Defending Jimmy Carter

posted at 6:40 pm on August 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

I’m getting a lot of e-mail from people today about Jimmy Carter’s appearance with Jim Lehrer.  People have gotten exercised about Carter supposedly calling Barack Obama “boy”, which as almost everyone knows, is a racial putdown of the first order when referring to adult black men.  However, that’s not what Carter did, and the reason the media hasn’t made a big deal of this is because it isn’t a big deal.  Watch the segment and listen to what Carter says and the context in which he says it:

I think it has already sent a wave of approbation and admiration in many countries around the world, just knowing that this black boy, who grew up with just a loving mother and grandparents — and that was about all he had to start with! —  has now had a chance to become the Democratic nominee for president.

Jimmy Carter says plenty of stupid things without attempting to take something out of context to prove it.  Clearly, he referred to the fact that a child who grew up without a father now has the opportunity to become President, although that’s hardly remarkable, since Bill Clinton did it sixteen years ago.  The construction of his sentence may be slightly clumsy, but he obviously isn’t calling the contemporary Barack Obama “boy”.

Let’s focus on the truly foolish policy statements that will come out of this convention.  I guarantee you that Democrats will offer plenty of grist for our mills honestly without straining for it as here.

And don’t make me come back there and defend Jimmy Carter again.  I will pull this blog over to the road, I swear!


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Comments

But … but … but… Dad!

Rod on August 26, 2008 at 6:44 PM

well Jimmuh gets that magic (d) pass…..I assure you were this Lott, Gingrish, et al the narrative would be different….

was he trying to offend?

almost absolutely not.

Does that stop $uper Je$$e Jack$on, Al “$lim $hady” $harpton et al from doing gymnastics in cases just as benign?

Nope.

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 6:45 PM

Carter is still a traitor, a pseudo-Christian and proponent for UN government.

darwin on August 26, 2008 at 6:45 PM

Peanut Carter might be an idiot, but I don’t think he’s a racist. :(

poxoma on August 26, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Carter said something that we can’t make fun of? Sheeesh.

Cicero43 on August 26, 2008 at 6:47 PM

I just hate context. Such a downer.

a capella on August 26, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Is this why he was not allowed to speak at the Democrat National Convention? How odd a former president of these here United States of America is not allow to speak at their convention. Even the impeached Bill Clinton is going to speak.

kanda on August 26, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Captain Ed: Doing the jobs conservative Americans don’t want to do.

TheUnrepentantGeek on August 26, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Ok, so he doesn’t have a problem with black folks. Now about them Jooooooos, Jimmah…

JohnAGJ on August 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Well, it’s not what he said. It’s the way he said it. Or something.

Cicero43 on August 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Carter is a meathead hasbeen flunkie. The only president worse than him will be Obama. And, after Obama, we will get the next “Reagan Revolution”.

saiga on August 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

I keep telling people that the bunny-beeeeaaaaach-slap the dude got nailed with 30 years ago did him good…no one listens……….

ocbrat on August 26, 2008 at 6:54 PM

If Jimmuh Carter was worth peanut spit, he’d stay out of the state department’s business, and travel to Kenya and do something to help George Hussein Onyango Obama.

My collie says:

Maybe George will adopt him, and we won’t have to listen to him anymore.

CyberCipher on August 26, 2008 at 6:54 PM

I can agree with Ed’s sentiments and have only one question – would the media grant a conservative who’d have said this, the same silence and treatment?

Entelechy on August 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

Just be glad McCain didn’t say it- we all know how that would be played on MSNBC:

…just knowing that this black boy… has now had a chance to become the Democratic nominee for president.

Hollowpoint on August 26, 2008 at 6:57 PM

If the Democrat Presidential hopeful was a Caucasian, would that boot licking flea infested has-been and former peanut farmer have referred to the candidate as “…just knowing that this white boy, who grew up with just a loving mother and grandparents…”

No. He wouldn’t have said “white boy“.

He may not have used the term “black boy” as a racial epithet, but his tone of wonderment at the “black boy” being as much of a success as he has been so far, and the potential for “black boy” to quite possibly succeed as far as the apex of the food chain, is obvious.

FlatFoot on August 26, 2008 at 6:59 PM

I can agree with Ed’s sentiments and have only one question – would the media grant a conservative who’d have said this, the same silence and treatment?

