Despite the fact that I’m on the centre-right politically, many of my political heroes are on the left. The Kennedys, FDR, Harry Truman, Pierre Trudeau, LBJ, and amongst those, one of my greatest heroes would be President Carter.
He’s been much maligned, and painted as a political failure, but I think that Jimmy Carter was a visionary who won office too early, and was doomed to inherit a presidential term (1977-1981) of which the key events (oil crisis, Iranian hostages and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) would have destroyed whomever was in office.
His governorship of Georgia was one of healing the racial divide, and his winning of the 1976 election, coming from absolutely nowhere, was a stunning achievement which transformed American politics. In terms of his key issues he was right in his analysis. He was the first president to get serious about the need for liberals to adapt to the realities of the restraints on government spending, and he rightly predicted that the failure of the US to get to grips with its energy needs and reliance on foreign supply would cause it problems in the future, and this was before global warming. He was also the first president to get serious about human rights, and people forget that the military buildup that eventually broke the Soviet Union actually began under President Carter, something the Republicans try to airbrush out of history.
It took the Democratic party a generation to realise the need to bring moderate separate church and state Christians (like Carter) on board, having surrendered the Christian vote to the hateful fire and brimstone crazies.
The truth is, the Democratic Party needs more candidates with the moderate. compassionate qualities of Jimmy Carter.