In a Friday interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, former president Jimmy Carter broke with tradition and publicly criticized current U.S. president George W. Bush. Carter, a man familiar with presidential failure due to Middle Eastern troubles, said, â€œI think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history. The overt reversal of Americaâ€™s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including [those of] George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.â€
Carter was also harsh towards Bush on the issue of the Iraq war. “We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered,” he said. “But that’s been a radical departure from all previous administration policies.” He also blasted Bush for doing nothing about the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and undoing the work of his predecessors on the issues of nuclear arms agreements and the environment.
Carter, who is one of the most pious presidentâ€™s ever, also went after Bushâ€™s Faith Based Initiatives Program, “The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion,” Carter said. “As a traditional Baptist, I’ve always believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one.” The reason why this is such big news is that I donâ€™t think that a former president has ever used such strong language to denounce the current president, at least not in the modern area.
As a rule of thumb, former presidents have a great deal of sympathy for others who have or currently serve as president. It is a small fraternity of men who understand the job more intimately than anyone else. Because of this, a sort of gentlemanâ€™s agreement has evolved. Former presidents tend to keep their criticisms to themselves. For Carter to call George W. Bush the worst president ever in terms of international relations is a huge statement, and one that will be left to historians to validate.
It will likely be 20-30 years before history can adequately judge George W. Bush, but history probably wonâ€™t be kind to him. In some ways, I think that Carter should be glad W. came along. Before Bush, He and George H.W. Bush were thought to be the two worst of the TV era presidents. It is a testament to George W. Bushâ€™s poor presidency that some would glad trade our current president for a Carter or Bush 41. To me, this alone is a gigantic political statement. Â
Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com. Â His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics