Jimmy Carter Doesn’t Own a Seaside Mansion

On this President's Day, a tribute to the former president in the wake of the announcement he has entered hospice care.

By Al Perrotta Published on February 20, 2023

“Jimmy Carter doesn’t own a seaside mansion.”

That was my first thought Saturday upon hearing the former president is in his final days. At 98-years old, Carter is our oldest living president … ever. But after several recent hospital trips, the former president has decided to receive hospice care instead of additional medical treatment, the Carter Center announced Saturday.

No, Jimmy Carter doesn’t own a massive spread in Martha’s Vineyard. He didn’t pocket half-a-million bucks for one-hour speeches in Moscow at Putin’s bank. His daughter didn’t score multi-million paydays from corrupt foreign countries hoping to curry favor. His foundation isn’t a slush fund. 

Jimmy Carter has not tried in any way to parlay the presidency into a personal fortune or celebrity cult. Try to pay him for a speech over the years, and the money simply went to his Carter Center. No, Jimmy Carter has spent the past 42 years since leaving the presidency quietly serving people.

Be it “waging peace, fighting disease, building hope” via his Carter Center, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, or continuing to teach Sunday school at his Baptist church.

Carter Wasn’t Part of the Swamp

No doubt Carter’s presidency was fraught with failures. No doubt the upgrade to Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office was of great benefit to the nation and the world. But Jimmy Carter served with honor and character, which in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam, Nixon and Johnson, is no small thing. And he worked hard. That hard work paid off with the Middle East Peace Accords. A huge thing.

Yet after being defeated for re-election in 1980, Carter was shoved aside by the Democratic Party, by the media. Treated like a pariah. For years I figured this was because his presidency was seen as a dud. An embarrassment.

But I’ve come to realize it was because Jimmy Carter was never part of “The Club.” He was never one of “Them.” Though he’d been Georgia’s governor, he was a political outsider when he came to Washington. Even to a greater degree than Donald Trump, who had been flattered and asked for support by countless Washington politicians, and was beloved by the media until he put an R after his name.

Carter earned the nomination in 1976 — and presidency — because he wasn’t part of the putrid system. He was not part of the power establishment. He was not a player. He was not a Kennedy. He was the peanut farmer from Plains.

And when his term ended, he was not invited to stay in the game. Exiled by the elite. Even when former presidents gathered for this occasion or that, he seemed the odd man out, the one off to the side … if invited at all. How often have you seen Bush, Clinton and then Obama together for some function or cause? With Carter nowhere to be found … .

You never saw George W. Bush laughing and dancing with Rosalyn Carter the way he does with Michelle Obama. You didn’t see Carter paired with another former president for high-profile missions on behalf of the nation. You didn’t see Carter yucking it up on late night or paling around with rock stars or landing splashy production deals with Netflix. It took a long while before you’d even see him at the DNC convention.

The phrase “Jimmy Carter honored at the White House” nets zero results on Google.

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Jimmy Carter was the Former President of the United States. His politics aligned perfectly with the ruling Left. Yet he has been treated like a bit character actor whose show was cancelled after four tepid seasons.

President Carter was not one of “Them” when he arrived. He was not one of “Them” when he served. He’s still not one of “Them” today.

More and more, as honest and integrity and accountability in Washington become a distant memory, we can say, “Good for you, Jimmy! Good for you for staying true.” Perhaps staying true to himself, true to his roots, true to his faith, will be one of Carter’s greatest achievements.

Our Greatest Former President

The sun is about to set on Jimmy Carter’s long, long life. The Secret Service paid tribute, tweeting, “Rest easy, Mr. President. We will be forever by your side.” Perhaps as he enters his last days, the nation will finally join Jimmy Carter by his side as well.

You heard a lot about how Jimmy Carter was (until the current occupant) the “worst president in history.” But when taken in full, his decades of hands-on service done in quiet honest dignity is an example for future presidents and politicians.

We can safely say Jimmy Carter is America’s greatest former president ever.

We can safely say he will soon hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Rest easy on this President’s Day, Mr. President. 


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTRGabParler, and now at TRUTH Social.

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