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Kids on a Bench statue in Dothan Alabama

Jimmy Carter – Hamilton Jordan Scandal

I Like You

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock….” Matthew 7:24 KJV

Recently I started a new job. It has been a very, very long time since I was a rookie. I worked at my previous job for twenty-one years. I have been very excited about the new opportunity.

One of the hardest parts of a new job is learning what is expected of your new position. With most companies, like the one I started working with, there is usually an intense period of training at the beginning.

In my new position, I was required to spend a week of training in New Jersey. Piles of paperwork required my signature and personal information. I had to learn about the product, the company, the computer system and the reporting that was required. The company has an impressive set of leaders to guide new people, like me, in a direction to help successfully transition into our new careers.

I must confess, I was shocked at the attention that was given me to help ensure that I had the tools I needed to get started. No question I asked was thought of as stupid. I never heard that “I should have known something” or “how many times do I have to tell you.” No, the patience they exhibited was inspiring.

One of the aspects of the new job they trained me on was prospecting. I have been doing prospecting for a long time, but most of what I have learned on this has been self-taught. I didn’t need much help once I got in the door other than learning the product. What they really helped me with was finding the customers in the first place. One of the greatest tools they taught me to use was Google Maps.

One of the other things they have taught me was how to use our expense account. I have never had an expense account before, so I needed a lot of help on this one. What was an acceptable charge, how to do the reporting, and how often to use “expenses” were some of the questions I asked. Again, they had a lot of patience with my questioning.

As they were explaining the expenses, they were giving guidance on hotel stays. They had been burnt in the past by employees who misused this benefit. I responded to this by stating that shouldn’t be a problem with me. I told them that I wasn’t real fond of being away from home too much. I continued, “I like being home because I still liked my wife.”

His election to the Presidency might have been one of the biggest surprises ever. Then again, the time was ripe for someone exactly like him. When he started campaigning for the job, I’m sure a lot of people thought he was nuts. No one knew him. He could probably walk down most streets in America and no one would even turn to look at him.

But there were a lot of problems in Washington at the time and most Americans just thought it was time to clean house. So they looked for someone who had no stains from the Washington political world. He fit the bill perfectly.

He also had a folksy, honest aura around him, unlike those “crooks” in Washington. Despite what many may have thought, he was very smart, too. He knew, in order to win, he had to play to his strengths. There was not much political experience on his resume. So his campaign exaggerated the fact that any “Washington experience” was bad experience.

His campaign also played up his honesty and his church attendance. With his bright shining smile and his halo on tightly, he almost glided across the landscape. From out of nowhere, America had found a savior and he was it. Corruption would vanish and we would all live in peace with each other.

When the campaign got rough, he reminded everyone that he would not permit any corruption in his administration. He told America he would never lie to them. He would be open. He was the perfect candidate. He was what our nation needed.

Some days you just wake up and you feel on top of the world. Yes, that first burst of sunlight is a signal to the world that you have arrived and nothing is going to stop you. I’m sure our Bible character thought this, especially on this morning.

It had been such a great week. All the pieces just seemed like they were falling into place. There is no better feeling than the feeling of invincibility. What can stop you? Absolutely nothing.
He was part of a small group that was going to capture the world, so you better just watch out. He wasn’t the actual leader of the group, but he was pretty close.

It was supper time at the end of that week. Everyone was so excited. I don’t know if you would call it exactly bragging, but this was one very cocky group. All of a sudden the group’s leader stood before them and proclaimed that their whole group was about to collapse. One of them was going to be the cause of the collapse.

No one would claim to be the culprit. “Surely he must be wrong” claims filled the room. Then came the challenge. The second in command rose up from his seat and demanded a retraction. No one in this group could ever do such a thing, least of all him.

It was one of those Bible moments you probably wish there was a camera around to take a picture. The second in command was shocked, disappointed, even appalled, to hear such words coming from the leader. After all they had been through. He would stand up to the leader and tell him that he was wrong.

Do you have your cameras ready, because here comes the Kodak moment? The leader turned to his second and said, “You, yes, you, are going to be one of those who betrays me.” “Me? Never! I would die for you,” burst his reply. “Really? You will not only betray me once, no, not even twice, but three times. This will happen before most people’s alarm clocks wake them up tomorrow morning,” he countered. Did you snap the picture of the second in command’s face?

