Deliver Us From Sean Hannity

Caught a minute of Sean Hannity's radio show last night, and it was enough time to break my brain. He claimed that this newspaper item on Jimmy Carter demonstrates that the former president is a limousine liberal:

As one of the most prolific authors ever to sit in the Oval Office, former President Jimmy Carter knows how to sell books. As he hawks his 19th, Sharing Good Times, Carter reveals his secret to reaching the bestseller list: Pitch buyers at discount warehouses. "Sam's Club and Costco," he says, "have a vast array of customers. So they're very valuable assets." Carter, who favors Costco for West Coast book signings and Sam's in the East, says the warehouses draw a different audience than do bookstores. "Barnes & Noble people go there almost by definition to buy books," he says, "where at Sam's they come in to buy different items ... and as an aside a lot of them just come by and buy one of my books because they announce on the loudspeaker system that I'm there signing books." The customers are "not sophisticates," though he adds, "Anybody who buys my books is a good person."

I read that as a funny example of Carter's self-effacing humility -- he thinks people only show up at his signings because they're already there to buy 80-roll packs of Charmin toilet paper.

The evil simpleton of the airwaves, Hannity said that it shows liberals like Carter fly on private planes and have people make their peanut butter sandwiches for them, looking down their noses at people in the middle class "like us."

Hannity charges $100,000 a speech and requires private planes to get him there.

Carter makes free speeches or donates the fee to the Carter Center charity. He lives in a modest house in Plains, Georgia, that he's owned for decades, according to a 1999 Money magazine article, and refuses to cash out on his presidency by joining corporate boards:

John Moores, who owns the San Diego Padres and sits on the board of the Carter Center, says, "I couldn't possibly live the way he does. ... He is as insensitive to material goods as anyone I've ever met."


I love President Carter. He was the first president that I was semi-aware of, even though I was only in second grade.

I'll never forgive the thugs who orchestrated the October Surprise that took him out of office long before he should have. He was the last honorable President we ever had and may ever have.



A couple of comments on the worst president who ever served in the office:

Hanna: the October Surprise is a myth. The idea that George HW Bush flew anyplace in an SR-71 to prevent American hostages from being released borders on the insane. I know people who flew that aircraft. You don't use it to ferry people around, trust me.

Carter may appear to be a benevolent, charitable fellow, but find a copy of Steven Hayward's The Real Jimmy Carter. Yes, it's published by Regnery, which means it's part of our VRWC, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

You'll learn that not only was Carter a massive failure politically (name one success in his presidency...just one) but that he is, in reality, a vindictive, nasty and petty man.

Charity does not a friendly fellow make. And, Rogers, as for "cashing out" on corporate boards, think about that comment for a second: who would have him? Could he offer economic advice that anyone would find useful, based on his record? And his foreign policy record is pretty sorry, too, to say the least. My guess is that his advances into corporate America would be met with great laughter.

I don't think corporate boards are quite the meritocracy you seem to think. Any national politician could do some serious cashing out after leaving office, as Gerald Ford has done.

I haven't read The Real Jimmy Carter of course, but it sounds like a typical hatchet job that should drive its obsessed author from the company of decent people. This quote from the book, from a review, certainly makes it seem unhinged:

Governor Carter settled into a rigorous daily routine, arriving at his desk by 7 am. He took home a stack of paperwork -- sometimes a foot thick -- every night, often working as late as 1 am. His long work hours did not prevent him, however, from ordering the construction of a tennis court and swimming pool on the governor's mansion without any public notice.

Surely in the annals of Georgia state government, there has been no greater abuse of power than the days when Gov. Carter worked long hours night after night and built a tennis court.

I don't want to get into a spitting contest over this guy (Carter, not Hayward), as it will quicking sink into a "my-guy-said-your-guy-said" back-and-forth. I think Penraker is a bit off on Hayward's attitude toward Carter, and one cannot deny Hayward's CV is impressive (even Penraker says this):

My point is no matter how it's spun, there is one simple fact: Jimmy Carter set this nation back 50 years politically, diplomatically, militarily and economically. This is not to denigrate whatever good works he does giving away his money or building houses. That doesn't mean he wasn't a horrible president. I know a long line of Navy guys I can call who can give you chapter and verse on how he nearly single-handedly dismantled our armed forces.

