I know Bruce has something else planned on the worst president in U.S. history for the morrow, but as I was about to work out, something struck me. In my lifetime, three presidential incumbents have been defeated for reelection, Gerald R. Ford, Carter and George H.W. Bush.
Each of the defeated Republicans (Ford and Bush) showed such grace in exiting the political stage that he became friends in later life with the man who defeated him, Ford with Carter and H.W. with Bill Clinton. But, Carter did not learn from his classy predecessor and never became friendly with his successor, even though one of the Ronald Reagan’s first acts after replacing Carter in the White House was to designate the former president head his “special envoy” to greet the recently released U.S hostages in Germany.
For this classy gesture, Carter repaid the Gipper with bile and bitterness.
You would think that someone who held the highest office in the land would show a certain respect for the office in reaching out to his successors. But, with Jimmy, you would be wrong.
Let me repeat: Alone among the three presidents who lost reelections bids, Jimmy Carter failed to befriend the man who defeated him. He can’t reconcile himself with his domestic political adversaries, but goes out of his way to accommodate the foreign adversaries of the nation he once led.