Jimmy Carter

Donald Trump Refuses To Take Responsibility For Failed Yemen Raid, Death Of Ryan Owens: As Truman Said, “The Buck Stops Here!”

Donald Trump has demeaned the office of the Presidency by his refusal to take responsibility for the failed Yemen Raid that took place two days after his inauguration.

At dinner with son in law Jared Kushner and his White House Counselor Stephen Bannon, he decided to authorize a raid that the Obama Administration had been reluctant to do, because of lack of full intelligence information on the likelihood of its success.

Trump should have been in the Situation Room with top military and intelligence officials, but he decided to try to make himself a hero, and in so doing, caused the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

Instead of taking responsibility for this blunder and the death, Trump blamed the “Generals” for the failure, and lied that much intelligence information had been successfully gathered, which others, including Senator John McCain have challenged as untruthful.

And then, Trump paraded the sobbing widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens at the President’s Speech to Congress, and after a great salute to her by an applauding Congress, bragged that a record had been set for the longest applause ever at a Congressional session, an unseemly point to make at that point of time, and just to add to his narcissistic image. This is absolutely horrible behavior by a Commander in Chief.

Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here!”. Presidents do NOT blame others for their shortcomings and failures, and John F. Kennedy took the blame for the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and Jimmy Carter took the blame for the failed attempt at a rescue of the Iranian Hostages in 1980.

It is time for Trump to stop passing the buck, and act like a President is supposed to act, stop blaming others for his failed actions!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: The Golden Age Of The Presidency, 1933-1969 (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ) With Five Of The Top Ten In History!

One final commentary on the C Span 2017 Presidential Survey is in order.

Based on the results of this survey, including 91 Presidential scholars, it is clear that there was a Golden Age of the Presidency from 1933-1969, a 36 year period in the 20th century when we had five Presidents–4 Democrats and 1 Republican—who had a transformational effect on American history.

All five of these Presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson—had bright moments in their Presidencies, but also times when their actions caused problems down the road of history. But they had a massive impact on the office and the nation, and they were ranked as Numbers 3, 6, 5, 8 and 10 in the most recent C Span survey.

Three of them—Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson—left the Presidency with very low public opinion ratings, but have recovered to rise dramatically in image and reputation over the decades.

The four who followed FDR institutionalized the New Deal and expanded it, and yet now in 2017, everything that was accomplished in both domestic and foreign policy is in danger from the anarchistic, chaotic forces of Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon et al, who are ready to use a sledge hammer to destroy all of the progress and growth of the federal government to protect the population, particularly the vulnerable groups—the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, women, ethnic and racial minorities, labor, and those concerned about the environment.

Since 1969, the Presidency has been going through crisis, first through the shortcomings and paranoia of Richard Nixon, through further decline under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (despite their well meant intentions), and then through the Presidency of Ronald Reagan which revived the image of the office, but started the long term decline of the middle class by its actions, continued under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton despite some reforms, and then reaching a low under George W. Bush, leaving Barack Obama with a challenge unseen since FDR.

Obama’s response in the midst of constant obstructionism was miraculous, and his number 12 rating upon leaving the Presidency insures his eventual rise to the top ten of the list, likely through a decline of Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan by a few notches.

Donald Trump will cause the rise of all of the Presidents who have not done well in the rankings—Nixon, Ford, Carter, and the second Bush—but that reality is a sign that the American Presidency has been under attack as an institution since 1969, with the only bright moment being the rise of Barack Obama. So we are unlikely to see a new Golden Age, and the five Presidents from 1933-1969 are likely to be well entrenched in the Top Ten for the long haul of American history.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey Results On George W. Bush And Bill Clinton: Little Hope Of Further Rise, And Never Above Barack Obama

The C Span 2017 Presidential survey gives evidence that the two Presidents before Barack Obama–George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—are unlikely to rise very much from their positions in the recent polling.

George W. Bush was a very low 36 in 2009 and now has risen a few notches to 33, while Bill Clinton, who had been 21 in 2000, and rose to 15 in 2009, remained at 15 in 2017.

Bush’s slight rise is due to recognition that he did have some virtues, as with his promotion of immigration reform although it failed to be achieved, his education reforms (No Child Left Behind), his promotion of tolerance toward Muslims after September 11, his prescription drug program for seniors, and his aid to Africa on AIDS.

But there is little room to move up, as to believe that Bush’s failures will ever be overlooked enough that he will rise above Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford, seems delusional.

