Jimmy Carter: Old News and New

Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the former President Jimmy Carter’s defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan. On the one hand, it is hard to believe it has been that long. On the other, I’m old enough to remember only the tail end of the Reagan years. If you look at the timeline, Reagan’s election now stands closer to JFK’s election than to the present day. Time flies.

But former President Carter is still making headlines. At a recent breakfast in Washington, D.C., Carter in not-so-many-words came out as pro-life on abortion. Carter said, “I never have felt that any abortion should be committed — I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors,” and “I’ve never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion.” He also criticized his fellow Democrats for being too rigid in their support of abortion rights, because taking the hard line alienates moderates and the religious from the party. “I have always thought it was not in the mainstream of the American public to be extremely liberal on many issues,” Carter said. “I think our party’s leaders — some of them — are overemphasizing the abortion issue.”

I’ve long believed that the GOP is more tolerant of its pro-choice members (Giuliani, Rice, Schwarzenegger, Powell, etc.) than the Democrats are of their pro-life members. That may be just because most New Jersey Republicans ARE pro-choice. We’ll see if the Democratic party leadership has any response to one of its elder statesmen calling out the party on the abortion issue.

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