Jimmy Carter was such a miserable President that when he left office his partisans went about creating the myth that he was America’s best former President, as if that was some kind of consolation for the four woeful years Americans suffered through when Carter actually was President.
As the years have gone by, however, Carter has made it ever more difficult for his acolytes to carry on the myth. His remarks at the funeral of Coretta Scott King should put it to rest for all time.
Carter’s "eulogy" for Mrs. King was not about her, but about him, making it, therefore, both petty and partisan. "Since we left the White House, my wife and I have visited more than 125 nations," he began. Then: "My wife and I have helped to have democratic elections in Indonesia … when I was governor I dedicated Martin’s portrait … they had a key to the White House when I was there … I was in their political debt … when I was President, I called for making January 15 a national holiday … When I awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom … Years later in Oslo, I said … On a personal note, I added to my talk …"
Much ridicule has been justly heaped on Carter’s remarks about "secret government wiretapping" (which used a wrong done by the Kennedy Administration to slap at President Bush) and his claim that the response to Hurricane Katrina proved America was still a discriminatory country. Yet, how graceful, by contrast, were President Bush’s brief and beautiful words, which focused solely on Mrs. King, her husband, her faith and the God she has now gone to meet.