Contrary to what his detractors say, Jimmy Carter was one of the most successful
Presidents in history.
Camp David Accords: a so-far lasting peace between Israel and Egypt, successful ME initiative
Energy: Plagued by the gas guzzling habits of the American people and a harsh OPEC policy, under the Carter administration, the government got serious about alternative fuels for the first time. The discussion and movement was quickly curtailed by the corporate-loving Reagan administration that brings us to the place we are in now with energy. But much of the foundation for the science and initiative for alternative fuels and clean fuels was established under Jimmy Carter. Had we had the sense to listen to him, we might be in a much better energy and foreign policy place right now.
Panama Canal: Vilified by the RW for doing the right thing, it is notable that none of the dastardly outcomes predicted by his detractors have even remotely appeared all these years AND Panama is beginning a venture to widen the canal, bringing investment, jobs, and additional benefits to the US and the rest of the world.
Hostage situation: Although Carter embarked on a secret but failed attempt to rescue US hostages, his coolness under this pressure from US military to do more kept the US out of a major conflict with Iran and quite probably a major mess and loss of lives like that now occurring in Iraq.
Taxes: The reform so touted by the RW Reagan lovers, actually was started under the Carter administration.
Human and civil rights: Also vilified for linking human rights issues to our foreign policy initiatives and trade policies, Carter led the way in the arena of human rights across the world. He was criticized by candidate Reagan for "meddling" in the affairs of other nations but when in office Reagan used the human rights issue against the USSR and China as though it were his own initiative. Carter's efforts in this area laid the foundation for the very human rights platforms and international laws that are so important to our foreign policy today.
Integrity: Carter actually brought to the office of the Presidency that which his successors only gave lip service to. He is a true Christian in every sense of the word. He did not use his office for personal gain or acclaim or political advantage. He has set the standard for what public servants can and ought to do in and out of office.
I, for one, am grateful for his presence. And to those (like Pat Buchanan) who would label Carter as a "failed President" think again. Better yet, define "failed."
The term "malaise factor" comes to mind...