Mitt Romney’s crack about Jimmy Carter reveals what a petty little man he is

Mitt Romney made an utter fool of himself yesterday when he snidely invoked the name of Jimmy Carter to suggest that the green-lighting of the mission to take out Osama bin Laden showed no special presidential courage.

In saying that “even Jimmy Carter” would have approved the effort to get bin Laden, Romney slanderously made light of Carter’s brave, but ill-fated, effort to rescue American Embassy hostages in Iran in 1980.

Romney’s gall in this regard has prompted a flurry of denunciations, two of which are especially worthy of your attention.

First, we have THIS from James Fallows:

Jimmy Carter is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who spent ten years in the uniformed service of his country. As far as I can tell, this is ten years more than the cumulative service of all members of the Romney clan. Obviously you don’t have to be a veteran to have judgments about military policy or criticisms of others’ views. But when it comes to casual slurs about someone else’s strength or resolve, you want to be careful, as a guy on the sidelines, sounding this way about people who have served.

Jimmy Carter did indeed make a gutsy go/no-go call. It turned out to be a tactical, strategic, and political disaster…With another helicopter, the mission to rescue U.S. diplomats then captive in Teheran might well have succeeded.


But here’s the main point about Carter. Deciding to go ahead with that raid was a close call. Carter’s own Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, had opposed the raid and handed in his resignation even before the results were known. And it was a daring call — a choice in favor of a risky possible solution to a festering problem, knowing that if it went wrong there would be bad consequences all around, including for Carter himself. So if you say “even Jimmy Carter” to mean “even a wimp,” as Romney clearly did, you’re showing that you don’t know the first thing about the choice he really made.

And then there’s THIS from Paul Abrams:

Romney seems to have convinced himself that he has demonstrated that he is tougher or has more capacity to make military judgments than Jimmy Carter.

If it were not dangerously delusional, it would be laughable.

Romney seems to believe that the comparison with President Carter, helps his case that he has the experience and/or independence of thought and/or cajones to make the decision, against most of the advice he would have received, to find, capture and kill Osama bin Laden?

It doesn’t. It shows that Romney is even weaker, even more sniveling, even less prepared, even a worse judge of character than he has already displayed.

We know that President Carter’s order to proceed with rescuing the hostages was strongly opposed in his own administration because his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, resigned because of it. (Yes, America, there was a time when people resigned over matters of principle).

It happened that President Carter’s mission failed, and, because of it, many months later, he lost his bid for re-election to Ronald Reagan. President Carter was blamed for the failed mission. That is what happens to leaders when they make difficult decisions.

It would be interesting to learn the factual or psychological basis, from his personal history, that would have made it even remotely probable that Mitt Romney would have decided to proceed against the advice of his generals. Even the “dispel-the-wimp” theory does not work because the risk of failure was more than Mitt could have borne.




  1. Luke Fredrickson

    I would still trust Jimmy Carter to make a very difficult military decision because he has the wisdom to see beyond his own ego and the integrity to weigh the decision on the right principles.

    Carter would not sell us down a dangerous road for oil, or familial vengeance, or unilateral first-strike ideology, or boogyman WMDs waiting under the bed to get us.

    And despite being a devout man who strives to emulate Jesus, he would not rely on what he heard God tell him to do.

  2. monkey

    Jimmy Carter may not have been an outstanding President but he’s an exceptionally well-educated man who has changed the world for the better as an ex-President. Wonder if any of Romney’s minions have reminded him of that.

  3. Luke Fredrickson

    I imagine future generations will gain respect for Jimmy Carter much as we currently have for Harry Truman. Far from a wimp, Carter served during the Cold War on nuclear submarines when they were a new and dangerous technology.

    The Camp David talks showed he could muster courage and take risks for the sake of peace. He would have been a welcome leader during the late sixties.

    So I have no patience for the wimp euphemism. More apt would be Bush = moron, as in “…you want to invade Iran? Even W wouldn’t authorize that!”

  4. Carol Foster

    I feel Romney’s words say exactly who he is and what we can expect if he is elected President.
    Guess he missed the example set by all living presidents about not speaking ill in public about one another. I’t’s bad manners and degrades the office they all held. For Romney, who aspires to that office to have spoken ill of former President Carter, shows he doesn’t belong in that group and therefore shouldn’t be elected President.
    Perhaps that old word, “decorum” needs to be on Romney’s list of things to learn in campaigning as representing what might be expected of anyone who expects to get the job from the American People.

  5. Since Willard now has the support of his party one would expect him to mature and present himself as a statesman ready to lead the country without resorting to cheap and shoddy rhetoric reminiscent of past GOP debates.

  6. Uhhhh, changed the world for the better? That’s quite a leap, and contend otherwise. Though I certainly agree with Tim May in that there is a double standard when it comes to a conservative making a statement about a liberal. Keep in mind Right or Left, both Carter and Obama have gotten in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood and/or radical Islam (even to the point of appointing them in high level positions in Obama’s case).

    What’s the response on Obama saying that Romney would have not ordered the go ahead? Anything input on that? Or…how the Cop(s) that arrested Henry Louis Gates. Obama’s response was “The Police Acted Stupidly.”(and had no facts of the incident at the time)….Or how if Obama had a son, he would look like Obama. Now that we now know what Zimmerman is part Black, does that mean if Obama had a son, he’d look like Zimmerman? I mean, Obama is Black, Irish, Kenyan, White…anything else?

    OOOH, OOOH, my favorite….(paraphrased) “It’s Bushes Fault!”

    And where is the justice department on the Black Panthers? Those on twitter calling for the killing of Zimmerman? Or those involved in Ocupy Wallstreet calling for the killing of cops? Or the White Guy in (I think Arizona) that was shot and killed by a black guy with no fight/struggle, but a verbal argument? Shortly after reports came out saying that ‘white’ guy had the mind capacity of a 12 year old. HEY AL SHARPTON OR ERIC HOLDER, WHERE ARE YOU AT!? Anything? Nope, but we best crack down onthe evil Amish selling their milk. Any investigation on the money wee wee’d away on Solyndra?

    Mitt Romney was not my first choice, but at least he’s not a Socialist. So Pat, get back to me when you have a better grip on who is, oh what did you type, “making an utter fool of yourself.”

  7. dogrescuer

    Since leaving the presidency, Jimmy Carter has devoted much of his life to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, without bragging about it. Would Tim, or Don, (above) or any other right-wingers do the same?

  8. Uuhh…it wasn’t about courage but about commitment and trust. Trusting in your military intelligence and committing your principals, faith and integrity in those you lead. I give him credit for making that decision. That being said, Clinton had the same opportunity, but lacked the Moxie to do it as it wasn’t politically correct at the time. Even though there were two direct attacks on America by the same group headed by the same leader. And Pat, Obama has made an “utter fool of himself” for the better part of three years; bowing to King Abdhulla (I mean tying his shoes-fool), there are “52 American States”-fool, “keep your tires inflated”-fool, picking BFD Biden as a VP-fool, the “police acted stupidly”-fool, “my white grandmother is a racist by nature”-fool!

  9. expdoc

    Apparently all these right wingers would do the same doggie.


    The most recent year that a large, nonpartisan survey asked people about both redistributive beliefs and charitable giving was 1996. That year, the General Social Survey (GSS) found that those who were against higher levels of government redistribution privately gave four times as much money, on average, as people who were in favor of redistribution. This is not all church-related giving; they also gave about 3.5 times as much to nonreligious causes. Anti-redistributionists gave more even after correcting for differences in income, age, religion and education.

    Of course, there are other ways to give than with money. Here again the results may be different from what you might expect. The GSS in 2002 showed that those who said the government was “spending too much money on welfare” were more likely to donate blood than those who said the government was “spending too little money on welfare.” The anti-redistributionists were also more likely to give someone directions on the street, return change mistakenly handed them by a cashier, and give food (or money) to a homeless person.

    So what does all this tell us? Contrary to the liberal stereotype of the hard-hearted right-winger, opposition to income-leveling is not evidence that one does not care about others. Quite the contrary. The millions of Americans who believe in limited government give disproportionately to others. This is in addition to—not instead of—their defense of our free-enterprise system, which gives the most people the most opportunities to earn their own success.

    Obviously, not all charity has ideological connotations—nor should it. But for many, especially at this time of year, giving is a cheerful, productive protest vote against the growing state. It is America’s quiet tea party.

  10. Milton Waddams

    Jimmy Carter doesn’t give money to Habitat for Humanity. He builds houses. My sister was at a job site with him in the late 90’s.

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