Jimmy Carter on the Diane Rehm Show

Had to go pick up my kiddo from school and caught part of President Carter’s interview on The Diane Rehm Show, which is ongoing. (Yes, I’m a totebagger.) Here’s the intro to the show on Rehm’s site:

President Jimmy Carter, our 39th president, has set a high bar for post-presidential accomplishments: He’s written more than 24 books, been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and continues to work to solve problems around the world. In recent years, he says he’s “become convinced that the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls.” It’s a problem that he says is connected to the misinterpretation of selected religious texts and a general acceptance of violence and warfare. Join Diane for a conversation with President Jimmy Carter on his call to action for women and girls.

What a wonderful human being. You can hear the show live here.

80 replies
  1. 1
    psycholinguist says:

    And from a man raised as a southern baptist in Georgia. Gives me hope for humanity.

  2. 2
    Felinious Wench says:

    @psycholinguist: Exactly. And he’s absolutely correct.

  3. 3
    GregB says:

    Conservative Fight Club Rule # 1) Scream foul at any references to the past performance of Republican President George W. Bush as something that happened too long ago to discuss.

    CFCR # 2) Bring up the Jimmy Carter Presidency during every debate.

  4. 4
    Steeplejack says:

    Carter had an extended interview with Colbert last night, showing again at 7:00 p.m. EDT tonight.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:


    Scream foul at any references to the past performance of Republican President George W. Bush…

    Foul screaming is what they do (for example, they have completely lost their shit on the ACA, basically the Republican plan for healthcare, promoted initially by the Heritage Foundation and adopted as the initial foundation for a Mitt Romney campaign for presidency until he scrubbed his book).

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    is connected to the misinterpretation of selected religious texts

    There is a lot of that going around. See Falwell, Jerry, and Robertson, Pat, for a couple of examples.

  7. 7
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Steeplejack: I’ll have to watch that. Missed it last night.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    Carter was closer to being a “family values president,” a “Christian values president” or whatever than any of the phony howler monkeys like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell or the presidents they supported.

    Of course, it was never about the Christianity for these people. It was all about the tribalism.

  9. 9
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    Friends don’t let friends listen to Diane Rehm, Betty. If you want a heapin’ helping of Jimmy, this is preferred:


  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    @Chris: I think it’s more about feudalism, or lack thereof.

  11. 11
    mai naem says:

    The shame is the way Clinton, Obama and the other Dem POTUS contenders have treated Carter. I will guarantee you Dubbya will not be treated like this by the GOP even twenty years from now. Carter was right on energy but OMG he’s a DFH for being right about this 40 years ago. He’s the only current ex-president who hasn’t become some kind of corporate/hedge fund/defense industry whore. Also too, is there even an ex-veep who flies commercial, forget an ex-POTUS?

  12. 12

    History’s greatest monster!

  13. 13


    And money. Don’t forget the money,

  14. 14
    Jeremy says:

    @The Dangerman: Actually the ACA was based on Richard Nixon’s health care proposal which contained an employer mandate from the 70’s. An economist who worked with at the Heritage Foundation came up with the Individual mandate during the late 80’s. Basically they borrowed ideas from Nixon and the ACA does the same. But like you said it was a republican idea.

  15. 15
    Gene108 says:

    @The Dangerman:

    You do realize by promoting the idea the PPACA was (is) a Republican idea will make it easier for Republicans to take credit for the law, if the PPACA becomes popular?

    I have already heard a trial balloon about the plan having Republican underpinnings, by talking heads mentioning the Grassley Amendment, for example.

    If you think Republicans are insufferable now just wait till they run as the brains behind the PPACA.

    Anyway, I wonder who fills in teaching his Sunday school class, when President Carter is off saving the world?

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    FSM willing, President Obama, like President Carter, will leave office a relatively young man in excellent health. I very much hope he will follow the Carter model for his post-presidential years — doing good on a massive scale and speaking out on the issues of the day when it’s important. I think he will.

  17. 17
    RaflW says:

    I watched part of the interview with Pres. Carter on Letterman the other night (I was trapped in an airplane seat that at least had live TV, so I watched).

    Letterman was pretty shocked by how frank and graphic (in a non-beeped way) the president was about genital mutilation. I give huge props to Mr Carter for his willingness to tell it like it is, in all its horror, and to Letterman for having him on and taking it seriously. Dave was squirming, as would anyone, really. Except the men who’s cultures still propagate such awful cutting.

