Carter left holding the bag

Published 8:34 pm Friday, December 5, 2008

“Mr. President, I understand you wanted to see me? And why are you holding a garbage bag?”

“Yes, I did. I need to get out of the country for a few weeks. Rosalynn is getting on my nerves. She’s always making me take out the garbage. I am the past president of the United States and a Nobel Prize winner. Nobel Prize winners don’t take out garbage, for Pete’s sake. It’s in our contract. Anybody having an election I can monitor?”

“No sir, not right now. As you will recall, you tried recently to get involved in Zimbabwe’s elections, and they wouldn’t let you. I don’t think it helped when you told the authorities that you thought you were in Zebulon to monitor the Pike County elections. Zimbabweans don’t have a sense of humor.”

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“Rats. Then let’s go back to Palestine and lay some more flowers on Yasir Arafat’s grave. The ones I put there last April are probably getting a little moldy, don’t you think? Besides, I’d like to see that guy who hugged and kissed me a lot while we were there. He wasn’t a bad kisser, except his breath smelled like a camel that had eaten too much bad cactus.”

“Mr. President, the gentleman to whom you refer is Nasser Al Sha’er. He is a top official with Hamas, the terrorist group that has called for the destruction of Israel. Are you sure you want to be seen with him?”

“You are just jealous because he didn’t kiss you. Besides Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Nasser told me so himself. It is more like a civic club. He says they meet weekly, eat bad food and listen to dull speeches. OK, so they blow up a bus every once in a while. Big deal. You would, too, if you knew every Thursday you had to go to the Holiday Inn, eat cold goat meat and watch some dumb slide presentation on the history of rocks.”

“Mr. President, here’s a thought: Why don’t you go see former Gov. Carl Sanders and apologize for the kind of campaign you ran against him in 1970? He spared Georgia a lot of the racial unrest that Alabama and Mississippi had to deal with, yet you positioned yourself as a redneck and Sanders as a ‘Hubert Humphrey liberal.’ You might also tell people why you boycotted the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and criticized Sanders for attending, and then showed up at Coretta Scott King’s funeral as though nothing ever happened. Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Oh, poppycock. I never did any of that. I don’t remember. That was a long time ago. I wasn’t here. I think that was my brother, Billy, or the weird sister who rode the motorcycle. What were we talking about?”

“There is an easy way to find out. Release the papers from the 1970 campaign stored here in the Carter Center. That way even your staunchest supporters can see what lengths you would go to in order to win an election.”

“I would be happy to, Mr. Smarty-Pants, but the boxes are taped tighter than a tick and I can’t find any scissors. Anyway, how about finding me an opportunity to go to some exotic place like Uvalde or Lithonia so I can trash George Bush? Remember, Uvalde and Lithonia were a part of the Soviet Union when I was president.”

“I believe you mean Uzbekistan and Lithuania, and in case you have forgotten, George W. Bush is only going to be president for another 40 days or so. I think you’ve missed your opportunity.”

“Phooey. Can I go to North Korea? They love me in North Korea.”

“Sir, if I were you I would stay home and lower my profile. An awful lot of Americans have grown tired of you and your shameless grandstanding.”

“Oh yeah? Well, I’ll show all of you. I think I’ll run for governor again. That Perdue fellow strikes me as a Hubert Humphrey liberal anyhow. Get the Peanut Brigade mobilized. Tell them we’ll kick off the campaign next week in Lithuania.”

“I think you mean Lithonia, sir. And would you please take out the garbage?”