|Source:American Experience- Jimmy Carter.|
Source:The Daily Press
"Jimmy Carter's story is one of the greatest dramas in American politics. In 1980, he was overwhelmingly voted out of office in a humiliating defeat. Over the subsequent two decades, he became one of the most admired statesmen and humanitarians in America and the world. Through interviews with the people who know him best, Jimmy Carter traces his rapid ascent in politics, dramatic fall from grace and unexpected resurrection, including Carter family home movies and a rare film sequence of Carter's final hours in the Oval Office, when he and his advisors waited in vain for the release of the Americans who had been held hostage in Tehran for 444 days.
Carter was the first president to confront the challenge of militant Islam, then embodied by the Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Iranian revolution. Carter was also the first president to embark on what would prove to be the excruciating road to peace in the Middle East. But in the end, his presidency was undone by his failure to secure the hostages' release and by a plummeting economy. Yet the memories of his presidency — gas lines, inflation, recession, the Iran hostage crisis, an ineffectual and fractured administration, and the so-called national malaise — would be eclipsed, finally, by his post-presidential successes as a peacemaker in the world's most troubled areas, and his emergence as a champion for the poor in his own country."
From American Experience
"American Experience: Jimmy Carter. Airs Tuesday, June 25th at 8pm on PBS 6."
Had it not have been for 1974 and the Watergate scandal, Jimmy Carter doesn’t get elected President of the United States, at least in 1976. He probably runs for reelection for Governor of Georgia in 1974 and probably gets reelected and waits for 1980. And looks at his options then. Jimmy Carter, basically was in a time that was perfect for someone like him, after Watergate and President Nixon resigning in 1974. Americans were looking for decent honest person to lead the country.
Gerry Ford was, a good, honest man, but American voters were also looking for an outsider and a new voice that was not from Washington. Not a cabinet official, or someone in Congress, but a breath of fresh air, someone who wasn’t an elitist and someone who spoke their mind and could take the country on a different course. And perhaps end the gridlock in Washington and to a certain extent. That’s what President Carter brought to Washington. He was able to pass a lot of legislation out of Congress.
Yes, President Carter, had a Democratic Congress with large majorities, including a 3-5 majority in the Senate his first two years. But he was also able to get a lot of Congressional Republicans to vote for his legislation, because he worked with the Republican Leadership in the House and Senate. He probably actually had more Republican allies in Congress, than Democratic allies. He had problems with Congressional Democrats. The Democratic Party in Congress (especially in the House) was not the Democratic Party that John F. Kennedy had in the early 1960s.
National Democrats were moving way to the left and looking more for a George McGovern Democrat, than a Center-Left Democrat (which is what Jimmy Carter was) to lead them. Which made it difficult for President Carter to work with his own party in and outside of Washington.
Former Senate Republican Leader Robert Dole (Republican, Kansas) said that Jimmy Carter was the smartest President that he ever served with. Senator Dole was in Congress during the entire Carter Presidency and served as Ranking Member of the Finance Committee during that time, but the reason why Senator Dole became Chairman of the Finance Committee in 1981, is because Ronald Reagan defeated President Carter and Republicans win back the Senate in 1980.
Jimmy Carter had a great feel for policy and issues and was very intelligent, but he didn't have much a political touch and vision to take the country in. He was better suited running a cabinet department, than leading an entire administration and country in a certain direction.