No, Sean, Carter Isn’t Distancing Himself from Obama

Mediaite is calling Sean Hannity to task for a misleading characterization of recent remarks from former President Jimmy Carter.  It seems Foreign Affairs recently warned that the worst-case scenario of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy was that the current president would end up looking like the thirty-ninth.  Naturally, Carter was none too thrilled about being called the gold standard for failure:

I resent Mead’s use of such phrases as “in the worst scenario, turn him [Obama] into a new Jimmy Carter,” “weakness and indecision,” and “incoherence and reversals” to describe my service.

Hannity picked up on the story, too, with the headline “Jimmy Carter Upset Pres Obama Is Being Compared To Him.” Mediaite says that Hannity misleadingly characterized Carter’s remarks as critical of Obama, rather than strictly defensive of himself:

But apparently President Obama has made such a mess that even Jimmy Carter is now distancing himself from the president!

Unfortunately, it’s hard to disagree—Carter said nothing about Obama’s job performance, and his remarks were obviously limited to defending his own record (a record that happens to be really, really bad, but I digress).  Granted, Hannity does give his viewers Carter’s closing claim that “we greatly expanded our global influence and also protected the security, strength, ideals, and integrity of the United States,” which suggests the actual context of the former president’s objection, but that’s no excuse. Does he really think Jimmy Carter of all people would recognize the flaws in a left-wing foreign policy?

Hannity’s characterization seems indicative of either carelessness (it wouldn’t be the first time…or the second) or a desire to score cheap shots against Obama. Not only does it make him look like a partisan hack, Fox News look like a right-wing propaganda house (even though it isn’t), and give the Left another arrow to aim at the rest of us, it’s also completely unnecessary. It’s not like we’re in the middle of a shortage of stories that reflect poorly on Obama—including the possibility not that he’ll become the next Jimmy Carter, but that he’s already there.


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.