The Truth About the Iranian Hostage Crisis

During the 1980 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Ronald Reagan continually hammered President Jimmy Carter for being too soft on communism and too weak in the Middle East.

He was on to something with the Reds, though you could make a case that Carter wasn’t really aware of how many commies were floating around D.C.

But the charge against Carter’s policies in the Middle East were based on several brewing problems in the region and amplified by the Iranian hostage crisis.

For nearly a year, Americans had been held by the Iranian government, and Carter seemed unable to bring them home.

That was supposed to be the “October Surprise.” Carter would secure the release of the hostages in time to win the 1980 election.

Except it never happened, and according to a new bombshell accusation, the Reagan campaign is the reason.

This was an open secret in D.C., but no one had any conclusive proof. Congress investigated. A major book charged the Reagan team with underhanded activities. But no one could find a smoking gun.

Lips were sealed and pinky promises were made. It probably helped that the C.I.A. was potentially involved. No one crosses them and lives to tell about it.

At least one Republican who really wanted to be in the administration made sure Reagan would not be undercut by Carter. Former Texas Governor John Connally took a little trip to the Middle East during the election to let it be known that Reagan would cut a better deal for the hostages than Carter.

It worked. Carter lost, Reagan immediately capitulated to the Iranian demands once he was sworn in and the hostages came home.

This was his first glorious victory as President, and Reagan took a victory lap.

Zero evidence exists that Reagan knew exactly what was happening, but he probably knew something, just not enough to destroy deniability. But these decisions weren’t make in a vacuum.

At the very least, his team knew what they were doing.

And Jimmy Carter paid the price. This does not mean Carter would have won had the hostages come home. He was defeated in a landslide, but the hostage crisis didn’t help his chances.

We like to think of politics as a principled game where people run on the issues and are upright members of society who want to do what is right for “the people.”

If they are in politics, think twice.

I discuss this new hostage crisis revelation on Episode 803 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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