|In Plains in the 1970s. Hulton Archive/Getty Images, via New York Times.|
Carter is maybe the only president who ever did anything directly personally for me, when he blanket-pardoned the Vietnam-era draft dodgers, so I'm biased from the start, but I think his quality as a serving president is drastically undervalued by most on the left even as it is demonized at an Obama level by the right (who can never forgive his efforts against dictatorship and for Middle East peace). Last April, when his book A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power came out, David Masciotra at The Daily Beast summarized some of the progressive aspects of his term that are consistent with, not in opposition to, the values he's shown since he left the White House, especially on the subject of environmental preservation, which has turned out to be the most crucial of all:
The bit I left out was about his passion for deregulation, which doesn't fit the picture—although he denies strongly that he would have moved on to deregulating the finance industry in the second term that never came:
No, that's not true. The elements that have resulted in the latest breakdown were done under a later president, I won't call his name. We kept tight control over the banking and finance committee. There was a constant monitoring of the loans to people. And in getting those loans and then selling those mortgages to other people, and indeed they would be resold again -- all of that was prohibited when I went out of office. (Interview with Kai Ryssdal, October 2010)And the list of industries he did deregulate includes beer, said to have made today's craft breweries possible against the monopoly power of the horse-piss factories, so there's even a bright spot there.
|Image via wantinews.|