  18. 18
    JaneE says:

    Carter may not have been the best president in my lifetime, but he is certainly the best person who has been president. Maybe a genuinely good person is not what the presidency requires, but it should. I expect that his presidency will look better to future historians than it does now, if only because of the disasters that followed him. I think carrying out his energy policy might have eliminated the need for both gulf wars, and left the planet in a lot better shape. Not that there was any need for the second gulf war at all anyway. He is actually a Christian who walks the walk, instead of talking about how full of “values” he is.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:


    If you think Republicans are insufferable now just wait till they run as the brains behind the PPACA.

    Meh. Only one of them ever voted for it (one-term Congressman Cao of Louisiana) and the House has voted 50(?) times to repeal it.

    They won’t get traction with that. The PPACA was a poor compromise, what could get through a whack job Congress.

    Nail ’em to the wall if they try to take credit.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @Betty Cracker: It certainly seems like Democratic presidents are active in doing good things once they leave office. Reagan disappeared into the fog of Alzheimers. What did Bush I do? Certainly Bush 2 hasn’t done much of anything.

  21. 21
    RSA says:

    What a wonderful human being.

    There he goes again.

  22. 22
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Agreed, Betty. I hope both JC and PBO get many, many happy and productive years out of office. (ETA: And Bill Clinton too.)

  23. 23
    Gene108 says:

    @mai naem:


    President Clinton sent him to North Korea, in 1994, as a special envoy to descilate tensions, when the DPRK fired up its nuclear reactor and threatened to build a bomb.

    Carter hashed out a solution on Clinton’s behalf.

    How is that showing disrespect to President Carter?

    Clinton trusted him to prevent another shooting war in Korea.

    I do not think Bush,Jr will ever be tasked to handle something like that by any future Republican administration.

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    @mai naem: What. Are. You. Talking. About. How has Jimmy Carter been mistreated by those you mentioned?

  25. 25
    Jeremy says:

    @mai naem: Maybe it has to due with the fact that Carter doesn’t know when to pick the best moment to say or do something especially on foreign policy matters. I like Jimmy Carter and I agree with him most of the time, but he has undermined the message of democratic president’s like Clinton and Obama on foreign policy issues.

    But I will say that he is still respected by Clinton and Obama so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:


    Bush I did a lot of fundraising/publicizing disaster relief after the Christmas week Tsunami in Thailand and Indonesia a few years ago.

    He partnered with Bill Clinton on that.

    I think in his dark nights, Bush I also understands and regrets what an unmitigated disaster Bush II was.

  27. 27
    Glocksman says:

    I was 10 years old when Carter took the oath of office, so my memories of that time consist mainly of rising gas prices, inflation, Iran, the Soviets invading A-stan, and the Camp David accords, along with Brother Billy and Billy Beer.

    Looking back, the criticism I’ve heard that seems legit is that he never did learn how to ‘work’ Congress.

    He’s not my top ranked President, but he’s far above some of his successors.
    He could also give lessons on how not to prostitute yourself once you leave office.

    I do remember a lot of people calling him ‘stupid’.
    Keep in mind that he was an officer in Rickover’s ‘Nuclear Navy’ and one didn’t successfully serve under Hyman Rickover if you were stupid or mentally deficient in any way.

    I’d sum him up with the phrase ‘A Good Man’.

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’ve been to the church (Maranatha Baptist). It’s not so much a separate Sunday School class as it is a part of the regular Sunday worship service. I think the regular pastor takes the lesson when President Carter is away from Plains.

    (And I just want to brag a little bit: when I was there, it was the morning after an event I had organized at the Carter Boyhood Home — the launch of a book about the close ties between Canada and the Carters. The President gave really nice, warm remarks, totally off the cuff; later in the day, the Carters came to a reception we hosted in downtown Plains, and no, whatever you may think, they are not teetotallers! Anyhow, the brag is that at church the next morning, I was one of a tiny handful of people invited to sit in the Carters’ pew, and I actually sat next to Mrs. C. throughout the service. This atheist will always treasure the memory of that Baptist Church service!)

  29. 29
    Jeremy says:

    @Elizabelle: Yeah it might have worked if they didn’t call it Obamacare, and wasted so many years trying to repeal it, and demonize it. Like Social Security and Medicare before it, I guarantee that the ACA will not be the same 30-40 years from now.

