Jimmy Carter Lends a Hand to Ted Cruz; Goldman Sachs Does the Same for Bernie Sanders

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President Jimmy Carter Seated near American Flag
Cruz-Carter 2016.Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

The CEO of Goldman Sachs gave Bernie Sanders a massive gift on Wednesday. The Vermont senator has spent most of the past year trying to convince Democratic voters that he is the one candidate who puts the fear of God (and/or the proletariat) into Wall Street. In an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Lloyd Blankfein decided to validate that narrative, calling Sanders’s candidacy a “dangerous moment.”

“It has the potential to personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street, not just for the people who are particularly targeted, but for anybody who is a little bit out of line,” said the head of an investment firm that liberals often refer to as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

Goldman Sachs is such a bogyman for the left, Hillary Clinton’s ties to the firm have become one of her greatest liabilities in the primary race. At CNN’s town hall in New Hampshire Wednesday night, Clinton’s most difficult moment came when she was asked to justify her decision to accept $675,000 — roughly twice Bernie Sanders’s entire net worth — to deliver three closed-door speeches to Goldman executives. Blankfein’s wife, Laura, has donated the $2,700 maximum to Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Blankfein did display enough self-awareness to avoid making his preference for Clinton explicit on Wednesday’s program, saying only, “I don’t want to help or hurt anybody by giving them an endorsement.”

Just because Blankfein thinks Sanders is a would-be Stalinist who is “dangerous” for “anybody who is a little bit out of line” doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t support the guy! Right?

Lest you think Wall Street titans are the only ones who haven’t heard that “the medium is the message,” take a gander at some remarks former president Jimmy Carter made on Wednesday.

I think I would choose Trump,” Carter told the House of Lords, when asked about the GOP presidential race, “which may surprise some of you, but the reason is Trump has proven already that he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed opinions that he would really go to the White House and fight for.”

Ted Cruz is not malleable,” Carter continued. “He has far right-wing policies, in my opinion, that would be pursued aggressively if and when he would become president.”

Endorsements don’t count for as much as they used to, but it’s hard to imagine a bigger get for the Texas senator. Cruz’s entire national political identity is built on the extremity and intransigence of his conservative principles. Who could possibly be a better surrogate for this message than a former president whose name is synonymous with impotence in red America? In a GOP primary, having Jimmy Carter criticize you for being too committed to right-wing principles is about as harmful as having the leader of ISIS denounce you as being too strong.