Commentary Magazine


Jimmy Carter: Man of the People

It’s no small feat for a regular Joe to gain access to Yasser Arafat’s tomb, located as it is in the West Bank. Yet private U.S. citizen Jimmy Carter was last seen silently laying a wreath of red roses on the terrorist’s grave. Carter’s trip director told reporters: “He and Mrs. Carter and his son Jeff wanted to pay their respects to President Arafat.” Mission accomplished! Even Barack Obama’s call for dialogue with our enemies was confined to the living.

Citizen Carter has more ambitious plans still. “I haven’t been able to get permission to go into Gaza. I would like to. I asked for permission. But I was turned down. But maybe we can find a way to circumvent that. I don’t know yet,” he said. This guy thinks big. I’m not even sure that an American President could “find a way to circumvent” the laws of the sovereign nation of which he’s a guest. But this Carter fellow, who insists he’s there as a plain old American citizen, just like you and me? He’s looking for an angle. If this guy had only been in a position to solve the Middle East crisis, I bet things would be much different today.

But who am I kidding? He’s just Joe Sixpack on vacation. It’s not as if he’ll be a keynote speaker at the 2008 Democratic convention or anything. If he was, he could work wonders. Not only does his family respect Arafat—Carter says they like Obama, too. A regular guy who’s able to do so much could really sway people with an endorsement like that.