That’s been the headline takeaway from Jimmy Carter’s interview with Piers Morgan from last night — that, and Carter claiming that his grandson won the election for Barack Obama by producing the “47 percent” videotape. Oddly, that hasn’t improved relations between Obama and the Democratic President whose policies Obama most closely emulates, at home and abroad. Go figure:
Democratic pollster and onetime Carter campaigner Pat Caddell tells National Review’s Eliana Johnson he’s not surprised at all:
“I think it’s pretty disappointing but not surprising,” Caddell says. “Obama doesn’t have relationships with anybody.” …
Carter, throughout his presidency, had a warner relationship with his predecessors. “He and Ford became very close friends even though he defeated Ford,” Caddell recalls. “He got along with Nixon okay. Presidents tend to at least have some respect for each other, a respect for the person in the office.”
Caddell argues that the White House’s decision to keep Carter at a distance reflects a broader political strategy: “This is the nature of the Obama administration; it is loyal to no one.”
Well, in this case I might be inclined to give Obama a pass. Carter isn’t exactly a beloved figure in American politics. He started off his post-presidential career with a high-minded effort to dedicate himself to charitable works, but then decided quickly that he’d rather interfere with American foreign policy. Presidents of both parties have had to deal with the consequences of that decision, which had the most unfortunate impact in North Korea. Bill Clinton wanted to get tough on Pyongyang to stop their march toward nuclearization, but Carter’s interference undercut those efforts, and forced Clinton to step back and sign the framework that allowed North Korea to develop nukes. Obama has that headache right now, and probably is none too pleased with the mess.
It’s not too surprising that Obama doesn’t want to associate himself with Carter’s legacy. It’s difficult to see why anyone would.