If you wanted a poster child for the party life, Hamilton would be the perfect candidate. Hamilton loved to party. Hamilton was also a very smart man when it came to politics. He could almost sense the pulse of the nation. He completely understood the nation was tired of the “dirty politics” of Washington and they wanted to wash their hands of its grime.

Hamilton and the Presidential candidate hooked up and were quite the duo. Their campaign was a success and our honest, folksy candidate became President of the United States. Hamilton was asked to be the new President’s Chief of Staff, a very powerful position. The President came to depend greatly on Hamilton.

So the new President headed into his new administration full of excitement. His cloak of honesty, his sandals of integrity, and his smile were on full display. Around his neck hung the giant medallion of self-righteousness which would scare off any corruption in his administration. And if that didn’t work, he had a gigantic broom. If there was any sign of corruption in his administration, he would sweep out whoever was at the core of it.

Well, the nation and the Congress were also tired of all the corruption. Congress decided to help the President out with his promise to rid corruption from the Presidency. They made a law that anytime there was even a hint of something wrong in a Presidential administration, a special independent counsel would appoint an investigator to turn over every rock to make sure the evil was purged around this high office.

The new President probably thought this was a great idea. After all, there would never be any issues with his stainless administration. Yes, corruption at the highest level could now be declared dead.

The knock came to his door. As the sentences rolled by, one can only imagine the smile slowly leaving the President’s face. The Attorney General was going to appoint a special independent counsel to investigate Hamilton. Seems like party animal Hamilton had been a bad boy at a party in the basement of a club in New York City. Someone claimed to have seen Hamilton using cocaine at a party.

The President called Hamilton into his office and, of course, Hamilton denied all the charges. Hamilton said, yes, he loved to party, but he did not use cocaine. The President believed his friend and said he would stick by him. Where was the gigantic claim of sweeping away even the slightest hint of corruption or wrong doing? Where was the high and mighty horseman with his holier-than-thou speeches?

Hamilton Jordan was President Jimmy Carter’s first taste of the post-Watergate Ethics in Governor Act which he, Carter, signed into law. Part of this law included a provision that the Attorney General would be required to appoint a special prosecutor when the Attorney General received specific allegations of misconduct by a senior government office.

Carter was now seeing that it was a lot easier to stand outside the walls of the White House and throw stones than it was to stand on the balcony and be hit by those stones. The questions about Jordan just wouldn’t go away. But Carter stuck by his man.

As the investigation into Hamilton Jordan concluded, no one actually came forward saying they specifically saw Jordan use cocaine. Almost all the witnesses stated that someone told them that they saw Jordan use cocaine. Every account that came before the special prosecutor was second, not first-hand information. Any lawyer or any judge knows that this is useless information, not fit to prosecute someone with.

So Jordan survived, but it was a very costly survival. By the time it was complete Jordan was nearly broke from the lawyer fees to protect himself. Jordan unsuccessfully spent the next half dozen years trying to get the government to pay his lawyer fees.

For his part, Carter would say, “…It was much more serious because of my claiming the high moral ground than it would have been if I had not ever raised the subject that I’m more filled with integrity than others. I mean that was kind of a brash thing for me to do. And possibly a mistake in having done it once I got to be president. But I think that those kinds of claims that I put forward about my moral status and my commitment to the truth got me into the White House. So it cut both ways. It helped me get elected, but it also came back to haunt me later on.”

As the cock crowed in the morning, Peter hung his head very low. He now knew what Jesus meant when he said he would betray Him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. Peter, who was standing outside with the crowd to see what verdict would be given to Jesus, had, in fact, very vocally denied that he even knew Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times.

How could someone who had spent so much time with Jesus have done that in such a short period of time? Who was the real Peter? Was it the Peter who proudly claimed his loyalty or was it the heel that turned on a friend?

Sometimes life is more than what we say. Sometimes life is how we live. Can we really love someone if we don’t also like them or like being with them? Can we brag about our integrity or our words and then seemingly go back on them? Can we really claim friendship if we only stand by someone when times are good?

So, don’t just love your wife, like her, too. Don’t claim that you are better than everyone else because you will get tested on that and you just might have to eat those words. And also be the friend that is there no matter how far down your friend seems to fall.

Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, Thanks for sending me such a wonderful wife who is not only so easy to love, but also so easy to like. Please grant me the integrity to stand true to my words, and my faith, even in trying times. And please let me always be a true friend that is even willing to stand with a friend in troubling times. Amen.

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