  30. 30
    The Dangerman says:


    …will make it easier for Republicans to take credit for the law, if the PPACA becomes popular?

    That’ll be a good trick (see Medicare).

  31. 31
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: correction: do.

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I think so too. But first, he has to write his Presidential memoirs.

  33. 33
    Goblue72 says:

    He’s just the white Barack Obama.

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Elizabelle: Yup. He’s a mediocrity, and even without his awful son, he let a whole bunch of demons out of the box, but he’s bright enough to see what a disaster his son was in office. Bush 1 and 2 always reminded me of an old political cartoon from the late thirties: Mussonlini as the circus monkey (or Bush/Quayle) who let the tiger (Bush/Cheney/neocon/teabaggery) out of its cage.

  35. 35
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: I should clarify that I don’t believe that Carter has undermined Clinton and Obama on everything, but there have been one or two times where he has made statements that have undermined the administration.

  36. 36
    Comrade Carter says:

    I believe in President Carter, and he has become my namesake… I AM Comrade Carter. He’s one of the good ones, and I say this as an atheist.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Letterman was pretty shocked by how frank and graphic (in a non-beeped way) the president was about genital mutilation. I give huge props to Mr Carter for his willingness to tell it like it is, in all its horror, and to Letterman for having him on and taking it seriously.

    I wonder whether part of the reason President Carter is able to be so frank and graphic is that he grew up on a farm. Farm kids tend to be pretty matter-of-fact and non-squeamish about genitalia.

  38. 38
    Gene108 says:


    Republicans take credit for the balanced budgets of the 1990’s, because they happened to control the House.

    Every Republican voted against the 1993 tax and budget bill that set the framework for balancing the budget.

    I am surprised by what people will believe, if it fits their world view, such as Clonton could not have left office with balanced budgets without Gingrich controlling the purse strings (as all spending bills originate in the House).

    If it gets repeated often enough people will more than happily believe Republicans were the brains behind the PPACA.

    Also, we need to accept the fact Democrats have made universal healthcare a core part of the Party platform. Whether the finished product relies too much on the private sector for the sake of single-payer advocates does not erase the fact President Clinton and Obama have tried to move us towards universal healthcare.

  39. 39
    Gene108 says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Did you miss the ads in 2010, where Republicans “slammed” the Obama administration for cutting $500 miliion from Medicare?

    The message was simple, vote Republican to save your Medicare and it did have an impact on the election.

  40. 40
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jeremy: Carter had mostly high praise for Obama on the portions of the show I caught — said he and his entire family voted for Obama twice. Where Carter disagreed with Obama Admin policies (that I heard), he was right, i.e., he thought it would make more sense to simply expand Medicare than to build the Rube Goldberg contraption that is the ACA, but I suspect Obama himself believes that too; he just knew the better plan was a political impossibility.

  41. 41
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: Sorry :due. I’m really tired today so my writing sucks.

  42. 42
    Gene108 says:


    Awesome that you got to meet a President!

  43. 43
    Jeremy says:

    @Betty Cracker: I agree with that. I can recall even the president saying that it would be easier to expand medicare but like you said it was politically impossible because of conservative democrats in the Senate.

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:

    Noon to 1:00 p Eastern as in NOW:

    Live interview with Jimmy Carter at the Washington Post.

    Discussing his new book and anything else.

    WARNING: Sally Quinn is involved. Brace yourself, Villago my friend.

  45. 45
    Elizabelle says:

    The WaPost link is not working for me. Who knows …

  46. 46
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: Wow, Mr. Carter sure is making the rounds! I wish I could listen to that one, if only to hear Carter’s reaction to what will surely be an astoundingly stupid question / comment by Quinn at some point during the interview. He is a true Southern gentleman in the best sense of the phrase, so Quinn won’t even feel the shiv…

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    History’s greatest monster!

    I know you’re kidding, and he’s done good things, but there really are, or were, other sides to the man. For example, someone mentioned one yesterday:

    Governor Jimmy Carter was a big public supporter of Calley, and instituted “American Fighting Man’s Day” in his honor. Probably the one true black mark on JC’s public service career.

    He was not precisely a “big public supporter” of Calley — I think he was, and remains, smarter than that. He never said Calley’s actions were laudable. I don’t recall him advocating a pardon. He did say that Calley was being made a scapegoat for larger evils that people above him committed or were committing. “American Fighting Man’s Day” came in response to Calley’s conviction and sentencing. The governor explained it not as honoring Calley but as a way to lift the morale of soldiers. What complicates all this is that he was doing it as a newly elected public official; one could (I would) criticize it as demagoguery.

