problem. By speaking out, he has demonstrated once again how the Republican party is currently straying from its basic values and not providing a much needed alternative to the Democrats.


 

Jimmy Carter is not the problem

  1. You are sad that spokespersons haven't come to set the record straight.. what makes you assume that the record isn't already straight, and that Carter isn't simply calling a distasteful spade a spade?

    I don't subscribe to the notion that the debate stems from racism. I don't, however, think that racism is as far away from the motivations of a good portion of the debaters as we might like to hope.

  2. You are sad that spokespersons haven't come to set the record straight.. what makes you assume that the record isn't already straight, and that Carter isn't simply calling a distasteful spade a spade?

    I don't subscribe to the notion that the debate stems from racism. I don't, however, think that racism is as far away from the motivations of a good portion of the debaters, especially the "Tea Party" variety as we might like to hope.

  3. You are sad that spokespersons haven't come to set the record straight.. what makes you assume that the record isn't already straight, and that Carter isn't simply calling a distasteful spade a spade?

    I don't subscribe to the notion that the debate stems from racism. I don't, however, think that racism is as far away from the motivations of a good portion of the debaters, especially the "Tea Party" variety, as we might like to hope.

    • Let's just put it this way: if you were a Tea Party protester and you used that "spade" analogy you'd be branded a racist, no further questions asked. Do you now see the double standard?

    • Let's just put it this way: if you were a Tea Party protester and you used that "spade" analogy you'd be branded a racist, no further questions asked. Context would be entirely ignored.

      Do you now see the double standard?

    • Let's just put it this way: if you were a Tea Party protester and you used that "spade" analogy you'd be branded a racist, no further questions asked. Context would be entirely ignored. Do you now see the double standard?

    • Let's just put it this way: if you were a Tea Party protester and you used that "spade" analogy in a public comment, you'd be branded a racist, no further questions asked. Context and whatever point you were trying to make would be entirely ignored.

      Do you now see the double standard?

      • Ah, the right wing predilection to martyrdom. For all the swaggering and tough-guy talk, somebody is always making them cry.

        Those poor, poor teabaggers victimized by baseless accusations of racism. Totally baseless. Double standard. http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/12/912-signs/

    • Let's just put it this way: if you were a Tea Party protester and you used that "spade" analogy you'd be branded a racist, no further questions asked. Context and whatever point you were trying to make would be entirely ignored.

      Do you now see the double standard?

    • I would argue that racism – a slowly-improving ailment that America has lived with for some time, with varying degrees of success – is less the problem than those who would manipulate racism to achieve their political ends.

      Do you think these chuckleheads screaming about socialism and death panels reached their own conclusions by reading the proposed bills? No, they've been fed a steady diet of agitprop by the Limbaughs and Becks of the world. The right wing has always portrayed Democratic presidents and candidates as illegitimate, and Obama's race just makes it that much easier.

      This is a ready-made audience for manipulation. They're vulnerable and ignorant and their economic prospects have been in steady decline since the days of St. Reagan. As much as racism is an ongoing evil in the US, the real evil in this scene is those people manipulating the poor and the vulnerable. It's the most cynical, anti-American thing I've ever seen.

    • Why does Jimmy Carter still think anyone cares about anything he has to say?

      As an American, I take ANYTHING Jimmy Carter has to say about ANYTHING with a very large grain of salt. I do not doubt he is a good man, yet his record as President leaves much to be desired, he was weak and ineffectual.

      I wish he would have the good manners as an ex-President and keep his mouth shut! He was such a "success" as President, he was only elected to one term. Other ex-presidents have had the grace to fade away, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, even Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, AND Bush I AND II. Ex-President Clinton does keep to this "code of silence" for the most part……… he almost never will comment on a current policy except generally (and except when his wife is running for President – quid pro quo anyone?). Why does Jimmy Carter, as "successful" a President as he was, think anyone actually cares what he has to say when he continually shoots his mouth off about things we don't even care to ask his opinion of? We heard you from 1976 to 1980 and ended up electing Reagan to replace you…….. we don't particularly care what you have to say anymore!

      Go build some houses for the poor, but keep your mouth shut – you were one of the least successful Presidents of the history of the Presidency! You had your chance, flubbed it, so don't try and make up for it now as the so-called "elder-Statesman", we already had enough of your "statesmanship"!

  4. it is the Palin republicans in action . Don't expect apologies . Carter is right !!

