Carter Center

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

Statesman Jimmy Carter Reaches Age 90, Fourth President In A Row To Reach That Magical Age!

Today, October 1, is the 90th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), making him one of four Presidents in a row to reach that magical age.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all reached the age of 90, Bush just this past June, and Ford and Reagan dying at age 93, with Ford being six weeks older than Reagan.

Now six Presidents, including John Adams and Herbert Hoover, have reached that age, and it is clear that modern medicine and sanitation have helped the Presidents in office from August 1974 to January 1993 to have accomplished this massive achievement!

Carter also has set an ongoing record of nearly 34 years out of office, and shares that with his Vice President, Walter Mondale, as the longest surviving team in the White House in American history!

Carter has long been vilified, and called a “failure”, “the worst President of modern times”, and other insulting terms by people who are ignorant, lacking in knowledge of what makes a President significant.

No one is going to assert that Carter was a highly successful President in the top ten or fifteen, and the fact that he was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980, harms his historical reputation, as Presidents who lose reelection never stand high in polls of Presidents in history.

But this man was decent and honest, humble and sincere, and accomplished the following:

The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the most outstanding accomplishment in Middle East diplomacy of any President before or since.

The negotiated return of the Panama Canal, to its rightful owners, the nation of Panama, righting the wrong done by Theodore Roosevelt early in the 20th century.

The strong principle of human rights as an important goal in American diplomacy.

The third best record of any President on environmental reform, and creation of public lands, only behind Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and more amazing, since Carter only had one term in the White House.

The establishment of the Health and Human Services Department, the Education Department, and the Energy Department, all added to the President’s cabinet.

Out of office, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, for his human rights record; his promotion of fair elections around the world and the advancement of health care and education through his Carter Center; and his building of housing using his own and his wife Rosalynn’s hands, as part of Habitat For Humanity.

He also wrote 28 books, making him the most prolific President of modern times, and competing with Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon for his extensive writings.

Jimmy Carter set a new standard for former Presidents giving their service to the nation, as Bill Clinton has done, and Carter is often called the best former President of the United States for his contributions in the 34 years since he left office.

Jimmy Carter had obvious shortcomings, but he has lived long enough to be regarded as a statesman, and be given the respect he deserves!

So Happy 90th Birthday, Mr. President!

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

88th Birthday Of President Jimmy Carter: Time For Republican Party To Stop Trashing Him!

President Jimmy Carter reached his 88th birthday today, making him the seventh American President to reach that ripe old age!

Only George H. W. Bush, who reached the same age on June 12; Harry Truman who lived to 88 years and almost eight months; Herbert Hoover and John Adams, who lived to 90; and Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, who reached 93, with Ford outliving Reagan by six weeks, have had longer life spans.

Jimmy Carter reaches 88 in the best physical and mental condition of any President who has reached that age, as all the others were declining noticeably, and even Bush has shown signs of wear and tear far greater than Carter.

Carter, and his wife Rosalynn, still travel the world promoting free elections, democracy, fighting hunger, and promoting the struggle against poverty and disease through the Carter Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. He also gained prestige by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his works.

Carter has become, without question, the most active and involved President in his post Presidential career, and has often been called the “best” former President of the United States.

Despite all this, Carter has been the butt of attacks and vicious denunciations by conservatives and Republicans for his “failings” while in office from 1977-1981, and the fact that he is now 88, and out of office nearly 32 years, has not slowed up the nasty treatment.

The Democrats denounced Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression for a long time, but in his last years, a truce was declared, as the thought was that it was time to stop the attacks as unseemly on an old man who, despite his shortcomings, had made some notable contributions while President and after.