Entelechy on August 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

No. It would be portrayed as another case of “stealth racism” by using the word “boy” to bring up racist images.

Still, I’d rather not stoop to that level, even if the opposition would.

Hollowpoint on August 26, 2008 at 7:01 PM

I’m sorry but when you call a 40 something man a boy instead of man, u mean “BOY” as in n….r. You have to remember where
Jimmy grew up and when he grew up.

BruceB on August 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM

Worst. President. Ever.

cjs1943 on August 26, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Carter turning over Iran to the terrorist mullahs, that’s a big deal. Joe Biden saying Jimmy Carter did the right thing, that’s a big deal.

tarpon on August 26, 2008 at 7:05 PM

Peanut Carter might be an idiot, but I don’t think he’s a racist. :(

poxoma on August 26, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Except for his hatred of the Jewish race.

And I thought that it was Steve Martin that ‘was born a poor black child.’

rmgraha on August 26, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Why not focusing on Carter telling Charlie Rose that Obama wasn’t ready to be president? Eye on the prize guys.

Seixon on August 26, 2008 at 7:06 PM

Did Carter refer to any of the terrorists as that ‘brown boy’ when he met with them and gushed about how far they have come along?

grdred944 on August 26, 2008 at 7:07 PM

I’m sorry but when you call a 40 something man a boy instead of man, u mean “BOY” as in n….r. You have to remember where
Jimmy grew up and when he grew up.

BruceB on August 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM

Geez- what was he supposed to say to placate the PC types? “This African-American male child”? Let’s not be petty; there’s no racism here- intentional or otherwise.

Now I know how Ed feels- defending Carter might be right in this case, yet I still feel dirty doing it. ((shudder))

Hollowpoint on August 26, 2008 at 7:08 PM

sorry but the smell taste fails…..IF Rush had said the exact same sentence, there would an online petition alreay with 1,000,000 libs already signed for his head…..Fairness Doctrine my %#$%

SDarchitect on August 26, 2008 at 7:09 PM

Uh… where’s the video?

I no see.

LibertarianConservative on August 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

I do not find Jimmah’s comment offensive.

What I find offensive is I voted for this ” Change ” candidate as an 18 yr old kid in 1976. Next think I knew I was sitting in gas lines waiting to fill my Dad’s tank on odd days. Good times – NOT!

DeweyWins on August 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

You are right, Ed. There are plenty of other things with which to belabor the 39th President. And he’ll likely say something else that’s legitimately mendacious before the week is out.

Mr. D on August 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM

Jimmy’s gotten himself in a little Brer Rabbit here, hasn’t he?

– The Cat

MirCat on August 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM

I gotta agree with BruceB – given when and where Carter grew up, and has spent most of his adult life, it’s impossible to give him a contextual pass for the use of the term. In that part of the country, the use of the term ‘boy’ when referring individually to a male over the age of 18 to 21 or so is always, always, always diminutive, derogatory, or dismissive.

Where I might be willing to give Carter a pass is that it is not necessarily a racist put down – it is also a common use expression of older people discussing those at least generationally younger than themselves.

However, given where and when Carter grew up, and has lived, he has GOT to be hypersensitive to the use of such a potentially incendiary phrasing.

Wind Rider on August 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM

That statement he made was UNBELIEVABLE–and I do believe there are some bigoted southerners who DO feel like that!!
That is serious!! Serious enough to be concerned for Barack’s safety–no kidding.

Conservatives R Us on August 26, 2008 at 7:17 PM

Carter needs to just go away…. good or bad. The man needs to go retire on a peanut farm and STFU.

Carter grow some peas or corn for the world or something, will you!

upinak on August 26, 2008 at 7:17 PM

Ahhh…

So now context is important.

Strange are the ways of those who can read minds.

would the media grant a conservative who’d have said this, the same silence and treatment?

No, and neither did Ed.

VolMagic on August 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM

Nitpickin’, ’cause I used to teach English as a 2nd language…

Ed, he did actually call The Obamboozler a boy. Not that I care, but look at the grammar…remove the injected phrase “who grew up with just a loving mother and grandparents — and that was about all he had to start with!” and the sentence reads thus:

“I think it has already sent a wave of approbation and admiration in many countries around the world, just knowing that this black boy has now had a chance to become the Democratic nominee for president.” (BOLD mine)

Of course Carter IS suggesting the boy, who is now a man, has a chance bla bla bla…but chalk this one up under “just imagine if a Republican had so spoken.” SIGH.

