Democrats and the Carter legacy

Former president Jimmy Carter played just a minor role at the Democratic convention, and this, apparently, was not a fluke:

The 83-year-old Carter seems genuinely fond of Obama, but the former president’s outspoken support for Palestinian aspirations has allowed the right (and even some on the left) to caricature Carter as an extremist and terrorist-coddler. This hardly seems fair given Carter’s history, but fair doesn’t matter here: Obama, who delivered his first speech after securing the Democratic nomination at the annual AIPAC convention, is particularly sensitive to being compared to Carter. So while Carter’s old foe, Ted Kennedy (who refused, in defeat, to shake Carter’s hand at the 1980 Democratic convention) will be saluted in the peak viewing hour tonight, few Americans will even know that Carter was in Denver.

A Democratic organizer even bragged about it to the Jewish Forward (that’s a paper whose readership is responsible for sidelining Carter):

“What more could we do to diss Jimmy Carter?” said a Democratic official who was involved in deliberations on how to handle the former president’s presence at the convention. The treatment Carter received, the official added, “reflects the bare minimum that could be done for a former president.”

Apparently, Barack Obama and his team made a reasonable political calculation: sidelining a former president who’s generally considered one of the worst-ever American presidents – in order not to annoy an important Democratic constituency with which Obama already has some problems.

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Democrats and the Carter legacy

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