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George Will Smacks Down Jimmy

George Will delivers a well-deserved smackdown to the perpetually truth-challenged Jimmy Carter in today’s Washington Post. Will leaves out one telling detail about that episode. Carter’s debate briefing book was nearly 1,000 pages long, as befits Carter’s control-freak personality (its very length, to paraphrase a Churchill quip, defended it from the risk of being useful to the Reagan campaign). Reagan’s debate briefing book, by contrast, was only 72 pages. There he went again. . .

Discussions - 13 Comments

I’ve always been grateful to Jimmy Carter, because without his failed Presidency, it would have been much harder for Reagan to have been elected. But his revisionism about why he lost the election is truly sad. I remember the double digit interest rates and soaring inflation of the late 70s. Think that might have had a little more to do with the outcome than a debate briefing book. And why did he need 1000 pages when he had Amy to advise him on what to say?

If he can’t reach closure with Will, he has no chance of making amends with the killer bunny.

Convince me that Carter was not a committed advocate of demolishing the United States. He gave away as much as he could.

Self-haters give with both hands, particularly when they are giving something of yours. Essentially they are trying to run from human sin...they mistakenly think that social suicide makes us holy. It just makes us dead.

Morally bankrupt people hate the existence of truly decent people. The justifications, intellectualizations, and ethical excuses that support and legitimize expoitive and corrupt belief systems ring hollow in the presence of social interest and unselfish behavior. And so the corrupt tear down the just, since it is easier than rebuilding their own decayed foundations.

Catechismic locutions provide havens for the pretentious, sufficient only when unchallenged by substance.

Yea, "truly decent people" hang out with Uncle Fidel. Your definition of "decent" must be indecent, Fung.

Shall we generate a list of Republicans who "hung out" with Uncle Saddam, back when he was our buddy and beneficiary?

George Will is in no position to judge Jimmy Carter, either morally or politically. I’m not even sure Will is fit to shine Carter’s shoes.

Will has (1) accepted payment in the tens of thousands of dollars to take certain political positions in his columns, without disclosing that he received the money...(2) illegally provided a presidential candidate with a list of questions before a presidential debate...(3) commented favorably on presidential candidate Dole while his wife worked for the Dole campaign...(4) praised, on national news, Reagan’s performance in his debate with Carter without disclosing that he was a paid consultant for the Reagan campaign.

Y’all ought to pick another moral compass. George Will has an ethical history that would make Bill Clinton envious.

Information from:


Matt, I do not see why a person has to be of a certain moral character before he may judge other people. No one would require a scientist to be moral before accepting his position if it were true. For purposes of judging, the data matters, not the morality of the person judging. 2+2=4 no matter if I take drugs, kill people, blow stuff up, etc. Assuming there is some sort of moral truth with a certainty equivalent to mathematics, the moral position of the person uttering it would be irrelevant. On the other hand, if there is no moral truth, then everything is based on expediency, either personal expediency (morality) or group expediency (politics). Will could certainly judge whether Carter’s policies were expedient without having to be a moral person. I think your position is silly, and would like to see you defend it.

Well Steve, Matt doesn’t have to defend his position if he doesn’t buy your rather absurd assumption that "there is some sort of moral truth with a certainty equivalent to mathematics." Yes, you’re right that 2+2=4 and that is true whether it was declared by Jesus or Himmler, but a math equation isn’t exactly comparable to a moral judgement.

So according to you, there’s nothing hypocritical or ridiculous about Himmler saying "gendocide is evil," right? If you failed math class, you could still state that 2+2=4 and not be laughed at, but if you murdered millions of people and said "killing is a sin..." it’s just not the same.

So according to you, there’s nothing hypocritical or ridiculous about Himmler saying "gendocide is evil," right?

The question isn’t whether he’d be "hypocritical or ridiculous," but whether he’d be right. And he would be. So what’s your point?

I think my point is pretty clear. It’s hypocrisy, which is what I believe Matt was saying when he said Will wasn’t in the position to judge.


I agree with Professor Moser (a first!), and he captured what I was trying to get at in my wordy post. If there is some sort of truth then it exists regardless of the moral position of the person who speaks it. Something is just as true if a crazy person says it without understanding what he says, if a good person says it, if a bad person says it, etc. It seems that many on both sides, although I believe it is more prevelant on the left, use ad hominium attacks in order to avoid examining and deciding upon the truth or falsity of the proposition. I do not care about Will’s morals, I would like to know whether you (or Matt) think Will’s judgment about Carter’s veracity and political judgment is corret or incorrect. The truth of Will’s claim stands or falls on objective factors (combined they equal reality) regardless of Will’s personality or moral worth.

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