Lockstein13 on August 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM

The point isn’t wether carter meant anything bad, the point is holding them to exactly the same standards conservatives are held to. If a conservative said exactly the same thing in the exact same context every msm outlet would be calling for his resignation and finding every single piece of film of him in the same room as mccain. Next week mccain or his running mate will say something totally innocuous and the media and leftists will twist it to have a racial connotation. They are already saying that if barry loses it proves that America is a racist country. Wake up and smell the coffee, the leftists are burying conservatives with stuff like this and it’s time someone fought back.

peacenprosperity on August 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM

It was a poor choice of words. Had he said black child, no one would have paid attention. Yes, had a Republican said it, all hell would have broken loose, but they didn’t and it really is no big deal.

Wind Rider on August 26, 2008 at 7:16 PM-
However, given where and when Carter grew up, and has lived, he has GOT to be hypersensitive to the use of such a potentially incendiary phrasing.

If he were 40, maybe, but as you said, when he grew up. The older generation don’t live in a PC world.

Pam on August 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM

And don’t make me come back there and defend Jimmy Carter again.

Nobody forced you to defend him. You’re way too fair, balanced, and mature.

Moderates, ugh.

misterpeasea on August 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM

Carter grow some peas or corn for the world or something, will you!

No more corn! Enough is being grown for that worthless ethanol instead of food already.

darwin on August 26, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Clearly, he referred to the fact that a child who grew up without a father now has the opportunity to become President, although that’s hardly remarkable, since Bill Clinton did it sixteen years ago.

Yep, and Bill’s mom really was “working class” — unlike Obama, whose mom was an anthropologist and whose grandmother was vice president of a bank (a “typical white woman” who paid for Obama to attend the most expensive and prestigious private school on Oahu — poor little mistreated black boy).

AZCoyote on August 26, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Carter is a meathead hasbeen flunkie. The only president worse than him will be Obama. And, after Obama, we will get the next “Reagan Revolution”.

saiga on August 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Reagan Revolution isn’t happening again until the Republican Party ceases to be the party of bigger government and fewer personal freedoms. All of you salivate for a magical Reagan II, or even Reagan to be dug out of his grave and brought back to life, but it isn’t happening until you make it happen with your votes.

Xolom on August 26, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Doesn’t anyone have a spare attick?

Immolate on August 26, 2008 at 7:27 PM

I’ll bet George Obama would love to have one of those Habitat for Humanity houses.

Cicero43 on August 26, 2008 at 7:29 PM

Cicero43 on August 26, 2008 at 7:29 PM

Hell YEAH he would. Have you seen them? They are nicer then the house I just bought!

upinak on August 26, 2008 at 7:36 PM

When has the media or the left given the Republicans the benefit of context?
Darn I hate being the grown ups.
; P

carbon_footprint on August 26, 2008 at 7:38 PM

And don’t make me come back there and defend Jimmy Carter again. I will pull this blog over to the road, I swear!

What you need to do is pull this blog over and fix that video. It ain’t loading here. and I done rebooted this laptop once.

LibertarianConservative on August 26, 2008 at 7:38 PM

Obambi is black….But, but, but, I thought he waspost racial

Seriously though, Mav’s campaign has the lib’s tearing at there garments and crying RACIST simply because of commercials where he is shown in the same clip as Pelvis Hilton and Slutney Spears.

But, if dem’s say-oh for instance-that Glibama is “a clean and well spoken young man” or refer to “Typical white people” or something like Jimmuh said; crickets-not a peep is heard.

Heck, Jimmuh can even openly disparage the Jooooooosss and no-one, NO-ONE! says anything…

I guess they’re all afraid of being called age-ists!…Er no, that’s right, Mav is the only Old guy in politics…

RocketmanBob on August 26, 2008 at 7:39 PM

The point isn’t wether carter meant anything bad, the point is holding them to exactly the same standards conservatives are held to.
peacenprosperity on August 26, 2008 at 7:22 PM

So you’re suggesting that the best way to combat the insane, paranoid, dishonest attacks from the left is to emulate them? No thanks.

