Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jimmy Carter, nice man

The History Channel is doing a series about the presidents, which my teenage sons are watching, and I just walked past the TV while the show was talking about Jimmy Carter. So I muttered something about what a lousy president Carter was, and my wife said, "He's a nice man -- he called my patient!"

My wife then reminded me that, some 15 years ago, when we lived in Rome, Ga., she worked as a home health aide. She came home one day and told me about one of her patients, who was old and very ill, who had been an official photographer for Jimmy Carter. "I wonder," said my wife, "if there is any way we could get in touch with Mr. Carter and let him know" about the old man's illness.

I mentioned that Carter's former aide and longtime supporter, Bert Lance, lived in Calhoun, about 25 miles away, where we'd lived before we moved to Rome. So my wife gets out the phone book, looks up Lance's home number (which was listed) and calls him. She got the answering machine, and left a message, but didn't really expect to hear back.

And then the phone rang, and it was Lance, who said he knew the photographer very well and was sad to hear of his illness. He said Carter was about to leave on a trip to Africa, but would try to get word to the former president.

Well, Lance personally visited my wife's patient and Carter made a personal phone call. And from that day forward my wife -- who is an Ohio-born Republican -- has always defended Carter as being a decent, Christian man.

Somehow, I just felt the need to share that story.


  1. Bush II and Carter could be considered proof that being decent on a personal level doesn't always translate into being decent stewards at the federal level.

    Having said that, Carter always struck me as a genuinely good man, even during those times in which I found myself disagreeing with every word coming out of his mouth.

  2. Agreed, Cody.

    Both Carter and Bush come across as decent, principled human beings.

    As for Carter, completely ignoring Bill Clinton on inauguration day, knowing full well that the whole world would be watching, just proved the point.

  3. he believes in what he believes. i was living near the end of one of those roads in africa in the mid 80s. he was somehow involved with some sort of farm program and went out to visit a project. none of the local politicians came out our was due to the bad shape the road was in but he went on past our house another 2 hours drive.(about 15 miles) for that i do have some respect. he could have packed it in and nobody who matters would have been the wiser.
    having said that i think he is nuts.

  4. There had to be some shred of decency in the grinning bastard.

    Thanks for finding and reporting it.

  5. And this, my friends, is the difference between conservatives (most of them) and liberals (most of them). Here we find The Other McCain freely and ready to admit that Carter is, you know, a human being. Capable of kindness. Conservatives are always ready to extend grace to our opponents, whereas our opponents seem to want to deny us even that.