So at the most, Bush might move above Rutherford B. Hayes, who has had a dramatic drop from 26 in 2000 to 33 in 2009 and slightly up to 32 in 2017; Zachary Taylor (who died after the third shortest term); Benjamin Harrison (who was sandwiched in between Grover Cleveland’s two terms); and James A. Garfield (who died after the second shortest term due to assassination). It is not really an accomplishment to pass two short term Presidents, and two one term Presidents of the Gilded Age. No one higher from Number 28 Richard Nixon upward is a likely candidate to fall below Bush ever in the future. So Bush will not be like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Lyndon B. Johnson, who started off low and then rose to the top ten over time.

As far as Bill Clinton is concerned, his original low standing was due to the fact that he had the most corrupt Democratic Party administration, although it was on a lesser level than Republicans Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan. His personal sex scandals brought him down as he was leaving office, but his rise in 2009 seemed reasonable, but really what will allow him to rise further, as he did not do in 2017?

The more one looks at Clinton, the more one realizes that his time in office is best remembered for a good economy which just happened to be lucky to coincide, but which included the moat conservative Democratic administration of the 20th century, with him cooperating with the Republicans on ending the Interstate Commerce Commission; ending the federal guarantee of welfare; passing very strict crime bills that backfired over time; and allowing corporate mergers that no other Democratic President would have allowed. And his shortcomings became more evident as his wife, Hillary Clinton, pursued the Presidency, and ultimately lost, even though she won the popular vote by three million.

The only practical way for Bill Clinton to rise is to overcome James K. Polk, who was extremely successful in his one term; or James Monroe, who in his two terms, accomplished enough that his significance has been recognized. So do not expect any rise from number 15 for Bill Clinton, despite his great charisma and personality.

When Bush and Clinton pass away in the future, it might cause some rise in their ratings, but unlikely long term, and it is a reality that Barack Obama, already ahead of both and likely to rise, will always be ahead of the two Presidents before him, as well as certainly so above the President who has succeeded him, Donald Trump, who has in one month set his legacy, that he will be at the bottom or close to the bottom of ratings in future surveys after he leaves office, hopefully sooner than one term.

Donald Trump keeps on saying he inherited a “mess”, a total lie, which will not stand now or in the long run of historical analysis!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Presidents Who Dropped In Stature Include Five Democrats, One Republican, One Democrat Who Became A Whig

The CSpan 2017 Presidential Survey saw several Presidents who dropped dramatically in stature and reputation over the history of the three polls in 2000, 2009, and 2017. This is defined as four or more slots in decline.

Woodrow Wilson (D) dropped from 6 to 9 to 11.

Andrew Jackson (D) dropped from 13 in 2000 and 2009 to 18 in 2017.

Grover Cleveland (D) dropped from 17 to 21 to 23.

Jimmy Carter (D) dropped from 22 to 25 to 26.

Rutherford B. Hayes (R) dropped from 26 to 33 and then up slightly to 32.

Martin Van Buren (D) dropped from 30 to 31 to 34.

John Tyler (D to W) was 36, went up to 35 and then dropped to 39.

At the same time that five Democrats dropped in the polls, 8 of the top 15 in the poll were Democrats (FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Wilson, Obama, Polk, Clinton), to 4 Republicans (Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan), 2 Democratic Republicans (Jefferson, Monroe), and 1 Federalist (Washington).

With only four Republicans in the top 15 (all in the top 10), the only other Republicans in the top 20 are McKinley (16) and Bush Senior (20), with the other three in the top 20 being Democratic Republican Madison (17), Democrat Andrew Jackson (18), and Federalist John Adams (19).

Donald Trump Dealt Defeat On Muslim Immigration Ban: Victory For The Constitution And American Democracy!

Donald Trump has been dealt a stinging defeat by a three member 9th Circuit Appeals Court, with one judge appointed by George W. Bush, one by Jimmy Carter, and one by Barack Obama, and this after a district judge, appointed by George W. Bush, had put a hold on Trump’s Executive Order establishing a travel ban, which is really a Muslim ban from seven nations, none of which have sent terrorists to America, while Saudi Arabia, as an example, has sent the 9 11 terrorists, but was not on the list.

It is clear that any nation that is Muslim but which Trump has business dealings with will never be on the list. This has caused tremendous consternation, inconvenience, and personal torment for many decent people who have been blocked from entering the United States for no good reason, but Trump has no empathy or compassion, and is clearly making a grab for dictatorial power.

This is a dangerous attempt to acquire absolute power, and it must be stopped cold by the Supreme Court, which it seems, assuredly, will happen.

This judicial intervention is a victory for the Constitution and American democracy!

Trump is a Fascist, a danger to our Constitution and our civil rights and civil liberties, and massive marches are continuing, and Republicans are getting the Town Hall treatment that Tea Party people gave Democrats right after Barack Obama was inaugurated.

