There was a time back in the day when I defended him, when people were making fun of his southern roots and his beer swilling brother and Georgia in general. But in retrospect he wasn't a very good president.
Yet up until the time Bush took out Saddam I thought he was one of our best ex-presidents, working quietly for democracy and Habitat for Humanity and staying out of day to day politics. Sadly, his recent actions have been more reminiscent of the failed presidency. He's not helping our image around the world--unless embarrassing confusion is the new goal.
Ah, but we do live in strange times indeed. Grits meeting with terrorists in Damascus while the Pope visits Ground Zero and prays for their conversion to Christ. We'll have to see how they respond to all this flowing love--probably with a few suicide attacks or a celebratory head chop. Sorry, just the cynic in me. I wouldn't be a very good peace negotiator.
In the meantime here's a few open questions regarding the Carter trip:
- What if he gets kidnapped? What ransom for a former president?
- Speaking of which, how does one meet with terrorists with a Secret Service detail in tow? Do they all get blindfolded and driven around? That's hard to visualize.
- Will the Hamas Mickey Mouse will be there to greet him?
- God forbid they kill him, would that officially start World War III? What about just an attempt?
- What does Carter have to offer either side? He's a private citizen and doesn't speak for the USA. Say for instance Hamas demands Israel allow them to fulfill their mission statement or eradication, does Jimmy nod his head and offer them a peanut or protest at gunpoint?
- Will the Obama endorsement come before or after the visit?
- Will he be allowed to provide Obama with details of the meeting or will he be debriefed by State and told to zip it? Will any such correspondence be available to the public before the election?
- If Hamas offers ridiculous concessions they know Bush won't agree on in order to score a PR victory will Carter be charged with treason if he demagogues it along with them?
- If it's a rank failure will it serve as an example of why talking to enemies is often pointless?
- What if they demand he don a Hamas keffiyah for PR purposes? Will he do it? Hold a sword, perhaps? Chant death to Israel? Shake hands with the mouse? What are his personal show-stoppers?
Time will tell.