So in the spirit of fairness, it is time for the Republicans and conservatives to stop using Jimmy Carter as a political football, show some respect and deference, and give him the recognition that he deserves for his true accomplishments in office, including:

The Egyptian Israeli Peace Treaty
The Panama Canal Treaty
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty Two With the Soviet Union
Promotion of Human Rights
Advocacy of the Environment, making him the third best on that after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon
Creation of the Department of Education and Department of Energy Cabinet posts
Promotion of a national energy policy which was ignored by his successor, Ronald Reagan
Granting of real authority and influence to his Vice President, Walter Mondale, making it a powerful office
Promotion of civil rights advancements
Healing the Vietnam War divisions by giving amnesty to draft evaders who had fled to Canada during the war

Happy Birthday, President Carter, and many more healthful years to you and your wife!

Commitment To Others (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama) Vs. Commitment To One’s Own Wealth Acquisition (Mitt Romney)!

Two former Democratic Presidents—Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton—have devoted their post Presidential lives to a commitment to help others, through the Carter Center and the Clinton Initiative.

They have both stood out for their efforts to promote peace, fight hunger and disease, improve the lives of others, rather than set out to add to their own wealth acquisition.

At the same time, Barack Obama seems likely to follow the same pursuits, because, after all, he devoted his early adult life to being a community organizer in the toughest neighborhoods of Chicago, dealing with poverty, hunger, and family problems of many Chicago residents. He has been ridiculed by the right wing of the Republican Party for doing so, but then the right wing of the GOP has also shown a lack of respect and deference toward both Carter and Clinton with their retirement years commitment to doing good for others!

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has devoted his entire adult life simply to the acquisition of wealth for the sake of wealth, not concerning himself with the closing down of businesses by Bain Capital, and the loss of jobs by many thousands of workers. He also likes to flaunt wealth, as with the car elevator at his one of many homes in California, and his refusal to release his tax returns, because it would reveal just how manipulative and deceitful he has been, a man who has no ethics or morals when it comes to the making of money!

Of course, it is said that Mitt Romney gives to “charity”, but that “charity” is almost completely to his Mormon Church, which requires a tithe of ten percent from its membership. So that is not all voluntary, and in any case, giving “charity” solely to one’s church is not true charity, in the sense that he has shown no interest, with his vast wealth, to support good causes, as has Carter and Clinton, both far less wealthy than Romney.

And it is predictable that if Romney loses the Presidency, he will devote his life to his church and to the constant acquisition of wealth, as this is the trend of his life, not devoting time and effort to good causes, as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have done, and assuredly, that Barack Obama will do in his post Presidency!

13 Former Presidents And Public Service After The Presidency

With Presidents Day upon us, another interesting point of investigation about the American Presidency is the extent of public service of former Presidents.

The Presidents who remained active public figures after their Presidency, chronologically, were:

President John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), who served as a Congressman from Boston from 1830-1848, dying on the House floor during a debate over expansion of slavery into the territories gained from the Mexican War.

President Martin Van Buren (1837-1841), who after his difficult term in office due to the Panic of 1837, attempted to come back to the Presidency in 1844, failing at that venture, but running as the Presidential candidate of the Free Soil Party in 1848, the forerunner of the Republican Party.

President John Tyler (1841-1845), who renounced his American citizenship, and served for one year in the Confederate Congress before his death in 1862, which was not officially acknowledged by the United States government, due to his treason, as Americans saw it.

President Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), who after completing Zachary Taylor’s unfinished term without much distinction, came back and ran as the Presidential candidate of the American (Know Nothings) Party, an anti immigrant party, in the 1856 Presidential election, winning only Maryland in the Electoral College, and then went back into obscurity.

President Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), who served a few months as US Senator from Tennessee in 1875, serving alongside many of that body who had voted to remove him from office in the Impeachment trial of 1868, but died after those few months in the upper chamber.

President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who remained active, and ran for President on the third party Progressive Party line in 1912 against his own successor, William Howard Taft, and by running, helped to elect Woodrow Wilson as the next President. He also wrote and made speeches incessantly on every public topic imaginable!