  5. I'm not entirely sure what Parisella's point is here. Yes, there are probably some racists somewhere in the Tea Party protests, but the people I've heard from who spent hours at these things said they never saw any.

    In last weekend's protest in Washington there were probably on the order of a million people. Should Republicans really spend time repudiating a handful of nuts in a million-strong protest? (if indeed there were any – I've yet to see footage of any beyond the LaRouche freaks, and they're protesting Obama because they think he's too far to the right.)

    The media has been doing a fine job trying to distract from the real discussion on health care in the US by first mischaracterizing the protests as fake, and then (when the idiocy of this notion became evident to everyone) pointing out real or imagined racial slurs. Carter added to the mess.

    A responsible commentator should be addressing the two salient facts:

    (1) a lot of people have genuine misgivings about Obamacare, and
    (2) these people deserve better than being labelled racists.

    • I am not sure about point 2. The behaviour is atrocious . I hear Obama has many more death threats than other presidents . Conservatives under Reagan and Bush went in big deficits and no tea parties were in the street . The signs and the posters smell racism . Obama cannot say it but the protests against Bush and Clinton policies had nothing to do with color or their origins but in Obama 's case , they are .. Carter is on to something . The financial system was collapsing and the republicans wanted Obama to spend and the recession is ending , no depression in sight . And now they are after Obama . Come on , get serious . But the pictures look racist to me .

      • I hear Obama has many more death threats than other presidents

        There is no evidence for that, because it is not public info.

        The deficits under Obama are double or triple the size of any Bush or Reagan deficit. Get your facts straight.

    • Ahem. Not 1 million but 70,000 protesters.

      ABCNews.com reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as "tens of thousands."
      — ABC News

      And this gem:

      "These individuals came all the way from Southeast Texas to protest the excessive spending and growing government intrusion by the 111th Congress and the new Obama administration," Brady wrote. "These participants, whose tax dollars were used to create and maintain this public transit system, were frustrated and disappointed that our nation's capital did not make a great effort to simply provide a basic level of transit for them."

      • There are a range of estimates for the crowd, from ABC's of 70000 (based not on their count, but on a spurious guess by a fireman) to the Pennsylvania traffic-counter's 1.5 million. For a good round-up of the various estimates try this rundown.

        Always be careful with reporting by the MSM – they have an ideology and they're also not very careful with their fact-checking. In this case their estimate is provably off by a factor of at least 5.

      • There are a range of estimates for the crowd, from ABC's of 70000 (based not on their count, but on a spurious guess by a fireman) to the Pennsylvania traffic-counter's 1.5 million. For a good round-up of the various estimates try this summary.

        Always be careful with reporting by the MSM – they have an ideology and they're also not very careful with their fact-checking. In this case their estimate is provably off by a factor of at least 5.

      • There are a range of estimates for the crowd, from ABC's of 70000 (based not on their count, but on a spurious guess by a fireman) to the Pennsylvania traffic-counter's 1.5 million. For a good round-up of the various estimates try this rundown.

        Always be careful with reporting by the MSM – they have an ideology and they're also not very careful with their fact-checking. In this case their estimate is provably off by a factor of at least 5.

      • There are a range of estimates for the crowd, from ABC's of 70000 (based not on their count, but on a spurious guess by a fireman) to the Pennsylvania traffic-counter's 1.5 million. For a good round-up of the various estimates try this summary.

        Always be careful with reporting by the MSM – they have an ideology and they're also not very careful with their fact-checking. In this case their estimate is provably off by a factor of at least 5.

      • There are a lot of available pictures that easily debunk the 70 000 picture.

        • hey scf, where's the baby pic? Without it (or an account) anyone could pose as you.

          • Yeah, I've dropped the baby pic. I've never bothered with the account, I'd expect to get a -1000 rating (for being a Conservative), since I would only be using it around these pages.

          • I've always assumed the ratings are pretty generally meaningless anyway. It seems like a lot of people just rate based on point of view rather than on the value of the comment, or every now and then there are these weird anomalies where something totally innocuous gets rated up or down (e.g. why is my question to you above up-rated plus 2? Makes no sense to me at all, or perhaps someone is trying to compensate for a previous fluffy Gaunilon comment that got downgraded for no apparent reason. Beats me.)

            Anyway, the fact that a right-wing nut-job like myself has a positive rating suggests that your overall number is pretty much based on how many comments you've made rather than people's ratings of them. I just ignore the whole system unless someone says something really funny / elegant / insightful.

