Jimmy Carter

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Commemorated By Four Presidents!

It has been a half century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the greatest accomplishment of President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his five years in the Oval Office.

This week, four American Presidents are honoring this achievement at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, including Barack Obama, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush (the former Presidents, ironically, all Southerners).

This half century old law is one of the massive and historic turning points in American history, and yet the challenge to civil rights, as the Reverend Al Sharpton has stated, is not over, as there continues to be discrimination in many southern and other states governed now by Republican legislatures and governors.

So the battle for civil rights continues for the protection of people based upon race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation, and we cannot sit on just praise of what has been done, but fight for more of the same in the present and the future!

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!

Jimmy Carter Writes On Discrimination Against Women By Organized Religion Worldwide And In America

Former President jimmy Carter has written yet another book, and this one is on the widespread discrimination against women, world wide, as well as in the United States.

Carter makes a strong case about the unfairness of the treatment of women in the work place and in society, but his strongest indictment is against traditional organized religions, and not just one religion.

It is clear that Orthodox Jews, Right Wing Evangelical Christians, the Catholic Church, The Mormon Church, Muslims, and Hindus all have mistreatment and second class citizenship of women as part of their basic dogma, although there is nothing in the Old or New Testament that allows Orthodox Jews, Right Wing Evangelical Christians, Mormons, and Catholics to be able to justify their backward attitudes on the role of women in their faiths. Sadly, Muslims and Hindus are even worse in their disregard for the rights of women.

It is encouraging that Conservative and Reform Judaism, many mainline Protestant Churches, and progressive elements of the Catholic faith work to improve the rights and roles of women in their faith.

But it is disturbing to recognize that many Christian churches have, historically, backed slavery and racial segregation (particularly in the Southern states); and that many not only discriminate against women and their reproductive lives, but also, in too many cases, demonstrate anti gay hatred as well.

None of the prophets, particularly in the Western world, including Jesus and Moses, ever spoke out against women, or dealt with the issue of homosexuality or race, so these are the work of evil forces that have politicized religious teachings, in the name of power and wealth!

It is what has made many intelligent people, and young people, to turn against the trappings of organized religion!

March Of Second Year Of Presidential Term Not Good Time To Assume Presidential Nominees For Next Term, Proved By History!

As March 2014 ends, Hillary Clinton is the runaway favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination, which is comforting to her, but going by history, no guarantee of her nomination in the summer of 2016.

Witness the following facts:

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was the front runner in polls for 1976, 1980, and 1984, in March 1974, March 1978, and March 1982.

Senator Gary Hart of Colorado was the front runner in polls for 1988, in March 1986.

Governor Mario Cuomo of New York was the front runner in polls for 1992, in March 1990.

Former Vice President Al Gore was the front runner in polls for 2004, in March 2002.

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Did anyone ever know of a President Ted Kennedy, a President Gary Hart, a President Mario Cuomo, a President Al Gore (other than the contested Election Of 2000), a President Hillary Clinton for the past five years, or a President Rudy Guiliani?

Who was seriously thinking of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama in 1974 or 1990 or 2006? And who was seriously thinking of Michael Dukakis in 1986 or John Kerry in 2002? The answer is that none of the top five in polling in all these different March second year of the term polls were these five listed in this paragraph, including the last three Democratic Presidents!

So the game of Presidential candidacy is far from resolved at this early point of the battle for the next Presidential nominations in both parties!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Republicans Declare War On National Parks And The Environment!

The Republican Party, already in its death throes as a respectable party, are now moving to repeal the Antiquities Act of 1906, passed during the administration of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, allowing the President the authority to create national parks and monuments, and save our nature preserves and environment from industrial destruction.

Every President since TR has used this law to add to our national treasures, but now the House Republicans will vote to repeal the Antiquities Act in an attempt to favor the voracious and selfish business interests, particularly in the energy industry, including the Koch Brothers.

Fortunately, the Senate will not follow through, and the President could and would veto any such attempt, but it is worrisome that a possible GOP Senate in 2015 could raise the ante on this outrageous action, and were the GOP to control the Presidency and both houses of Congress in 2017, it is likely that our environmental record of pride for the past 108 years would lie in ruins. Possibly, a President Jon Huntsman might veto such action, but any other Republican would, almost certainly, sign such legislation!

Theodore Roosevelt is turning over in his grave, but realize Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter were also exceptional on the environment, and really, all Presidents, Democratic and Republican, have utilized this law to provide wonderful national parks and forests and monuments for the enjoyment of the American people!

This is just simply another outrage that should motivate those who care about this law and the environment, to come out in droves and insure that the Senate does not go Republican, and attempt to turn the House to the Democrats as well!

The Case For Joe Biden For President

Almost everyone thinks Hillary Clinton is the almost certain Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016.

This entry is NOT designed to attack her credentials, or her worthiness to be President, and it is NOT designed to be critical of Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren or Brian Schweitzer, other rumored possible candidates.

It is simply an entry to point out the case for Joe Biden for President of the United States!

When one examines Joe Biden’s political career, one can only marvel at his background and experience, although it is well known that often those with far less experience in government end up in the Presidency, as for instance: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

But, seriously, if one is to use the measurement of experience in NATIONAL government, NO ONE comes even close to Joe Biden!

Only three Presidents had extensive experience in Congress before becoming President, and two of them became President originally by succession during a term–Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson. The person to have the most national experience was, sadly, James Buchanan, often ranked as the absolutely worst President we have ever had in our nation’s history.

So one might say, see what happens when you put an experienced person in national government in the Presidency–that they turn out to be disasters, such as Andrew Johnson and Buchanan, and with much dissatisfaction with Lyndon B. Johnson for the Vietnam War escalation.

