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Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush

Wilson, Robert A., ed., Hentrick Hertzberg “Jimmy Carter” | Simon & Schuster, 1995


p. 185

“I used to say to my liberal friends, ‘Jimmy Carter is the first President of my adult life who is not criminally insane.’ I had in mind the legal definition of minimal insanity: the inability to tell right from wrong. It is wrong to kill people for no reason other than political gain or political fear. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon did that. They escalated and continued the Vietnam War, thus causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, long after it became clear that the war could not be won–and they did this not because they seriously believed that their actions would help America to be secure or Vietnam to be free, but because they were afraid of looking weak. These men, by contrast with Carter and Ford, were full of a ‘tortured Machiavellianism.’