Jimmy Carter is a good man. And I think he's a decent man. But what worries me is that I think Jimmy Carter really thinks he's a good man and a decent man.
And that's the problem.
People who find themselves to be saintly have a habit of saying very un-saintly things about others.
Carter's comments the other evening in New York, where he criticized President Bush's faith, were the topper for me.
"We worship the 'Prince of Peace,'" Carter told a council of foreign relations audience, "not of pre-emptive war."
It was a rude and unnecessary swipe, coming only a few weeks after he similarly blasted the president by mentioning the wiretapping of Martin Luther King at Coretta Scott King's funeral.
I found it odd that President Carter failed to mention that two Democratic presidents wiretapped Dr. King or that truly holy men don't compare their holiness to others.
The way I see it, if you're really all that, you don't have to go on blathering that a lot of other folks aren't even close to all that.
Good men don't brag about how good they are by reminding the rest of us how bad we are — especially good former presidents.
I think there should an unwritten code among this select group "not" to speak ill of each other.
All I know is that JFK could have blamed Dwight Eisenhower for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But he didn't.
And Eisenhower himself could have fingered Harry Truman for the Korea mess, but he wouldn't.
Men of stature generally don't act like they have none. Men of God shouldn't pretend they ever did.
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