Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jimmy Carter will beat us all to peanut heaven

Several months ago, I did research on former United States President James Earl Carter! I never wrote a post. Now I will do so. My last presidential post was many moons ago with my write-up of Millard Fillmore. There aren't that many left, but if I actually get back into regular history posts, I may move on to vice-presidents. Maybe! No promises because of me being lazy. Ahem. Anyway:
I would wear this shirt so hard.

Jimmy Carter was born in 1924 in Georgia. He was the first president to be born in a hospital. Fancy! He was the first of four children. His dad was a business owner, and his mom was a nurse. Jimmy Carter has deep American roots! He has ancestors that came to North America from England in, like, the 1600s and one of his great-grandfathers served in the Confederate Army. As a child, our friend Jimmy was a smarty-pants, always reading, being good at basketball, and participating in the FFA when the letters still stood for something. Jimmy went to a regional college for a few years, and eventually was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943. He served on ships and submarines in the Atlantic and the Pacific in WWII, originally planning a naval career. In 1946, he married Rosalynn Smith, and they ultimately had four wholesome children. After his father's death in 1953, though, Jimmy resigned from the Navy and went back to Plains, GA to help run the family business. Sounds like somebody wasn't so committed to the navalling business after all.

The family business was PEANUT FARMING. For serious. Somehow Carter messed up one of his fingers in an "agricultural accident." I think we should spread rumors that he fucked it up while doing something far more sordid (dog-fighting? illegal wrestling? lusting in his heart?). Anyway, Jimmy Carter also loved Jesus A LOT. During the '60s, he worked on a local political career, challenged fraud, and became a Georgia state senator for awhile, but failed to get the Democratic nomination for governor in 1966. But then in the 1970 gubernatorial campaign (GUBER like GOOBER like PEANUTS! I am so funny.) he was more successful. He called his primary competition "Cufflinks Carl" (this is clever!) and was elected even though he was not a segregationist (all though still kind of racist). He was a relatively progressive governor considering it was early '70s Georgia what with public desegregation, not hating ladies who get legal abortions, and making social justice-y and ethical-type programs a priority. He even eventually stopped loving the death penalty.

Anyway, he was a near miss for McGovern's VP in 1972, but got the presidential nomination in 1976. And he won! And my fellow Macalester alum Walter Mondale was his vice president.* Jimmy Carter is largely famous for reporting a UFO sighting** and saying uncomfortable, ungrandfatherly-seeming things to Playboy magazine. But whatever. He was the president during a terrible time. A terrible time for fashion, for politics, and for Jimmy Carter. He granted amnesty to Vietnam War draft dodgers, brokered the Camp David Accords, and suggested people use solar panels and wear more sweaters to save on energy costs (these all sound like good things to me).*** Also though, there was that unfortunate Love Canal incident, we had oil and energy crises, we were still all Cold Warrish and boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of that whole Afghanistan situation that we would totally end up taking over in like 20 years, also there was that thing called stagflation, which is a stupid way of saying that the economy was shit. Although shitty in a different way than it is shitty now.

Okay, so maybe he's not perfect, but still pretty awesome.
Because I am a liberal hippie communist, I tend to think that while it seems maybe Jimmy Carter was a little bit too nice to be president, he inherited some pretty nasty shit. I mean, the guy before him wasn't even elected. And I actually feel bad that the Iran hostage crisis became all about fucking over Jimmy Carter and then that cowboy movie star guy totally rewarded them with secret weapons that he totally "didn't know anything about" after defeating Jimmy in the 1980 election. Not that I'm bitter on Jimmy Carter's behalf. But Jimmy Carter would never be bitter because Jesus and peanuts keep him on the straight and narrow.

Like Taft, Carter's greatest achievements came post-presidency. Jimmy and Rosalynn started the Carter Center, which helps people and works on eradicating illnesses that sound really gross like Guinea worm disease. Carter also won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for being awesome. He is frequently called upon to serve diplomatic missions around the world because people outside of America don't hate him too much. He also likes building houses for poor people, occasionally publicly criticizing U.S. foreign policy, hanging out with the first (and slightly less douchey) George Bush, teaching Baptist Sunday school, solving problems in Palestine, riding bikes, winning awards, speaking up for ladies in the church and generally beating everybody at getting to heaven. So maybe the late '70s were a disaster for America, but I refuse to (completely) blame Jimmy Carter. I think if we were all a little bit more like Jimmy Carter, the world would be a better place. AND I NEVER SAY SHIT LIKE THAT SO TAKE MY SINCERITY VERY SERIOUSLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN IT'LL HAPPEN AGAIN.

*We can't all be Kofi Annan or Peter Berg, but VP is still a pretty sweet achievement for a fellow Scot! Can you tell my reunion is coming up? Five years, bitchez! I think I'm finally accepting that I am this old.
**I don't know why this is a big deal. UFO literally means an unidentified object in the sky. Surely we have all seen these and not necessarily been convinced they are alien spacecrafts, no matter what the quacks on Ancient Aliens try to tell you.
***"I mean, Jimmy Carter would have an electric car by now." -Tommy Corn, I Heart Huckabees. LOVE!


  1. Sent this to a friend at work who is a big presidential history buff. He suggested if you start doing VPs you might "want to start with William Rufus DeVane King, who not only had the silliest name, but was James Buchanan supposed lover."

  2. Carter is probably one of the best ex-presidents we've ever had.