            However, an account does sort of protect you from imposters, helps you to find replies to points you've made for further debate, and allows you to list an email address for people to contact you.

          • I hit a thumbs down for you just to bring it back down to 1. No reflection on your comment, just like to maintain social order.

      • There are a range of estimates for the crowd, from ABC's of 70000 (based not on their count, but on a spurious guess by a fireman) to the Pennsylvania traffic-counter's 1.5 million. For a good round-up of the various estimates try this summary. I took 1 million as an order-of-magnitude average, but I suspect that number is low.

        Always be careful with reporting by the MSM – they have an ideology and they're also not very careful with their fact-checking. In this case their estimate is provably off by a factor of at least 5. And in any case, no objective person takes data from one sole source and treats it as gospel. (this is the problem with Christian fundamentalists, but that is a debate for another time and with other people)

        One further point – I love how the commenters here are (for the most part) doing exactly what was criticized above: focusing on a distraction (whether the numbers were 1e5 or 1e6) rather than on the issue that large number of people are legitimately trying to address. Astroturf, racism, attendance, is there anything further that the Sisyphus's of the world would like to distract with before finally acknowledging that there are real problems with ObamaCare?

        • Pajamas Media is biased in favour of the GOP. I'll take the fireman any day.

          • The summary (if you read it) includes data from traffic cameras, time-lapse cameras, the Daily Mail, ridership stats from the DC Metro, etc. The summarizer may be biased, but are you suggesting that all the sources to which he links are also biased?

            Come on. Show a little intellectual honesty.

          • The summary (if you read it) includes data from traffic cameras, time-lapse cameras, the Daily Mail, ridership stats from the DC Metro, an estimate from USA Today, etc. The summarizer may be biased, but are you suggesting that all the sources to which he links are also biased?

            Come on. Show a little intellectual honesty.

          • Dude, 2 million showed up for the inauguration, and it was an event. Hotels, charging double or triple their usual rates, were booked weeks in advance. Major stations on the Metro system were shut down for hours at a time. The National Guard was brought in.

            And you think this is the same as 60,000 racist teabaggers? Come on. Show a little intellectual honesty.

          • Only in the deluded teabagger mind is 60,000 more than 2 million.

          • obviously, you cannot read

          • Why should we believe that's a photo of the 9-12 event? Lots of shameless liars are flogging photos of Obama's inauguration as photos of Teabagging Expo '09.

          • you must be joking

          • I know, right? Who could be so stupid or mendacious as to misrepresent a photo of Obama's inauguration as a Teabaggers' event. But it's been everywhere.

          • Yep, he's serious. You'd think all the giant yellow "Don't tread on me" banners in the first photo you posted would have made it pretty clear that this is a Tea Party / not-happy-about-the-expanding-government rally rather than a Presidential inauguration. Cognitive dissonance I guess.

          • Yep, he's serious. You'd think all the giant yellow "Don't tread on me" banners in the photo you posted would have made it pretty clear that this is a Tea Party / not-happy-about-the-expanding-government rally rather than a Presidential inauguration. Cognitive dissonance I guess.

          • You are really beyond hope when you cannot even accept the most basic facts. You probably believe that Republicans are in fact robot machines programmed by an evil alien from the planet Republica.

          • scf is really strange!!!or weird !!! or maybe r….?

          • Republicons, ROLL OUT!

        • 1 million, sure. If we're counting the mosquitos in attendance, there were 2 million. The number of humans was distinctly smaller, and closer to 60,000.

        • Nothing that single-payer wouldn't fix. When you try to keep the fox out of the
          hen house by throwing him chicken after chicken you shouldn't scratch your
          head when he doesn't go away.

          • You and I should debate this some time. I'd be interested to see what you have to say about it.
            Unfortunately this thread has devolved into rants and accusations of racism in very Carter-esque fashion, so we will have to discuss the meat of the issue some other time.

          • Really? Who in this debate has accused someone else in this debate of racism? I've re-read the posts here and I don't see it.

        • Brilliant. The fact that people here are focusing on your unlikely and utterly unverifiable claim of 1 million protesters proves – PROVES – that you're right!

          Perhaps you could point to what exactly the "problem" with the proposed health care legislation that these people were protesting. Because from where I stand, it was an unholy mess of complaints about birth certificates, immigration, government interference* in Medicare, socialism, national socialism, nazism, communism, Marxism, Maoism, ACORN, Van Jones, taxes, gun rights, abortion, the Muslim menace, death panels, the terrorist threat and the end of freedom in the US.