    He was certainly a demagogue on the subject of school integration and school busing — his position was not so much better than George Wallace’s and was rejected by other Democratic governors. When the Good People of Georgia yowled about busing, he supported them. When buses were stoned in Boston (yes, that and worse happened), he scolded us — while, of course, opposing the busing in the first place.

    In fact, his campaign for governor in ’70 was atrocious. Virtually no one remembers this, but in the Democratic primary (which is where all the action was in those days), he race-baited Carl Sanders something awful. He was not personally a segregationist — I know this to be true — and yet Lester Maddox and George Wallace were his constant companions on the campaign trail, in body or in spirit.

    Then there was the ’72 election season, when he clashed with national Democrats about how to handle Wallace, and harassed Hubert Humphrey on the subject of busing, again making points for himself.

    People are complicated, and they change over time. As one is forgiven, so does one learn to forgive.

    For what it’s worth, a few of my many positive thoughts on Jimmy Carter are here.

  48. 48
    Cervantes says:


    Actually the ACA was based on Richard Nixon’s health care proposal which contained an employer mandate from the 70′s. An economist who worked with at the Heritage Foundation came up with the Individual mandate during the late 80′s. Basically they borrowed ideas from Nixon and the ACA does the same. But like you said it was a republican idea.


    But the entire notion of comprehensive federal health insurance has been a Democratic ideal for a long time. Jimmy Carter supported it in the ’76 campaign, for example, and no one called him a socialist for it! Did he make any actual progress on the issue?

    After twelve horrible years of Reagan-Bush, the Clintons personally and forcefully tried to advance the idea. Did they succeed? In some small ways, yes.

    And then Barack Obama tried, and is trying, with more success on the issue than we’ve seen in decades.

    So yes, it was a Republican idea — but what have the Republicans done to advance it?

  49. 49
    Paul in KY says:

    @mai naem: I think it was more about Pres. Carter losing as an incumbent. Dubya & his band of flying stupidmonkeys never put any stock into what GHWB opined either.

    Pres. Carter had a tough ;last year in office, with the Iran Hostage thing & his opponents messing with the negotiations, etc. & an avuncular candidate to run against.

    Hard to match Ronnie Raygun’s optimism when you have such intense days every day as CinC.

  50. 50
    AxelFoley says:

    @mai naem:

    Please tell us how Obama has treated Carter.

  51. 51
    Paul in KY says:

    @RaflW: Hard to imagine that the women in those cultures weren’t able to nip that in the bud many, many years ago & now alot of them are advocates.


  52. 52
    Paul in KY says:

    @Elizabelle: It will be quite a task for the Republican message machine to fool people into thinking they came up & were instrumental in PPACA.

    There are limits to marketing…

  53. 53
    Paul in KY says:

    @Glocksman: Pres. Carter is one odf the smartest men to have ever been president. Good point about serving under Admiral Rickover.

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @Gene108: Not only to North Korea: Haiti, for example.

  55. 55
    muddy says:

    @Paul in KY: I’m actually more surprised that fundy Christians don’t do it in this country.

    How is the subjugation of women ever surprising?

  56. 56
    Cervantes says:


    How is the subjugation of women ever surprising?

    Once you’re a woman, it’s not.

    But when you’re a little girl, and you discover it, then it can be shocking.

  57. 57
    LanceThruster says:

    James Earl is one hoopy frood.

    I’m jealous of the alternate universe that skipped the Raygun years.

  58. 58
    ron says:

    its not a “misinterpretation” of religious texts. its the religious texts themselves. but thats what you get when you continue to pander to and make excuses for books written by ignorant, racist, sexist dudes in charge of maintaining patriarchal societies from 1000s of years ago.

  59. 59
    LanceThruster says:



  60. 60
    Mandalay says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    Friends don’t let friends listen to Diane Rehm

    What on earth do you have against Diane Rehm?

  61. 61
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ron: I can’t really disagree with you, but Carter made a good case for why the interpretations people rely on to continue to oppress women today are arbitrary since there are other passages that directly contradict the verses in question.

    Two things are true for me: 1) If all Christians followed the teachings of Jesus as interpreted by Jimmy Carter, the world would be a better place. 2) The books that underpin the Abrahamic religions were, as you pointed out, “written by ignorant, racist, sexist dudes in charge of maintaining patriarchal societies.”