But it is really unfair to judge having experience as meaning an ultimate failure, and the point is that Joe Biden has a total of 44 years of experience in national government, unmatched in our history, and only Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 coming close, with 36 years of Congressional service!

Biden has unmatched experience and expertise in both foreign policy and legal matters, as he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman at different times.

Joe Biden is as skilled with working with the opposition party as Lyndon B. Johnson was in the 1950s, but for a much longer period of time.

Joe Biden would have the ability to get things done, that, arguably, Hillary Clinton would not have, and that other, less experienced Democratic nominees would not have!

Joe Biden is an extremely charming, charismatic , warm human being, and extremely likable and genuine. What you see is what you get, and Biden would be one of the most colorful and dynamic Presidents, were he to gain the Oval Office.

Joe Biden’s shortcomings are his age (although he has tremendous energy and shows no signs of slowing); his tendency to make verbal gaffes (although he has never said anything that did more than make him look foolish and really, human, in that regard); and his one great sin, if that is what it is to be called. That “sin” is having plagiarized in some speeches, and possibly in a term paper in his college years. This is certainly to be criticized, and it knocked him out of the 1988 Presidential race, which, however, was lucky, since he soon suffered an aneurysm, which required brain surgery. One could be concerned that he could have a repeat aneurysm, but it has been 27 years since that event, with no sign of that problem emerging.

The important thing, as always, with any Presidential candidate, is to have a strong, competent, decent running mate for Vice President, in case something tragic occurs, which can happen to anyone at any age! It is not a reason to dismiss someone for President, considering Lyndon B. Johnson’s heart troubles, and Dick Cheney’s multiple heart problems, among other cases of health issues (including John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt), faced by candidates for President and Vice President, as well as those holding the offices.

One thing is very clear! iF Joe Biden were to become President, he would do the nation proud, and we would know we have a President who has our backs, as he does not have a mean bone in his body, and really is compassionate and caring about all of us!

And also, Joe Biden is as close to an “average guy” as we will ever get, a guy who is likely close to the poorest politician throughout his career, living off his and his wife’s salaries, and off sales of his autobiography in recent years. He is not materialistic in the way other officeholders are, and has never had even a hint of scandal in his personal life or his financial life.

That is the kind of man that America deserves in the White House!

The Loss Of A Classic Great Governor: Reubin Askew Of Florida (1971-1979)

When one examines the history of state Governors throughout American history, one discovers that a very large percentage of them have performed horribly, with many mediocre at best, and very few standing out as exceptional in their performance in office.

We often say that the best place to look for Presidential candidates is to go to the states, and find effective Governors, who have proven their ability to govern.

But when we look, even at the present group of 50 Governors in the United States, it is hard to find many who give one a sense of optimism, as to their honesty, concern for the average citizen, and commitment to good government.

So when we do find such a Governor, he is to be treasured, although often not recognized adequately in his own lifetime.

Such a case is former Florida Governor Reubin Askew, easily rated the greatest Governor in Florida history.

But Askew is much more than that, as he is rated by scholars in one study as one of the top ten all time Governors in the history of all states since 1789!

Askew came out of obscurity in the Florida State legislature to serve two achievement filled terms as Governor of a state with a long list of mostly mediocre Governors. He was the first Florida Governor able to have two terms in office, due to a change in the state Constitution in 1967.

Askew was one of the NEW SOUTH Democratic Governors who came out of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and Arkansas Governors Dale Bumpers and Bill Clinton. Sadly, the Republican Party did NOT produce forward minded Governors then or since, and we see the product of it in such Governors as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other disastrous Southern Governors given their states by the GOP!

Askew was a liberal on racial issues, in a state not known for open mindedness and tolerance, in the years before 1970. He was able to overhaul the tax laws of the state, and to promote open government through “sunshine” laws, and also advocate environmental protection. Additionally, he promoted streamlining of the state government and courts, and also pushed ethics laws.

Askew had tremendous accomplishments, but was always very humble and decent as a human being, not letting his power to go to his head, a rare thing among state governors, past and present.

Askew was so highly regarded that he was offered the chance to be the Vice Presidential nominee with George McGovern in 1972, but turned it down. He also had a brief run for the Presidency in 1984 and for the Senate in 1988, but disliked having to work to raise campaign funds.

He was born to a poor family, worked his way through school, and never forgot the common touch, which in itself, made him a great man!

Florida and the nation have lost a true giant, a model for others, but not many are following in his footsteps, either in Florida or in other states around the nation, something to be mourned, as we mourn his death!

New Assertiveness By Barack Obama A Great Development!

President Barack Obama is not allowing obstructionist Republicans and conservatives to stop him in his determination to use his Presidential authority to bring about necessary change and social justice.

So Obama is declaring new national parks to add to the legacy of our environment, and prevent exploitation by private industry that would lead to mining and other destructive activities that undermine nature, just as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did when they were in the White House.

Obama is also moving to force many corporations, which have been skirting the rules on pay, to make them fork up overtime pay to workers who deserve it, but have been denied it by manipulative companies wishing to cheat them of their deserved compensation.

Obama has also taken action to promote a better future for young people, including working to convince them that they need to sign up for ObamaCare, as they are not immune from injury and illness, although young people tend to think they are indestructible, and do not understand that one illness or accident could put them into a total negative credit situation long term.

And Obama is trying to provide hope and opportunity for a particularly endangered species, young black males, who have had a far greater likelihood of a life cut short by violence, a life more likely to lead to prison and drug addiction, but lives that can be turned around by appropriate intervention by those who value every person as one who should be given equal chance for success and happiness.

This is the kind of President we need, one who cares about us, not about powerful, wealthy interests, who are never satisfied, no matter how much wealth and power they already have! This is a country and government of, by and for the people, not just the elite, powerful, and wealthy!