          This was a primal scream of raw, furious, white ignorance. Can you please clarify the issues this march was intended to "address?"

          *Surprise! Medicare, the government-run, death-panel-free health care program whose participants are the Americans most satisfied with their heath care is *government-run health care*. Yup. Believe it or not.

          Heck, while we're at it, since you claim that the "biased" MSM is "provably off by a factor of at least 5", perhaps you could provide said proof. Thanks.

          Also while we're at it, let's check the rightwing sources, which ran a photo of an *actual* two million-person-strong crowd (ironically, from Obama's inaguration), and claimed it was the 9-12 protest: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/14/912-tea-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/14/912-tea-… Is that failing to check sources, or just outright mendacity?

      • if george soros says so, it must be true

        • scf has once again proved that attending idiot school fudges triuth and judgement .

          • posting a link to either the republican or the democrat funded media progaganda arms is a waste of time. It's no different than posting a link to the democrat web site.
            Media Matters, FAIR, and Media Research Center are not sites you use to get at the truth.

  6. I'm not entirely sure what Parisella's point is here. Yes, there are probably some racists somewhere in the Tea Party protests, but the people I've heard from who spent hours at these things said they never saw any.

    In last weekend's protest in Washington there were probably on the order of a million people. Should Republicans really spend time repudiating a handful of nuts in a million-strong protest? (if indeed there were any – I've yet to see footage of any beyond the LaRouche freaks, and they're protesting Obama because they think he's too far to the right.)

    The media has been doing a fine job trying to distract from the real discussion on health care in the US by first mischaracterizing the protests as fake, and then (when the idiocy of this notion became evident to everyone) pointing out real or imagined racial slurs. Carter added to the mess.

    A responsible commentator should be addressing the two salient facts:
    (1) a lot of people have genuine misgivings about Obamacare, and
    (2) these people deserve better than being labelled racists.

  7. So, to what do we attribute the extreme anger of protest when it occurs on the far left, as in the anti-globalization riots of Seattle and Quebec, which actually included attacks on police and destruction of property? By the way, Bush was commonly compared to Hitler by these groups (and anti-war protesters) as well.
    Really, if you run for president, you'll probably be compared to Hitler by some idiots.

      • Send to gaunilon . Now I am more certain than ever. CARTER WAS RIGHT !

    • Of course, one of the major differences is that the mainstream left (in this case the Democratic Party) not only did not embrace the protesters, but did their best to avoid even the appearance of any connection with them. The mainstream right, on the other hand, eagerly embraces its own lunatic fringe.

  8. "These types of depictions deserve to be condemned and repudiated as being unrepresentative of the spirit behind the demonstrations."

    And what exactly is the spirit behind the demonstrations? It can't be government spending and expansion, since these people were awfully silent during the Bush administration, when that occurred dramatically.

    • I think the spirit behind the demonstrations can be summed up with the primal cry: "Keep the guv'mint away from my Medicare!"

  9. (The same argument could have been made against liberals and their indulgence of the more zealous factions of the American left during the George W. Bush years.)

    No, it couldn't have. Firstly, because the Democrats didn't "indulge" those factions; and secondly because said factions were the ones saying, from the start, that the Iraq War was a bad idea and that torture and violations of civil liberties were serious problems. And they were right.

    The bulk of opposition to Obama is probably due to political views; but racism is definitely a part of it – anyone who reads or listens to what the opinion-makers on the right are saying can see it clearly – and Carter was right to draw attention to it.

    • Firstly, because the Democrats didn't "indulge" those factions

      Yeah, prominent Dems have always stayed away from the Yearly Kos… Oh, never mind.

      The bulk of opposition to Obama is probably due to political views; but racism is definitely a part of it – anyone who reads or listens to what the opinion-makers on the right are saying can see it clearly – and Carter was right to draw attention to it.

      Do you realize how inane this is? Were the Bush protesters racist too? Surely they must've been your logic — and, I'm sure you think it's a shame no one ever drew attention to it.

  10. I was never so happy when I watched President James Carter tail lights as he left our people's White House. He presided over the greatest train wreck in my life with all of his policies.
    It is with some discomfort that once again his bad luck and terrible karma at a time of our greatest struggles to recover! However, I do give him my highest thanks and congratulations on his lack of public speeches and television time. Can someone please let our President have some privacy? Why must we drag him to televised speeches, meaningless foreign speeches, marathon meandering press conferences, ad nauseum? Please let our President do some work, or his czars. We need more action, less talk. To me it is as clear as black or white.