Hollowpoint on August 26, 2008 at 7:41 PM

You missed the mandatory nuance. What if a Republican had said it?

hadsil on August 26, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Jimmah is a doddering old fool who shouldn’t be taken serious.

docdave on August 26, 2008 at 7:45 PM

Dad! Barack is looking at me!

lionheart on August 26, 2008 at 7:57 PM

Weird — the video code was there but wouldn’t load. I replaced it, and now it does.

Ed Morrissey on August 26, 2008 at 7:58 PM

poor Jimmy , he has peanut for a brain…..

beachkatie on August 26, 2008 at 7:59 PM

who grew up with just a loving mother and grandparents — and that was about all he had to start with!

As Michael Medved pointed out today, Barry’s grandmother was a bank VP at two different banks while he was growing up. Barry didn’t start from abject poverty as the Dims would like everyone to think. He did start live abandoned by a bigamist father, which is sad enough for anyone. But he was hardly poor.

Mallard T. Drake on August 26, 2008 at 7:59 PM

Dad! Barack is looking at me!

lionheart on August 26, 2008 at 7:57 PM

I’m in your space! I’m in your space!

Mallard T. Drake on August 26, 2008 at 8:00 PM

Is Carter a racist? Yes.

Two concrete reasons : the race-baiting photo against his opponent his campaign released when he was running for governor of Georgia.

And secondly, he’s a LIBERAL!!! And to liberals, things like the color of one’s skin trumps the quality of one’s character.

Is Carter saying something racist in this cut? Uh… no, not really.

Scribbler on August 26, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Jimmy Carter is a fucking idiot PERIOD! Perhaps Ted Kennedy has got room for Mr Carter on his multi-million dollar yacht……. a Viking funeral would be nice!
sorry, but this country has had enough of these two liberal pricks.
Good job in Iran jimmy!!

try again later on August 26, 2008 at 8:23 PM

By the way, I was referring to Carter’s 1970 race against Carl Sanders.

Scribbler on August 26, 2008 at 8:26 PM

Jimmy Carter is a f*****g idiot PERIOD! Perhaps Ted Kennedy has got room for Mr Carter on his multi-million dollar yacht……. a Viking funeral would be nice!
sorry, but this country has had enough of these two liberal pricks.
Good job in Iran jimmy!!

try again later on August 26, 2008 at 8:23 PM

Your point would have been better made sans the F bomb. Me personally I don’t mind, but the site has rules and a wide audience representing the blogosphere….

this is not KOS the rightwing edition.

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 8:31 PM

More surprising to me was the old lech didn’t toss in an adultery-of-the-heart comment about Michelle.

Captain Hate on August 26, 2008 at 8:33 PM

sven10077 on August 26, 2008

point well taken……

try again later on August 26, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Just for clarification, in certain circles in the south, “boy” is still used among males to refer to each other. “Hey boy”, is used as a greeting or attention getter. I haven’t seen it used with black males but among white guys it is fairly common. I can see how it would grate on the ears if one weren’t aculturated properly.

Carter is an idiot (and evil to boot) but he seems innocent here by just about any standard. Perhaps he should have said black kid instead of boy but frankly, who gives a flip what color the president is. If it factors either way in your decision then you just need to stay home and let more decent people choose the president.

Ben Franklen on August 26, 2008 at 8:40 PM

Nah, I agree. Jimmy has said a boat-load of stupid things but this wasn’t the racial slur some would like it to be.

bopone on August 26, 2008 at 8:49 PM

Jimmy Carter never was the brightest Crayon in the pack!

byteshredder on August 26, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Weird — the video code was there but wouldn’t load. I replaced it, and now it does.

There ya go, it works now. :)

LibertarianConservative on August 26, 2008 at 8:52 PM

The video play is loading, but the content is either really slow loading or something…

LibertarianConservative on August 26, 2008 at 8:54 PM

All trash,no trailer.

christene on August 26, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Later, does he goes on to refer to piccaninnies playing on the White house lawn?

Dems, always with the underlying bigotry.

I went to a typical dunkin’ donuts but couldn’t order because I don’t have a slight Indian accent.

I am crying RACIST!

esnap on August 26, 2008 at 9:09 PM

I’m sorry but when you call a 40 something man a boy instead of man, u mean “BOY” as in n….r. You have to remember where
Jimmy grew up and when he grew up.

BruceB on August 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM

You are CORRECT SIR!

esnap on August 26, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Dems, always with the underlying bigotry.

That’s it exactly.