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913), who was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, served nine years, and helped to plan the construction of the Supreme Court Building, which opened five years after he left the Court.

President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), who served on the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government under appointment by President Harry Truman after World War II. Hoover also kept active in writing, and speaking up about public affairs.

President Richard Nixon (1969-1974), stayed active, writing about ten books and doing a lot of traveling around the world, and was an informal adviser to every President after him, including Bill Clinton in whose first term he passed away.

President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) remained extremely active in his post Presidential years, writing over 20 books, forming the Carter Center to promote peace and diplomacy, and the fight against many diseases, and working for Habitat for Humanity in the construction of housing for the poor. He also had innumerable interviews and constantly spoke his mind on all kinds of domestic and foreign policy issues, and that continues today.

President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) followed in the steps of Jimmy Carter, promoting regular activity through his Clinton Global Initiative, and also promoting earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010 in tandem with President George W. Bush (2001-2009). Also, Clinton was involved in promotion of relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 with former President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993). He also has been interviewed regularly and published many books and articles.

So these are the contributions, after being President, of 13 Presidents, and it is highly likely that President Barack Obama will continue that tradition, leaving office, whether in 2013 or 2017, as one of the youngest retired Presidents in our history as a nation!

January 20: Historic Day Over And Over Again! :)

Today is January 20, which has been Inauguration Day for the President of the United States every fourth year since 1937, due to the 20th Amendment which was added to the Constitution in 1933 in record time, after the horrors of waiting four months until March 4, 1933, to see the transition between defeated President Herbert Hoover to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the worst days of the Great Depression.

So every President since then has been inaugurated on January 20, with the exception of Harry Truman in 1945 (upon the death of FDR), Lyndon Johnson in 1963 (upon the death of John F. Kennedy), and Gerald Ford ni 1974 (upon the resignation of Richard Nixon). But Truman and Johnson were later inaugurated for a full term on January 20, with only Gerald Ford never experiencing the pomp and circumstance of Presidential Inauguration Day, as a result of his defeat for a full term of office in the 1976 Presidential Election to Jimmy Carter.

Round numbers tend to carry more weight, somehow, so today it is 50 years since John F. Kennedy took the oath and 30 years since Ronald Reagan uttered the oath.

It is also 30 years since Jimmy Carter left the White House, and 10 years since Bill Clinton left the Oval Office.

Kennedy and Reagan have become the favorite Presidents of the poorly informed general public, based on public opinion polls every year to commemorate President’s Day every February.

But it is worth some consideration to think about the contributions of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton AFTER they left the White House!

Carter has already had the second longest retirement of any President, and in mid September 2012, he will surpass Herbert Hoover as the longest retired President ever, and since he is seemingly in tip top shape physically and mentally at age 86, it seems likely he will beat the Hoover record.

Often called the best former President in American history, while far from the best President in office, Carter has stirred some outrage and animosity for some of his views and statements in the past thirty years, particularly regarding Israel and the Arabs.

But despite this, he has been engaged in many good deeds, including Habitat for Humanity and promotion of democracy and free and fair monitored elections all over the world through the Carter Center in Atlanta, and he has great acceptance as an outstanding man promoting peace and diplomacy and the fight against poverty and hunger in the world community.

His stature has risen, and he is the author of about ten books, the most prolific author ever, even surpassing Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton in ten years time has pursued a similar commitment to peace, diplomacy, and the fighting of hunger and poverty through the Clinton Initiative. He has a great international image and is seen, much like Carter, as a man of wisdom and principle. He has written his memoirs and has given advice to President Obama, and has stood by very proudly as his wife has become an exceptional Secretary of State after being a Senator from New York for eight years.

Both men have their definite faults and shortcomings, as all of us do, but both have gone the extra mile and done the office of the Presidency proud, setting a distinct image and imprint on the potential of a former President to have a major impact even beyond his years in the Oval Office!

So there is a lot to celebrate on January 20 this year!