A couple of stanzas before Billy Joel shouts “I can’t take it anymore!” in his manic mega hit, there is a couplet that should strike a deep chord with political junkies: “Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan”. Every time I hear that line, I think of Jimmy Carter and I cringe.

Watching America’s biggest Presidential embarrassment pontificate about racism, has made this week particularly cringe-filled.

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American. I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.”

“That racism inclination still exists, and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people — not just in the South but around the country — that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

Sigh…the race card.

Listening to Carter carry on about the evils of racism in America, is like listening to a lecture by O.J. Simpson on the flaws of the US legal system.

Dick Yarbrough wrote about Carter’s 1970 gubernatorial campaign some years ago in an “Athens-Banner Herald” column about the man Carter defeated in that race, incumbent Governor Carl Sanders, and the race mongering that the Carter campaign engaged in to defeat him:

The dirty tricks he endured included a picture widely circulated in South Georgia showing Sanders, a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team at the time, celebrating a victory with his arms around Joe Caldwell, a black player.

Carter and his apologists have long denied any culpability, but veteran political columnist Bill Shipp told me he saw Bill Pope, Carter’s press secretary, hand out leaflets with the photograph at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Dot Wood, a good friend and former vice president of Gerald Rafshoon Advertising, which handled Carter’s media, confirms the story and said she saw boxes of the leaflets in the office. Mysterious leaflets also criticized Sanders for attending the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Carter made a point to say that he did not attend.

Carter engaged in, encouraged, or maybe failed to condemn the race mongering used by his campaign, and once elected, immediately dropped the “George Wallace-styled redneck” facade which served him so well, “severely disappointing the arch-segregationists who had supported him”.

That the man who pledge to bring George Wallace to Georgia, and was “proud” to have Lester Maddox as his lieutenant Governor is lecturing the nation that elected a black President about our “animosity” toward a “black man”, is beyond the pale.

In 1976, Time Magazine interviewed then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, and brought up his relationship with Lester Maddox.

Carter appealed to the segregationist vote when he ran for Governor in 1970 by making friendly gestures toward arch-segregationist Lester Maddox, then a candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the same Democratic ticket.

“Lester and I have always been bitter political enemies,” says Carter. “We were nominated in 1970 by the same Democratic voters, so we gave each other mutual support. I said, ‘I’m supporting the ticket, with Lester on it.’ I said, ‘I’m proud to be on the ticket with Lester because his campaign style—not depending on powerful politicians for endorsements—was compatible with mine.’ I said his inclination to campaign directly with the people, in the streets, in the factories, in the barber shops and beauty parlors, represents the essence of the Democratic party. If I had disavowed my running mate, it would have weakened the ticket substantially.”

So what we know about Carter is that he is willing to use racism to destroy his political opponents, and embrace it for the sake of political expediency.

We didnt start the fire
No we didnt light it
But we tried to fight it

Racism in politics?

Look to those who have benefited from it; if they didn’t start the fire, they’ve sure as Hell fanned it.