Ed, good call on the “boy” part, but you have missed the larger context. The only reason Carter needs to mention “black” is that Dems can never get beyond the divisiveness of racial politics.

HelenW on August 26, 2008 at 9:20 PM

…Waiting with baited breath for the ripples from this drip to finally subside.

Independent Conservative on August 26, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Confession–I actually voted for Jimmy in 1976. There, it’s out, I can move on now. I meant it to be a protest vote, but who knew the goof would win???! Let that be a lesson for all of you anti-Macainiacs who can’t accept some of his positions. I agree, but do we need another one of these guys running around loose twenty years from now? Oh, the humanity!

FalseProfit on August 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM

FalseProfit on August 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM

Not so fast.. Admission is not penance.

You have to wear a sweater, drive 55 and turn your thermostat off for a year, and buy 100 carbon credits my son.

esnap on August 26, 2008 at 9:40 PM

I just can’t watch it. I haven’t had dinner and I have worked hard all day. I am not sure I could watch it under any cirucumstances.

Glynn on August 26, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Hall monitor Ed is being fair again. But Jimmy’s comment is striking because it focuses us on the nagging essence that Barack remains an awkward adolescent, a golden boy still not grown.

Now Jimmy, to paraphrase cjs1943 above:
Worst Ex-President EVER.

Mark30339 on August 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM

Carter was a idiot. A total joke as a President. He don’t seem to me to be a racist. To me he is a traitor, and a senile old fa*t. A lot of cracks in his shell……

sheebe on August 26, 2008 at 9:46 PM

Carter wants to wear a gimp suit and have Michelle spank him and call him a capitalst pig while he orally services Barry….but in this instance he was referring to Hussein growing up and not denograting him.

Alden Pyle on August 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM

“…that this black boy, [past tense clause], now has the chance to be the nominee for blah blah”

Sorry but ‘man’ would have been appropriate and not ‘boy.’ Carter was speaking in the present then switch to the past tense in a different clause from the place where the phrase “black boy” was used, then back to the present tense. Take the past tense clause out and you have “…that this black boy has the chance to be the nominee…”

He should know better. But then Michael Moore’s and Yasser Arafat’s good buddy should know better about a lot of things.

baldilocks on August 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Carter is a idiot do we expect him to say something smart?

Gracelynn on August 26, 2008 at 10:58 PM

I don’t believe his words were racist, but I know he was discriminating in his heart.

If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go cry in my rose garden.

Laura in Maryland on August 26, 2008 at 11:04 PM

President Carter can be called a lot of things, as we all can be. But racist or bigot are not among those things.

jtoms3 on August 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM

Wtf is up with his right eye?

Jaibones on August 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Credit for trying to be fair, here. But … defending Jimmy Carter? I’m feeling queasy now.

theregoestheneighborhood on August 26, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Captain, do you think anyone in the media would give McCain a pass on the exact same statement?

clghitis on August 27, 2008 at 12:52 AM

Barak is no “black boy”. He’s the Mulatto Messiah.

T J Green on August 27, 2008 at 3:27 AM

Hollowpoint on August 26, 2008 at 7:41 PM

I guess you are well practiced at bending over and saying thank you.

peacenprosperity on August 27, 2008 at 6:10 AM

FlatFoot on August 26, 2008 at 6:59 PM

You have to remember that liberals take it as an article of faith that America is irredeemably racist.

Which explains why Carter would be more amazed that a black is able to rise to the point of being the Democratic nominee, than he would be for a white of similar background.

MarkTheGreat on August 27, 2008 at 8:06 AM

President Carter can be called a lot of things, as we all can be. But racist or bigot are not among those things.

jtoms3 on August 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM

Maybe not a racist but I believe him to be a bigot regarding Israel. The definition of bigot meaning “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” He has demonstrated his bigotry time and time again.

Glynn on August 27, 2008 at 8:32 AM

Jewish delegates walked out on Carter the other day:

http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/08/jewish-delegate.html

Mig on August 27, 2008 at 8:50 AM

Jewish delegates walked out on Carter the other day:

http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/08/jewish-delegate.html

Mig on August 27, 2008 at 8:50 AM

Good for them! As you recall, 14 members of his Carter Center resigned in protest after he published his book comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of blacks in South Africa under apartheid, and he has met with top leaders of the terrorist group Hamas. It’s good to see that some people have not forgotten this.

Glynn on August 27, 2008 at 9:09 AM