What's the Real Reason Jimmy Carter Has Been in Hospice for More Than a Year?

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Even though I was young when Jimmy Carter left office, as a lifelong Georgian and a politically precocious kid, I was keenly aware of the love-loathe relationship people in the Peach State had for him. He campaigned for governor (before my time) as a moderate Democrat but governed as a liberal. Still, there was a certain feeling of “he’s one of us” among Georgia Democrats — bear in mind that it was still a heavily Democrat state.

Carter ran for president positioning himself as the reasonable alternative to the chaos that Watergate and Gerald Ford’s brief presidency had brought upon the country, but just like his time in the Governor’s Mansion, he governed further to the left than he had campaigned. His policies and his ineffectuality in dealing with problems marked an acceleration of the Democrats’ leftward lurch that began in the ‘60s.

His post-presidential years became a flurry of activity designed to make people forget what a horrible president he was. But for every Habitat for Humanity house he built, there was a statement from him siding with terrorist elements in the Middle East and against Israel. For every Sunday school class he taught, there was a nonsensical radical leftist talking point coming from his mouth. Nevertheless, Georgia Democrats and metropolitan media types continue to swoon over Carter and his legacy.

As of this writing, it’s been 462 days since we heard the news that Carter’s family had placed him in hospice care. That means that the former president has spent 18 more days in hospice care than the Iran hostages spent in captivity — the event that ended the same day as Carter’s presidency.

His entry into hospice last year made headlines, and we even prepared an obituary. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Last week, a member of the Carter family made the announcement that the former president was “‘doing OK,’ but nearing the end.”

I don’t mean to make light of the death of a beloved family member. I know the toll that a long process of dying can take on a family. At the same time, I can’t help but think that this is more than a man who is clinging to life for an impressively long time.

I have a couple of theories — call them conspiracy theories if you want to — about why the Carter family has kept him in hospice for so long and why they’ve tried to keep us in the know about his condition when there have been so few changes. (It could be because, in the words of my friend and colleague Stephen Green, “he almost makes Biden look young and energetic.”)

My first theory is that this is all about attention — not the fact that he might be near the end of his life but that we must have updates. When he first went into hospice, we couldn’t escape him in local media. News stations and papers pumped out endless puff pieces about his family and his legacy. I remember seeing a long article, I think in Southern Living, about his favorite recipes — y’know, because we all remember Carter for his culinary skills.

When Carter’s wife Rosalynn died in November, he attended the funeral and looked pitiful. It was easy at that point to believe that he wasn’t going to last much longer, but the media used the funeral as an excuse to keep him in the headlines.

Then, in February, when Carter reached the one-year mark in hospice, he was back in the headlines again, celebrating a year in hospice care. Fox 5 had this headline: “Jimmy Carter marks one year in hospice care | How he did it,” as if a year in hospice were some kind of achievement. The New York Times had another puff piece about “Jimmy Carter’s Long Goodbye.”

And then came the announcement earlier this month that he’s in his final days. Isn’t that what hospice is for? The family and the media can’t let the former president live out his last days in peace; they have to pimp his condition out to keep him in the news.

My other theory is a little simpler: I’m convinced his family is keeping him around long enough to hit age 100 on October 1. Carter has already been the longest-living president since 2019 when George H. W. Bush passed away, and People Magazine used the five-year occasion of that milestone for more hagiography.

Think of the milestone that hitting the century mark would be. It would be the perfect occasion for more puff pieces celebrating his legacy, and we’ve already seen that the Carter-Media Industrial Complex loves nothing more than having him in the headlines.

I do hope that Carter can live out his last days with a minimum of suffering. As much as I loathe his politics, he’s undeniably a faithful Christian who is undoubtedly ready to meet his Maker. I just wish his family and the media would let him do so in privacy and peace.


Trending on PJ Media Videos