The Jimmy Pulpit
December 12, 1979 — The Post-Star

The Mossadegh Project | May 21, 2020                     


Following controversial remarks about the Shah from Democratic challenger Ted Kenedy, The Post-Star newspaper in Glen Falls, New York weighed Jimmy Carter’s 1980 re-election prospects in their lead editorial.

The hostage crisis, of course, was anything but an asset for the beleagured Carter, who lost to Ronald Reagan due in no small part to the U.S. failure to rescue the captive Americans in Tehran.

Crisis in Iran boost for Carter

The crisis in Iran has made it possible for President Carter to turn a corner in his race with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., for the Democratic nomination for president next year. The surge in the president’s strength in the polls in the last month demonstrates how quickly the polls can change under the impact of events.

The current is flowing strongly now in the president’s favor. But it could easily reverse itself in the near future, depending upon the course of evens in Iran and how the president’s leadership is perceived by the American people. The crisis is a test of character that, as of now, the president is passing with a high mark.

It is also a test of character for his political opponents. Sen. Kennedy’s unfortunate remarks about the Shah of Iran in San Francisco indicated that he is failing the test.

Certainly, many people share the Kennedy view that the shah was a tyrant who never should have been given asylum, even temporarily for medical treatment, in this country. But for the senator to say so in a public statement at this time weakens the position of the United States in trying to rescue the Americans who are being held hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Even before the Kennedy blunder, his standing in the polls had dropped sharply. His campaign got off to a shaky start on Day 4 of the Iranian crisis and has been floundering since.

Meanwhile, the president benefits from the support that the American people always give to the White House when the national interest is threatened from abroad. His announcement of candidacy was low-key but enormously effective in political terms. There is no campaign stump that can match the “bully pulpit” of the White House when an incumbent president is running for re-election.

Carter has handled the Iranian situation with poise. But the outcome remains in doubt. As Americans, we have to hope that it turns out well.

Such an outcome will go far to counterbalance the failures in Carter’s leadership in fighting inflation and solving the energy problem failures that loomed so large only a month ago. The time has come for us to invoke that general spirit.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
The untold story behind Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's famous quote “If I sit silently, I have sinned”


Related links:

Carter ‘Hopes’ Shah Survives | December 8, 1978 (UPI)

George McGovern on U.S. Foreign Policy, Reagan, Iran

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s efforts to free Iran hostages

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram