What's the buzz on ... Bush and Carter?
Each week, CNN.com takes a look at trends in the blogosphere by tracking one topic across gender and generation with the help of analysis tools from Umbria Inc. This week, we focus on the controversial exchange between President Bush and former President Jimmy Carter. Carter called Bush's administration the "worst in history" during a May 19 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper. The White House responded by calling Carter "irrelevant," The Associated Press reported, after which Carter said his own comments were "careless or misinterpreted." Carter also said he was comparing the current Bush administration to the Nixon administration. Here's a look at what bloggers are saying.
Overall opinion (May 16-22, 2007)
So what does this mean?
Overall, opinions on this issue were strongly split according to political views, with significant majorities of conservative bloggers supporting Bush and a similarly large percentage of liberal bloggers taking Carter's side.
Those with negative sentiment were said to take an anti-Carter, pro-Bush stance, disagreeing with Carter or believing that he was a worse president than Bush. Those with less-rosy views of Carter tended to disagree with his statements, with some saying that high gas prices, high unemployment rates, inflation and budget deficits during his term made Carter a worse president than Bush. Carter made a major faux pas when he badmouthed Bush, the pro-Bush bloggers said. Carter blew his chance to be president, and Bush was right in calling Carter "irrelevant," some indicated.
Those with positive feelings about Carter agreed with his statement that Bush is the worst in history, and said that Carter has proved to be a humanitarian rather than an "irrelevant" former politician. They also said Carter should not have retracted his statement by trying to say he was comparing Bush to Nixon, and they wanted to see Democrats take a more outspoken approach to expressing outrage at the Bush administration. Carter never "made war," some bloggers said.
In their own words
Andre on Georgia Politics Unfiltered
The Bush Administration has almost single-handedly ruined the reputation of the United States around the world, and they call a Nobel Peace Prize winner "irrelevant" because he has the guts to tell the truth. In 2003, prior to the war in Iraq, most of the world protested the Bush Administration's decision to send American soldiers into that country. … Never in my life have I seen, heard, or read about people worldwide protesting the actions of a foreign leader, but they protested George W. Bush … and the Bush Administration says that Jimmy Carter is irrelevant.
Ron on America's Victory '08
Carter has been on a quest for a legacy since the end of his ignominious one term presidency in 1981. Carter succeeded in collecting a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, but that apparently isn't enough for the former President. Carter has shown an unprecedented willingness to go beyond simple criticism of President Bush by fully demonizing him.
Steve Bates in a comment thread on Fallenmonk
Carter may well be the best human being ever to have been president ... not necessarily the best president (he had his share of problems), but the best person. … What he has done since he completed his presidency would do credit to anyone who never even thought of entering politics.
Vincent on The Next Frontier
While I see no need to get into serious analysis (I'm sure everyone and their mom on the blogosphere has done it for me), I just felt the need to point out that the Bush Administration, by calling Carter increasingly irrelevant via a public statement, is making Carter increasingly relevant. Carter's comments would probably have made headlines anyway, given his stature as a former President, but the statement basically intensified the "feud." Maybe some folks feel better after this statement got out. But in terms of media play, it was not a good move.