Hunter Thompson calling Jimmy Carter a tough operator and someone who knows how to work the system. Which I actually respect as well in someone who knows what they want to do, knows the obstacles in front of them and knows the odds against them, but essentially decides, “the hell with it! This is what I want to do and I’m going to give it my best shot.” Basically saying, “what the hell do I have to lose anyway.” A lot of specially big city Northern Progressive Democrats saw Jimmy Carter as a peanut brain and perhaps peanut farmer as well. Ted Kennedy, who looked at running for president in 1976 as well, was probably one of them. But Hunter Thompson saying that Carter was anything but a peanut brain.
The truth is without Watergate and debacle of the Nixon Administration in their second term in how President Nixon handled Watergate, and with President Nixon’s Vice President becoming President after Nixon resigned in 1974, pardoning him with Richard Nixon perhaps being as unpopular as gun control is in South Carolina, Jimmy Carter probably never becomes President of the United States, at least not in 1976. Because the Washington outsider was really the only issue that the Carter Campaign had going for them in 1976. As well as Carter coming off as a regular guy who connected with ordinary people. Someone who middle class Americans saw as one of them. Because he was one of them.
How does a peanut farmer from rural Georgia become President of the United States? You’re a Democrat going against a Republican Party that essentially shoots off all ten of their toes. With Watergate and then having the new President pardon the former President who was essentially a criminal, even though he was also Commander-In-Chief. I could also say a criminal who is also Chief Law Enforcement Officer, but that title is better suited for the Attorney General, or even the Secretary of Homeland Security. And then you’re an outsider who has a clean record whose intelligent, who can speak to average Americans. Who doesn’t represent the system and wants to change the system. And Jimmy Carter was essentially had the perfect environment to run for president in 1975-76 and took full-advantage of it.
CBC: Retro Bites- Hunter Thompson: Says Jimmy Carter is Ruthless, in 1977