Former U.S. Presidents spend a lot of time on charitable causes.  Bill Clinton worked with George H.W. Bush on Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and on Tsunami relief in Indonesia.  Clinton and George W. Bush worked together on Haitian Earthquake relief.  The Bushes and Clintons have championed untold numbers of charitable causes.  Jimmy Carter is sort of the odd man out.  Of course, Jimmy Carter has become known for his efforts with Habitat for Humanity, so he’s not completely without a sense of civic duty, but it’s his non-charitable work that seems to grab the most attention.

Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn are headed Monday to Havana, Cuba at the behest of the Cuban government.  Back in 2002, Carter traveled to Cuba, becoming the first former president to travel to Cuba since 1928.  In a speech broadcast on Cuba radio and television, Carter openly castigated his own country for the economic embargo, in place at that time for 43 years.  In fact Carter’s obsession with Cuba dates back to 1977 when one of his first acts as president was to relax many of the travel and trade restrictions with Cuba,

Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush have both been invited to Cuba, but both declined.  Could it be because of the horrible state of affairs in Cuba?  Did Bill and George feel that a trip to Cuba might seem like a form of tacit approval for Castro’s jailing of more than a thousand dissidents?  Or perhaps it was the economic torture the Castro brothers have employed against their countrymen for a half-century that left a bad taste in their mouth?  But not Jimmy.  He has no problem standing beside the Cuban leaders for a photo op.

Carter’s trip will last through Wednesday, where he and Rosalynn will meet with high-level officials of the communist regime, including President Raul Castro,  “to learn about new economic policies and the upcoming Party Congress, and to discuss ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations,” according to the Carter Center.

Jimmy Carter has been a lose cannon on deck since he departed the White House.  He’s traveled all over the world bad-mouthing the U.S., openly criticizing any Republican administration, something never done by an ex-president.  But then again, Jimmy Carter is a unique kind of animal.  History has not been kind to Mr. Carter.  When he left office, he was extremely unpopular, however at the time many left-wing pundits exclaimed that Carter’s administration would be seen in a much more favorable light 20 years down the road.  Unfortunately, for Jimmy, this hasn’t been the case.  Carter has locked up the title of a failed presidency.

Carter’s one notable accomplishment, the Camp David Accords signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, was supposed to be the first step towards a new relationship between Israel and the Arab world.  History tells us that it wasn’t only the first step, it was the last step.  And, truth be told, Sadat had no choice as Israel had trounced Egypt in every military engagement going back to the 1950’s.  Ultimately, the pact with Israel cost Sadat his life.

Those who remember the Carter administration remember the collapse of the U.S. military, long lines for gasoline and an economy Carter labeled as in “malaise.”  Reagan’s question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” was roundly answered no.  Carter was beaten by Reagan in one of the most one-sided elections in American history; so Jimmy’s scars are deep.  He feels slighted by the American public and regularly shows a disdain for his country.  Now he will kowtow once again to the Castro brothers and likely demonstrate his contempt for the country he once lead.

Jimmy, could you do one positive thing while in Cuba, and bring me back some fine Cuban cigars?”

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