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He Never Lied to Us


Post # 262, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary


A smart and determined man...with hard and fast principles...and deep faith in God.




Readers of my book, The Golden Years...The Florida Legislature, '70s and '80s, know that Susan and I had the pleasure and honor of meeting the 39th President, Jimmy Carter at a South Miami home in our legislative House District. The year was 1976 when he was running against a group of Democrats for the nomination. The incumbent President at the time was Republican Gerald Ford. President Ford was badly damaged by the pardon he issued for former Republican President Richard Nixon over Watergate, and Carter used that decision to propose to never lie to the American public. To my knowledge, President Carter kept that promise.


With the recent decision by President Carter to enter final hospice care in lieu of any further medical treatment, it is safe to assume President Carter is at the very end of his life. That has prompted many to reflect back on the President's life. Here are some of the achievements and failures of his public service:


Achievements:



1. President Carter delivered the historic Camp David Peace Accord between Egypt and Israel.

2. He proposed the SALT II Arms Control Agreement.

3. Carter made human rights the cornerstone of United States' foreign policy.

4. He de-regulated the airline industry.

5. President Carter inaugurated the nation's investment in solar power.

6. He urged self-sacrifice during the energy crisis.

7. Carter expanded the land included in the Alaska Land Act.

8. He appointed more minorities to senior Federal positions than any President, at the time.

9. After office, he created the Carter Center to help resolve worldwide disputes and treaties.

10. He started and continued to run Habitat for Humanity.



Failures:



1. He attributed America's weakness as a cause of the energy crisis during his presidency. America deeply resented the implication of weakness, described as a "malaise."

2. He often criticized Israel for not honoring the Middle East Peace Agreement with Palestine. Many American Jews do not trust Carter because of it.

3. Against significant opposition from former Republican Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and incumbent Democrat National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski, Carter granted the allegedly corrupt Shah of Iran political asylum. Within days our Embassy in Iran was captured by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

4. Carter's secret plans to release our hostages in Iran failed twice. President Reagan was given credit for their ultimate release, even though Carter worked on the release for a full year.

5. Escalating interest rates and gasoline prices set new inflation records during the Carter years.



As a member of the Florida Senate in 1979, I was invited by President Carter to the White House for a briefing among political leaders in the country on the SALT II Treaty. It was pending at the time in Congress, and the president sought to build support at the grassroots level. He said he remembered me from the '76 campaign stop in South Miami, but I attributed his great memory to extraordinary staff work.


President Carter will probably go down as a better after public service President than during his Presidency.



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