  62. 62
    LanceThruster says:


    Me 3

  63. 63
    Emily68 says:

    @mai naem: Also too, is there even an ex-veep who flies commercial, forget an ex-POTUS

    Eleanor Roosevelt was neither president nor vice-president, but she seemed to be pretty low-key when it came to travel after her White House years.

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @muddy: Surprising (to me) that the women (hundreds of years ago) let them get away with it & that many came to (at least publically) embrace it.

  65. 65
    muddy says:

    @Paul in KY: But everything is like that.

    Why do poor Southern whites vote Republican?

  66. 66
    Paul in KY says:

    @muddy: Guess I thought the female gender was smarter/sneakier than us dumbass males :-)

    They are, but not in that lamentable situation.

  67. 67
    muddy says:

    @Paul in KY: Nice of you to say so, but I think it’s just a human condition.

    The overseers are everywhere, waiting to oppress people!

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Surprising (to me) that the women (hundreds of years ago) let them get away with it & that many came to (at least publically) embrace it.

    It’s a lot easier to subjugate people who aren’t allowed to own property in their own names, as was the case for the vast majority of women until about 100 years ago (if that).

    Only 40 years ago, married women weren’t allowed to have credit cards in their own names — all credit was owned by the husband and in his name. Think about that for a minute when you wonder why women “let” themselves be subjugated.

  69. 69
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Carter may not have been the best president in my lifetime,

    If the Army had had more reliable helicopters, Carter likely have got a second term and been remembered very differently, I think.

  70. 70
    Archon says:

    Jimmy Carter resorted to the moral answer to the Iran Hostage crisis, try to negotiate a fair deal with the mullahs for the hostages release, even the eventual rescue attempt was half-hearted. The Presidential answer was to secretly trade weapons for their release as Reagan did or basically give then an ultimatum which would mean lighting up Iran, hostages be damned if they didn’t free the hostages.

    Christian morality and ethics is not a trait rewarded by the American people when your President. If anything that’s probably the takeaway Obama got from the Carter era. Light up our perceived enemies first ask questions later and don’t lose sleep over collateral damage because Americans sure aren’t going to.

  71. 71
    Cervantes says:

    @Archon: Nicely put.

  72. 72
    LanceThruster says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    (true story though unverifiable on the nets). My friend’s brother was with the helicopter squadron that provided the aircraft. There was a practical joke where they filled the whole thing with foam. Part of the breakdown was sand and other failures that could have been gunk in the wiring. We surmised the ‘prank’ may have been on purpose to sabotage the mission by a ‘new’ guy who came up with the great idea for the other party’s going away.

    At least that was the way it was told to me by someone connected first hand to the group. I still have the flight suit and copter pilots helmet he gave me.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    LT says:

    Carter was wrong when he said this:

    On Mr. Snowden, Mr. Carter at first said he would not pardon him, “because you can’t pardon someone who hasn’t been tried and convicted.

    Just flat out wrong. Caspar Weinberg one example. Disappointing to see a president say it, on NPR, and NYT repeat it – blerg.

  75. 75
    mclaren says:

    Incidentally, JImmy Carter’s foundation has just about single-handedly wiped out the disease River Blindness. I mean wiped out, as in “eliminated worldwide.”

    When Carter started about 30 years ago, six million peasants were going blind from the filariasis parasite worldwide. Last year that number was down to around six thousand.

    The last known reservoir of these disease parasites in the Caribbean is getting eliminated by Carter’s foundation as we speak.

    Seriously, people — does it get any better than that? Can you name any ex-president who has accomplished something that impressive?

  76. 76
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: Back in the tribal societies that thought up this abomination, I would have hoped that some influential women would have nipped it in the bud. Obviously that didn’t happen. It’s a shame, but understandable. Murders would have had to be committed (probably) to stop it.

  77. 77
    Paul in KY says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger: They were Navy helicopters.

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @LT: I think Pres. Carter meant that a true pardon & not some BS ‘any crimes they may or may not have committed’ pre-emptive one, must wait until the court system has had theur say.

    I know the BS one works the same as the more normal pardon, but only crooks give out the first kind (IMO).

  79. 79
    LT says:

    @Paul in KY: I’m simply correcting a factual wrong, and one that should not be made.

  80. 80
    Paul in KY says:

    @LT: Understand.

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