It now seems possible that the Republicans, who cannot come up with a solution to ObamaCare, and are endangering so many of our accomplishments in the years from FDR through LBJ and beyond, could lose seats, and maybe control, if this discontent with them and Trump continues to evolve.

The country needs to stop this far right extremism desperately!

Presidents Judged On Compassion And Empathy: Few And Far Between

The traits of compassion and empathy are not automatic parts of any person’s makeup and character, but rather needs to be cultivated from childhood on by a family environment that emphasizes commitment to others, rather than exploitation of others for one’s own gain.

Difficult childhood experiences can, of course, affect personality, and often cripple any sense of compassion and empathy for others.

So one could argue that any President who had owned slaves, as ten Presidents did, are lacking in compassion and empathy, as they were able to separate their willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

One could also say that anyone who grew up in an environment that overlooked the human rights of native Americans, or displayed racism and nativism toward people of other races, nationalities, and religions, also would be seen as lacking in compassion and empathy.

So by this standard, the number of Presidents with elements of compassion and empathy are few and far between. However, there are some who have background that would seem to eliminate them from this category, but who, in reality, demonstrated growth and recognition of shortcomings and overcame them in the Presidency. In other words, they changed over time.

So who would fit on the list of compassion and empathy in office?

In the 19th century, we would place John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield in his few short months in office before the tragedy of assassination shortened his life.

In the 20th century and since, we would include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

This does not mean that one cannot find criticism of these ten Presidents’ policies, for surely one can.

But even with elements that can be seen as shortcomings, these ten Presidents in general can be seen as the most compassionate, empathetic Presidents we have had.

Which Presidents would be seen as having the least compassion and empathy in American history?

This author would say Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, with Trump at the head of the list.

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

The Positive Contributions Of The Joe Biden Vice Presidency

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is leaving public life after 44 years in the federal government, 36 as a US Senator from Delaware, and 8 years as Vice President.

Joe Biden is a true national treasure, who if not for the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May 2015, might have run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might very well have defeated Hillary Clinton, and then won the election in the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Although Biden will be 78 in 2020, he has the energy, the knowledge, the experience needed to defeat Donald Trump, and he just might return to the Senate in 2018, if Tom Carper follows through on his plans to retire.

So it is not yet time to say Biden’s career is over, although in elective office, it might be, but he will play a public role because it is in his blood to do so, and he will not stay silent when he sees wrongs being done by the Donald Trump Administration.

The alliance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the closest one in American history, possibly matched by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who in two days will have both survived the amazing total of 36 years since the Presidency and 40 years since their election in 1976!

Obama utilized Biden’s connections on Capitol Hill; and gave Biden an office in the White House, as Carter had done for Mondale; and had weekly lunches with Biden as Carter did with Mondale.

Joe Biden was a true Presidential Advisor, full time participant, and trouble shooter, and was not afraid to disagree with Obama, particularly on foreign policy, his expertise, but was always a loyal part of the team once a decision had been made by the President.

Biden’s warm, sincere personality was lovable, and he was able to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other influential Republicans, and the entire Senate honored him recently for his cordial and effective role in the Senate.

Biden took the lead on gay rights and gay marriage; protection of women against violence; immigration reform; environmental advancements; gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre; and the War on Cancer after his son died of that horrendous disease. Foreign leaders also, totally, respected him.

Joe Biden could be regarded as the greatest Vice President in American history, and his lifelong contributions will mark him in history as a very special political leader!

Thank you for your service to the nation and to Barack Obama, Vice President Biden!

The Farewell Address Of Barack Obama: Likely To Be One Of Best And Most Influential In American History

Barack Obama will give the 35th Farewell Address this evening in Chicago, where his career began.

All Presidents, except the eight Presidents who died in office, have given farewell addresses, although Richard Nixon’s final speech was awkward, and not really a Farewell Address.

Grover Cleveland had the chance to do it twice due to two nonconsecutive terms of office.

Most Farewell Addresses have been unmemorable, and one has to wonder what Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy might have said had they lived to retire from the Presidency.

But three Farewell Addresses in particular stand out.

George Washington (speaking out against political parties, and support of avoiding foreign entanglements).

Dwight D. Eisenhower (warning against the Military Industrial Complex dominating).

Jimmy Carter (speaking of the need to deal with the energy crisis, warning of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and calling for continued pursuit of human rights around the world).

No one would ever say that Washington, Eisenhower, and Carter were great public speakers, but they all spoke words that have reverberated ever since.

Expect tonight that Barack Obama, who is a great public speaker, and has uttered many great speeches, will give a Farewell Address memorable for the ages, as he moves toward being part of history in ten days!