For Jimmy Carter, it was Katrina, not the Middle East.
Democrats were determined not to allow the former president to spoil their Denver party with talk of evenhanded policies in the Middle East. No mention, please, of “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” the book whose title set off a firestorm in the pro-Israel community.
So they screened a video of Carter’s work helping to rebuild homes in Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Then Carter did a quick live stage stroll holding wife Rosalynn’s hand to a standing ovation and retreated without a word.
(Carter addressed the 2004 convention and even mentioned the Middle East. That, however, was before the book and his meeting this year with Hamas leaders – partly, it must be said, in a bid to free Israeli captive Gilad Shalit.)
The deal was done: A Democratic convention without a difficult Carter moment.