    • "He presided over the greatest train wreck in my life with all of his policies"

      Good Lord, no wonder you people are doomed. What do think the last eight years of the Bush regime were? He destroyed the USA. It will never recover from that.

  11. It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives are totally indifferent to instances of actual racism and discrimination against minorities and disadvantaged groups, but get incredibly animated about any attempts to ameliorate this problem even one tiny bit.

    • Like what, for example?

      • you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  12. Parisella is really reaching when he makes a big deal of a few crazies in a crowd the size of a million people. It was a peaceful and respectful protest.

    • You guys are blind . The inauguration had far more people.
      as for racism , look at the idiots with the posters .
      I agree with Carter that there is something pathetic and racist .

  13. The race baiting is pathetic.

    Did Obama become MORE African American as his tenure has gone on?

    His support was at great heights.

    Now people are overwhelmingly racist about him? When his personal approval ratings were in the 70's – not really racist. Now? Oh yeah, it's racism.

    Those pesky intervening factors – trying to nationalize healthcare over night without debate (recall his attempt to get it done by August), telling the public it will essentially be "free" won't increase the deficit when the CBO specifically says it will, after just creating deficits never before seen in our time, while just weeks before in the campaign promising to get rid of deficit and "take a pen" and veto spending "line by line" now, dismissing opponents who are "once bitten and now twice as shy" as idiots and liars as if their concerns about healthcare bill aren't legitimate, naw, that wouldn't have anything to do with it.

    Gotta be racism.

  14. If the American people are stupid enough to buy into the Republican's attempt to blame Obama for the pain associated with the mess they created, then they'll deserve whatever they get.

    And I'm afraid the American people are more than stupid enough.

  15. Let me see if I can get this straight.

    Jimmy Carter is courageous for throwing the race bomb at political opponents, even though I don't think he ever said a word when people on his side kept calling Bush a Nazi and so much more.

    The Republicans need to shape up even though the Democratic leadership did none of the same themselves.

    But, heck, there's no double standard in the media, is there?

    Besides, just how pervasive were some of these fringe elements at the protests? Are we talking a few signs here and there, and this is supposed to be indicative of a fringe backlash against Obama? Really?

  16. the Tea Party protests talk about government and its size. I wonder what they would do if the President was not black .

  17. jimmy carter is part of the problem. instead of letting barack obama be a big boy and handle himself, carter had to inject foolishness into a very serious debate about race.

  18. jimmy carter is part of the problem.

    • what about the Republican leadership speaking at those rallies with racist posters and not condemning them ,lace wigs?This is not Carter `s fault . he is exercising his 1st amendment rights as are the racists . Still , respectable Republicans should take a distance .

  19. Some of you folks posting here are real honest, others are not so honest.. but one thing for sure, Americans are the dumbest people on the planet… don't believe me, keep watching them make fools of themselves.. also, I am an American and have to deal with these stupid folks every day, therefore, I know what I'm talking about.. President Carter hit the nail squarely on the head.. just take a look at the signs depicting President Obama as everything from a monkey to a witchdoctor being carried at the "Tea Party" and "Town Hall" meetings .. anyone who thinks that's not racist needs to have their heads examined.

    • and we're supposed to believe that you're being honest, are we? Next.

  20. I agree with the title, though little more. Any sane person would realize that a still racist country would not have elected a black president. Race did not change since the election. The difference is between the meaning of rhetoric then, and the realities of their implementation now.

  21. You don't seem mixed at all about it. You seem completely fine with his smearing of people who dare oppose his and Obama's leftism.

  22. Those pesky intervening factors – trying to nationalize healthcare over night without debate (recall his attempt to get it done by August), telling the public it will essentially be "free" won't increase the deficit when the CBO specifically says it will, after just creating deficits never before seen in our time, while just weeks before in the campaign promising to get rid of deficit and "take a pen" and veto spending "line by line" now, dismissing opponents who are "once bitten and now twice as shy" as idiots and liars as if their concerns about healthcare bill aren't legitimate, naw, that wouldn't have anything to do with it.

  23. The bulk of opposition to Obama is probably due to political views; but racism is definitely a part of it – anyone who reads or listens to what the opinion-makers on the right are saying can see it clearly – and Carter was right to draw attention to it.