NY Times Book Review: Voters Could 'Expunge Sins' by Voting for 'The Passion of Jimmy Carter'

Jimmy Carter is not a saint. If you doubt that, read Steven Hayward’s The Real Jimmy Carter. But The New York Times never noticed that book. Last Sunday, they boosted Randall Balmer’s Carter book Redeemer, which pitches Carter metaphorically as...Christ-like.

It’s bad enough that Balmer uses his book to claim nastily that the Religious Right was organized by the late Paul Weyrich around segregationism. Reviewer Molly Worthen began by claiming “Jimmy Carter may be the most pious man ever to have occupied the White House. He was ‘born again’ at age 11 and has taught Sunday school for decades.”

“Casting a ballot for Carter, the redeemer president, would expunge the voters’ sins and absolve them of complicity” in electing Richard Nixon, the historian Randall Balmer writes in Redeemer....

Balmer sets himself a clear task: to examine how faith influenced the career of a man who has said that “the single most important factor in my own life is Jesus Christ,” and to explain why an evangelical president fell so out of step with voters that a divorced Hollywood actor handily defeated him four years later.

So Carter is “pious,” and Reagan is “divorced” and so “Hollywood.” Can't The New York Times and its favored book reviewers consider that Carter was being elected by the "acid, amnesty, and abortion" crowd on the Left? But in Liberal Land, it must be announced that Carter is consumed by “frenetic benevolence” in his good works, almost a scold to Martin Luther:

Carter still teaches Sunday school in Plains. Balmer interviewed him there, and found that “the former president, pushing 90 years old, was still a restless man, consumed by a kind of frenetic benevolence.” He wonders whether Carter suffers from a kind of works righteousness, the same desire to earn grace by good deeds that outraged Martin Luther.


Yet “A Call to Action” does not reveal a man obsessed with the need to redeem himself. Simply, he cannot lounge about in retirement while child brides are raped and mothers break their backs hauling buckets of polluted drinking water. In high office, this kind of fellow-feeling may have been a political liability, a distraction from sober grand strategy. But it has been the Passion of Jimmy Carter.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis