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“I can’t do this anymore.

– Steve Bannon, former advisor to the ex-president

Jimmy Carter probably won’t be remembered as one of the nation’s great presidents. After Mr. Carter left the White House in 1981, he and the former First Lady devoted their time advocating and raising funds for Habitant for Humanity, an organization that helps build and provide homes for people who are unable to secure conventional loans for homeownership.

It wasn’t unusual to see photographs of the former president on a ladder with a hammer in his hand. I always thought that Jimmy Carter was just too nice a guy to be president.

I think that it’s a pretty safe bet that our immediate former president will not be remembered as one of the country’s great chief executives, except in his own mind. His limitless self-regard was on display when he unveiled what he promised was a major announcement recently. He began his spiel by introducing himself as “Hopefully your favorite president of all time. Better than Lincoln. Better than Washington.”

(It occurred to me that Lincoln and Washington were probably the only names of presidents he could summon up quickly.)

His hardcore supporters may have thought that he and his coterie of flunkies had concocted another scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, however, turned out to be a little like getting a pair of socks for Christmas.

The former President of the United States is now hawking cards like the ones they package with baseball players on them in bubble gum. (You don’t get any gum in them because it cuts into the bottom line.) They are evidently presented in tandem with his claim that “America needs a superhero.” If proving over and over that you are stronger than any arm of justice, I guess he qualifies in a perverse sort of way.

The cards, that are technically called NFTs or nonfungible tokens, allow the buyer access to a video file with cartoon images of him for the price of $99. It’s a reverse of the old saying “something for nothing” in that the cards are pretty much nothing for something.

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Evidently, two scoops of ice cream and climbing in and out of a golf cart can really build up the muscles. The cards depict the former president with a body that Dwayne Johnson might envy. I am sure that the reaction of his supporters is an unabashed “I knew it, the flabby look was just bad suits.”

Back on planet Earth, Seth Meyers called it “pathetic” on Late Night. Jimmy Kimmel called them authentic “Cards Against Humanity.” The proceeds, and this might surprise you if you have recently revived from a deep coma, go directly into the ex-president’s pocket. He has already socked away some $100 million from people who thought the money they were contributing to various PAC accounts established for Republican candidates in the 2020 election would actually go to them. It could stand as the ultimate definition of naivety.

“But wait, that’s not all,” as they say on those annoying television commercials. People qualifying for a sweepstakes have a chance to win thousands of incredible prizes and meet the one and only (thank God for that) #45, which the information describes as a “priceless” opportunity. The lucky winners will have to pay for their travel expenses and lodging. I think that is kind of insulting because it implies that Mar-a- Lago isn’t intended for their sort.

Speaking of Mar-a-Lago, it hosted another sore loser whose whine quotient almost matches that of the estate’s most prominent resident. Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake spoke at an event hosted by the America First Policy Institute, a think tank founded by Trump allies, where she pandered to the faithful by railing about gender identity being “determined by God.” Whenever I hear one of these hate pedaling religious zealots, who think that they are on a fast track to heaven, I can’t help but hope that there is an alternate place offered for the rest of us worthy souls.

I mean, who wants to spend eternity with the Huckabees!

(Incidentally, a think tank founded by allies of our ex-president is an oxymoron of epic proportions.)

In a foul-mouthed tirade, Lake also hit on the disproven talking points that have sustained her political idol since he lost in 2020. It was all the work, according to Lake of “evil bastards,” not to mention the failure of Vaseline-smeared camera lenses, like the ones that prolonged Doris Day’s movie career, to make her more appealing to Arizona voters.

Our former president has gone from incoherent ineptness to excruciatingly embarrassing, but the money was all that ever mattered to him. The digital cards sold out, dumping another $4 million into those bottomless pockets that he obviously is willing to stoop to anything to fill. It does make you wonder if all his talk about being a multi-billionaire is really true.

The response from the cult of Americans who still admire him also proves conclusively that P.T. Barnum was right. There is one born every minute.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for Vermont News & Media. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.


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