And the economic impact of his policies (for which he practically blamed us in his "malaise" speech) affected this nation for years after he was kicked back to Georgia. I bought my first home here in Florida in late 1985 and was happy to learn the interest rate I'd be getting was 11.5%! (Luckily, in the two months to build the house, the rate dropped to 10.5%).

Nitpicking Hannity for pointing out an article pointing out Carter's elitism seems a bit of a stretch. So what if Hannity gets 100Gs and a private jet for his speeches and tours? He's not hiding it, his popularity demands that price. There's no crime in getting paid a lot of money or flying in private jets.

Besides, do you know how much money Hannity has raised for military families and other charities? One example: he holds a huge concert event in New Jersey each summer. He gets a bunch of popular acts who play for free and all the money goes to the families of military men and women.

If Carter could demand that kind of jack to give speeches or make appearances, don't think for a moment he wouldn't be flying all over the place. Yes, he could and would then donate the money. But there's only one problem:

No one wants to listen to him.

I pointed out Hannity's speaking fees and private jet trips because he's making such a big deal out of other people exhibiting that kind of behavior. I don't care how much money he makes.

Like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, Hannity's playing the game where you pretend to be a working stiff standing up for the common man against coastal elitists who sneer at "us," all the while raking in millions and jetsetting to places like The Hamptons and Aspen.

I'm back.

I don't agree with your assessment of Hannity and how he sells himself. (Look, I'm no fool...these guys want to sell their is partly show business, after all).

In fact, he's been trying to point out exactly of what you accuse him on both Robert Kennedy Jr. and Ariana Huffington. he has had them both on his show to ask them why they insist we commoners change our lifestyles (no SUV's, etc.) while they both (admittedly) fly around in private jets and drive massive cars themselves.
Neither has ever directly responded, except for Huffington, who said she had to use the private jet becuase "somebody had to" or something equally inane.

It does work both ways.

On both sides of the political fence one can find obnoxious attention-getters, who use personality, hubris and media skills to do two things:

1. Poke fun at and/or be nasty to the other viewpoint;

2. Make themselves lotsa moolah in the process.

Frankly, both sides end up entertaining either side, provided a sense of humor is available. And, of course, some members of either side end up getting the other side all peeved. When this is via media, the producer/publisher/broadcaster/emanator laugh all the way to the bank.

Hannity has a very successful "I'm as victimized as you, fellow rightwinger" whine going, complaining and being all indignant and befuddled about left-of-center initiative and any politico or public figure who is at all left of his rather right-of-center views.

So it is no surprise that he savages Carter in his whiny, gee whiz manner.

Carter is the finest man to have held office in the US in ages. A man with a strong sense of ethics, the big picture, and of serving and doing, as opposed to simply talking.

Who brought both sides in the middle east conflict to camp David? Who felt compelled to use the bully pulpit to achieve peace through discussion and negotiation, all the while respecting the views of both sides?

A seasoned Navy nuclear sub vet, he resisted the advice and promotion of thought that the US should invade and attack Iran ... because he knew it would mean the death of the hostages, and massive death and destruction in Iran. He wanted no part of either option. A man of principle, no wonder so many choose to dismiss him.

They can't fathom, much less grok, what restraint and substance the man possesses. Their loss.

I can tell you can't stomach listening to Hannity for more than a couple of minutes, otherwise you would not post such sillyness. Sean is absolutely up front about his success and to whom he owes it. He makes no bones about the fact that he should be able to have any posessions, drive any car or fly any plane that he wants and can afford without being judged. He objects to those who tailor their public persona to suit the audiance and would speak of the evils of oil dependency before they wisk away in a Hummer. He also frequently donates time and speaking engagements to causes he finds appropriate. You miss the point entirely.

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