Thursday, October 2, 2014

Celebrating Failed Presidents?

Barack Obama on Jimmy Carter 90th birthday

  Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States,  celebrated his 90th birthday by going on a media campaign to redefine his legacy.  Carter's interview with MSNBC insisted that had he authorized robust military action, he would have won re-election.  Instead, Ronald Reagan beat the malaise from Plains Georgia.  On President Reagan's first inauguration day, Tehran released the 52 American hostages after 444 days of captivity. 

 Mr. Carter's self-serving quote failed to account for two factors as he celebrated his foreign policy strategerie (sic).  Firstly,  President Carter did attempt a military operation to free the hostages in April, 1980.  

Operation Eagle Claw was an abortive attempt by the US military to rescue the hostages.  As the eight US helicopters advanced to the Desert One staging area, only five were in operational conditions  (hindered by fine sand, hydraulic issues and a crack in the rotor blade).  The assault was called off, but one of the helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft full of jet fuel, which destroyed both aircraft and killed eight servicemen). 

 Although Operation Eagle Claw may not have been an apocalyptic military operation, it may have been propelled by politics.  President Carter was engaged in a tough battle for the Democrat Presidential Nomination with Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).  In fact, President Carter lost several key primary contests in April 1980 (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Vermont) and was seriously losing momentum. 

Although the failed rescue attempt did generate a lot of scorn for Carter, it also seemed to quash his political insurgency. After Operation Eagle, the rally around the flag instinct which Democrats of the day still had for the military cut Kennedy's mojo.    So Mr. Carters self righteous reminiscing about not using the powers of the Presidency to get re-elected is  questionable. 

 In addition, Mr. Carter intimates today that the hostage release was an answer to his prayers and in the end it all worked out.  While one should not dismiss the power of prayer, it seems more likely that  the Islamic Republic of Iran worrying about what "that crazy cowboy" Reagan  in the Oval Office would do.  Moreover, one should not discount the gesture from Tehran to be one last insult to the Peanut President. 

To celebrate President Carter's milestone birthday, President Barack Obama chose to celebrate himself on social media by posting a photo featuring the 39th and 44th Presidents together.   Of course, Mr. Obama has a history of using his image for branding when supposedly celebrating others, like his social media tribute to Neil Armstrong's death or Rosa Parks' passing. 

 Funny how failed President's celebrate themselves.  Some things never change, despite the rhetoric to the contrary. Some wags have wondered if Barack Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter.  


However, now Carter can take solace that he is no longer considered with worst President in modern American  history.

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