Jimmy Carter

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Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States of America following Gerald Ford and preceding Ronald Reagan. He was a Democrat who served from 1977-1981, after being the Governor of Georgia. He is regarded by most Americans as being an ineffectual president, and is considered by many people across the political spectrum to be among the worst presidents in the entirety of American history. His inability to meet the challenges that were presented to the nation during his time in office helped lead to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and the triumph of the modern American conservative movement. He has, nevertheless, been unusually active as an ex-president, serving as an election monitor and self-proclaimed "peace advocate", in which capacities he was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. The late terrorist Yasser Arafat also received the Nobel Peace Prize.


Carter's presidency was marked by a period of American supremacy being challenged abroad and economic recession and stagflation striking at home. In the midst of the 1980 campaign, a pro-U.S. monarchy was toppled by the 1979 Iranian Revolution and dozens of American hostages were taken inside the American embassy by Islamic fundamentalist revolutionaries after Carter gave sanctuary to exiled dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. With the international outrage at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later the same year, Carter was rendered impotent, as America saw its influence declining abroad.

Inflation and interest rates reached their highest levels since World War II as the administration freed domestic oil prices in response to rising prices from OPEC. The Misery Index, Carter's own invention of economic well-being, rose 50% in four years.

Despite Carter's own Democratic Party controlling both Houses of Congress, and the White House he failed to reform the tax system, and to reduce the size of the government bureaucracy, as promised during the 1976 campaign, or to pass the Martin Luther King holiday.

Carter has been accused by many of ordering a cover-up of the events at Three Mile Island following the near meltdown of that nuclear plant. He has also been criticized for not doing enough to promote his proclaimed human rights foreign policy stance in his administration, such as continuing to support the Indonesian government even while it was implicated in the commission of acts of genocide in the occupation of East Timor.

The many problems during Carter's presidency and the fact that he failed to deal with them decisively, not only made him an unpopular president and permanently damage the reputation of the Democratic Party with regard to military matters, it also contributed to his landslide re-election defeat. He was defeated in the 1980 presidential election by Ronald Reagan by nearly ten percentage points. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years as a result of the country's anger toward Democrats because of Carter's failures. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 489 votes (representing 44 states) for Reagan and 49 for Carter (representing 6 states and the District of Columbia).

Carter personally opposed abortion but only recently, more than a quarter of a century after his presidency, expressed his opposition in public.


Carter has been active in foreign affairs after his presidency, breaking a long-held tradition for ex-presidents to stay out of politics. His continued work mediating international disputes, organizing election observations, and working with organizations on disease and hunger were cited when he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. In his Nobel lecture, Carter declared his support for "international law":

Our president, Woodrow Wilson, was honored here for promoting the League of Nations, whose two basic concepts were profoundly important: "collective security" and "self-determination." Now they are embedded in international law. Violations of these premises during the last half-century have been tragic failures, as was vividly demonstrated when the Soviet Union attempted to conquer Afghanistan and when Iraq invaded Kuwait. [1]

This was peculiar in that up until very recently NATO was never involved in conflicts outside of Europe and the North Atlantic.

In a October 2000 survey of 132 prominent professors of history, law, and political science, President Carter was grouped in the "Below Average" group, ranked 30th, with a mean score of 2.47 out of 5.00.[2]

In Jimmy Carter's latest book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid", he appeared to endorse Arab terrorism against Israel as a tactic to achieve political ends:

It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.

He apologized for the wording of that sentence, but not for his larger message.[3]

Interest in aliens

Carter claims to have witnessed an unidentified flying object in 1969; he remains the only U.S. President to have formally reported a UFO. He filed a report with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City after a request from that organization. [4] During his presidential campaign, Carter promised to release the truth about any alleged UFO cover-up.

Through Stanford Research Institute, Mr. Alfred Webre was Principal Investigator for a proposed civilian scientific study of extraterrestrial communication presented to and developed with interested Carter White House staff. This took place during the period from May 1977 until the fall of 1977.

President Carter, official statement placed on the Voyager spacecraft [5] for its trip outside our solar system, June 16, 1977: "We cast this message into the cosmos . . . Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some - - perhaps many - - may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe."[6]


  1. Text of Carter's Nobel Lecture Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, 2002.
  2. Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House (New York, Wall Street Journal Book, 2004)
  3. Washington Post, January 24, 2007 [1]
  4. http://www.presidentialufo.com/carter_ufo_report.htm
  5. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=555
  6. http://www.presidentialufo.com/jimmy.htm

Further reading

See also