My late grandmother advised me to "never speak ill of the dead." But since Jimmy Carter is still alive (at least for now), I can let loose with another barrage at the former President, without offending my grandmother and her companions in the Great Beyond.
In case you missed it, the nation's worst President was on C-SPAN over the weekend, offering his "insights" (and I use that word advisedly) on various issues. Mr. Carter appeared on a three-hour program to flog his new book (Peace, Not Apartheid), which reportedly offers a "solution" to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. When the former President launched into his predictable defense of the Palestinians, one irate caller (gotta love those call-in segments) referred to Mr. Carter as a "bigot" and an "anti-semite."
Watch the video on YouTube. Carter's reaction is priceless.
At another point, the conversation turned to Mr. Carter's funeral plans. While noting that he "could" be buried in Arlington National Cemetary, "or wherever I want," the former President said that he want to be interred in his hometown of Plains, Georgia--after a funeral in Washington and a brief display of his body in Atlanta.
I haven't watched the complete C-SPAN program, so I'm not sure what prompted the questions about Carter's burial plans. The entire interview--including that classic call-in moment--runs far too long; perhaps the effect of hearing Carter drone on for three hours was more than the host could bear, making him wish that he were dead, or that the former President had passed on to his reward.
In fact, the Carter interview may be something of a watershed; I'm not sure that we've heard former Presidents discuss their burial plans on national television before, and quite frankly, I think we can get by without similar conversations in the future. Not that it's an unseemly or inappropriate topic, just one better left to the former president, his family, and others involved in planning the event. True, the former president was only responding to a question, but why not simply say "the arrangements have been made, and I hope that event is many years away."
But with Mr. Carter, it's always been about the image, or more correctly, rehabilitating an image besmirched by four years of absolute incompetence. Wrecking the U.S. economy, creating a national "malaise" and unleashing Islamofacism on the world is quite a legacy to overcome, but Carter has spent the last 30 years trying to repair his shattered image. From coddling various dictators, to brokering a dangerous nuclear agreement with North Korea and "observing" every election in the third world, no stop has been too big or too small for the Jimmy Carter image rehabilitation tour. The fact that Mr. Carter is a Nobel peace prize laureate--and that his advice is actually welcomed in some quarters--is a testament, both to the success to the "success" of his efforts, and Barnum's maxim about suckers being born every minute. Obviously, President Carter is planning a big send-off when the Grim Reaper comes knocking (befitting the office he once held). And, we can probably expect a funeral that is long on his post-White House "accomplishments," and short on the disaster that was his administration.
We certainly don't wish Mr. Carter an early demise, but a preview of his funeral arrangements is no more necessary than his ideas on Middle East peace, and that silly book he was plugging on C-SPAN. Mr. Carter is right about one thing: Plains is probably the right resting place for him, and I'm sure the heroes buried at Arlington will not be slighted by his absence.