I never felt any great animus to Bill Clinton, and our current president mainly fills me with ennui, but I always detested Jimmy Carter. You younger readers probably identify him mainly with Habitat for Humanity, and that’s certainly a fine charity.
But for those of us who were young in the 1970s, his basset-hound mug brings back memories of the “killer rabbit,” pot parties on the roof of the White House, cardigan sweaters, humiliation in Iran and malaise speeches. Carter preached the inevitability of American decline, and pretty much told young guys like me that we’d just need to learn to expect less.
He was an anti-gunner, and his adviser Morris Dees, of Southern Poverty Law Center fame, told the press that “Carter will really go hard on gun control. We will break the NRA in five years.” Well. We know who was broken in five years, and it wasn’t the NRA. In fact, the Carter years were the time when NRA changed from a sleepy gun club to the political force it is today, thanks in no small part to longtime SGN columnist Neal Knox.
So it was no big surprise to see that Carter used his appearance at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to criticize gun ownership. “I think we would all know how Dr. King would have reacted to our country being awash in guns and more and more states passing Stand Your Ground laws,” he said.
You don’t have to be a master political genius to see that the Democratic Party is working overtime to strengthen its iron grip on the black vote by pushing gun control even harder. The fact that taking that approach polarizes the country even more is not apparently a bother to them. Peddling a narrative that black teenagers are threatened primarily by white (or “white Hispanic”) vigilantes is smart politics, but terrible statesmanship. And untrue, for however much that matters.
I saw Carter in person only once. He turned up at the SHOT Show in about 1985 when the show was in Atlanta. He spent his time eyeballing double-barrel shotguns, the only gun that national Democrats apparently regard as acceptable. He was surrounded by a whole lot of gun industry types whose looks could have burned a hole through him. I don’t imagine he’s a whole lot more popular today in our trade, and he’s earned it. James Buchanan is generally regarded as the worst president in U.S. history for failing to avert the Civil War, but Carter surely is second-worst.