Normally, I start the day with a birthday post. But last night, I had a dream. I was in Walmart and Fox News was in the background. And they were talking about Jimmy Carter and his career. It was the kind of garbage that you would expect from that “fair and balanced” network. It sounded something right out of one of Ronald Reagan’s attacks from the 1980 campaign. The hostages. The failure of SALT II. High unemployment. High inflation. Not one of those things were Carter’s fault just like not a single thing Reagan is held up as a hero for were his doing, but what do you expect: Fox News.
And then I thought: why are they talking about Carter? And it hit me: he’d finally died. It was a surprise because he seems to be doing great. Bob Dole and Bush the Elder are both confined to wheelchairs and pretty much out of the public square even though they are both only a smidgen older (Dole is the oldest, by one year and two months). But Carter is still making public appearances, still writing books, still shaking up the world. How could he be the first to go?
Of course, the tone of the coverage didn’t surprise me. When a man as evil as Augusto Pinochet or a woman as evil as Margaret Thatcher dies, the obituaries are respectful. The idea is that we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, even if they themselves were responsible for lots of death and suffering. But when it comes to liberals, the America media seem to think it is best to present a “balanced” picture. We saw this when Reuters accidentally released its mock-up of George Soros’ obituary. So why not lay everything that went wrong in the 1970s on Jimmy Carter in death, especially given that he’s spent most of his time since he was president speaking truth to power.
The dream was so vivid and upsetting, that the first thing I did when I woke up was checked the news. I am pleased to report that Jimmy Carter is not dead—and hopefully will not be for a good long time. That’s not to say that I want Bush the Elder or Bob Dole to die. They seem as honorable as men of their classes usually are. But I don’t see them adding a great deal in the public sphere. So their deaths will be sad for their families. But they will mean nothing to me.