Bestselling author and TV commentator Jonathan Alter admitted to Newsmax TV on Tuesday that former President Jimmy Carter was a "political failure" and is probably more fondly remembered for his post presidential years than his time in office.
Alter, a former columnist and senior editor for Newsweek, is the author of three presidential biographies of Democrats, including Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama. His most recent, published Sept. 29, reviews the life of Jimmy Carter: "His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life."
"He was a political failure," Alter told "American Agenda," without referring to some of the notable issues of Carter's presidency, such as 52 Americans diplomats who were held hostage in Iran for more than a year, the 1979 oil shock, the energy crisis, and stagflation.
"I make an argument that he was a substantive success, in that much legislation went through in his four years. And, actually, just as a matter of record in terms of major pieces of legislation passed, quite a number went through, many more than say under President [Donald] Trump and some other American presidents.
"So, this is a myth that Carter didn't accomplish anything as president," Alter added, without specifying anything in particular. "But obviously he's not in the first rank of presidents, by any means."
While referring to Carter's electoral landslide loss to Ronald Reagan, Alter did not mention Carter’s 1979 Oval Office address, often referred to as the "malaise" speech, in which he spoke of a "crisis of confidence" Americans faced.
"His post presidency is what people tend to recognize him for," Alter said. "He's nearly eradicated Guinea worm disease, he's done a good job monitoring elections all over the world, and he's made peace ... the same way he did between Israel and Egypt when he was president, at Camp David."
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