Posts Tagged Jimmy Carter
For anyone who wonders when the Presidential Election campaign of 2016 will begin, it is now clear that it has begun this month, May 2013, with the Republican Party unwilling to change its image, policies or beliefs, and setting out to destroy the candidate who is favored by 65 percent of the American people, former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton!
Hillary Clinton is accustomed to massive assaults on her character, her ethics, her public record, as she became the most attacked First Lady in American History, with possibly the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who like Hillary Clinton, represented a fundamental set of principles and values that terrified conservatives and Republicans in the 1930s, and again in the 1990s.
So Hillary Clinton, a very tough lady, must decide if she is willing to take the heat, venom, poison, and utter contempt that she will have visited on her over the next three and a half years. Her husband was vilified from DAY ONE, and yet managed to produce a record far superior to earlier or later Bush Presidencies.
Hillary Clinton, if she decides ultimately to run for the White House, will have to deal, also, with the reality that when and if she becomes President, she will not have a restful day, but that is par for the course, as it was for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama.
But as long as the American people continue to see her as the first woman President, who see her as a visionary who will fight the good fight against the Right Wing hate machine on Capitol Hill, on Talk Radio, and on Fox News Channel, as well as powerful pressure groups that work against the interests of the masses of the American people, she will triumph and make the Republicans like it, and if they do not, she will have the personality to condemn them openly, and not be as “nice” as Obama has been, to his own detriment!
For those of us who are Presidential junkies, the only time we see a group of Presidents and First Ladies together in public is at openings of Presidential libraries, and at funerals of Presidents and First Ladies.
Since these do not happen very often in either regard, today’s gathering of five Presidents and five First Ladies at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, was an exciting moment, no matter how one feels about the Presidency of George W. Bush.
Seeing Jimmy Carter looking hale and hearty; George H. W. Bush in a wheelchair in obviously poor health although only being less than four months older than Carter; Bill Clinton his usual talkative, charismatic self; George W. Bush being very positive, despite the clear cut failures of his time in office; and Barack Obama, always good with saying the right things, was fascinating!
Seeing Rosalynn Carter and Barbara Bush looking good, considering their advanced age; Hillary Clinton looking ready to run for President any time now; Laura Bush being her usual sweet self; and Michelle Obama looking always as an elegant lady, was also very inspiring!
Of course, Nancy Reagan, while not mentioned, was absent, as she is in her early 90s and not in good health.
And we saw the two daughters of Lyndon Johnson and of Richard Nixon, along with the daughter of Gerald Ford, but no other Presidential children, other than the two daughters of George W. Bush, of course! But only Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman, was present, not the son and daughter of Nancy Reagan, Ron Jr. and Patti. And neither was Caroline Kennedy, or the other children of Gerald Ford, and none of the children of Jimmy Carter, or the Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea!
In any case, for those who are into photographs of a group of Presidents or First Ladies, today was a very good day!
Every American President has obvious attributes and shortcomings, and the job of historians is to assess both, and come up with a reasonable conclusion on the tenure of each occupant in the White House.
George W. Bush has now been out of office for four years and three months, and has stayed out of the public eye and controversy, unlike his controversial Vice President, Dick Cheney.
Bush’s purpose in life is to begin the rehabilitation of his shattered image, primarily based on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the economic collapse in his last months, known as the Great Recession.
This is a lot to overcome, and having allowed Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to have so much impact on policy making does not help Bush’s quest to be seen as a President who did his best in difficult times.
Tomorrow, at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, a few hundred miles from his father’s library in College Station on the campus of Texas A & M, all four former Presidents will be present, along with President Obama, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and many other dignitaries.
The new library will allow visitors to make judgments on whether they would have done any differently in the major crises of his eight years in office.
The library also avoids much attention paid to Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush’s political genius, Karl Rove, who, like them, remains highly controversial and divisive in the minds of many Americans.
It will be argued that Bush is trying to manipulate history, and of course he is, but every President in his library attempts that.
Will a reassessment of Bush change the view of C Span scholars who in 2009, rated him 36th of 42 men who have been President?
Likely, over time, and particularly after his future demise, whenever that is, the image of George W. Bush will rise somewhat from the depths, but it is hard to imagine him going higher than say number 30 out of 43, and certainly, there is NO chance that he will surpass his father, rated 18th out of 42 in the C Span poll in 2009.
Today is the 44th Earth Day, first promoted by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, and endorsed by President Richard Nixon.
The environmental movement has had its successes under Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
At the same time, the environmentalists have had major setbacks under Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, particularly under Reagan and the second Bush, the two worst environmental Presidents of the last century, while Carter and Nixon stand out as the best environmental Presidents after Theodore Roosevelt.
The corporate world has been responsible for much of the damage to our environment since the Industrial Age, with their mad dash for profits and lack of concern for the health and safety of the people in the areas they produced steel, mined coal, drilled oil, and the myriad of other industrial activities that produced a massive wealth ending up in the hands of a small oligarchy. They exploited their workers and took advantage of consumers, along with destruction of the environment, and without any apologies. And they still have massive influence with both parties, and any ability to deal with the issue of environmental damage is always counteracted by the financial resources of corporations out to prevent any major changes in policy and regulation.
So while progress has been made over these years since 1970, there is still a massive battle for the future of the nation’s environmental health over the long term. Environmentalists cannot let up their battles on Capitol Hill and in the courts!
A Time For Foreign Policy Experts To Be Utilized Over Korean Crisis–Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Richardson, Jon Huntsman
The crisis that has arisen over North Korea’s bullying and nuclear threats represents a danger to international stability in Asia, worrying not only the United States, but also South Korea and Japan, and even next door neighbor China.
Kim Jong Un, 29 years old, is clearly a wild card in the greatest description of the term, and could incite a major war that could devastate prosperous South Korea, and endanger US troops there and in Japan and the American territory of Guam, along with what seems like crazy threats to Hawaii, California, Texas, and Washington DC.
The new Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have their hands full, and rationality and balance in response is required of President Barack Obama in what could become the major foreign policy crisis of his administration.
In the past, former Presidents and Vice Presidents have been utilized as contacts with North Korea—meaning Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore, along with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
Additionally, former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is an acknowledged expert on China and its neighbors.
It might be time to utilize Carter, Clinton, Gore, Richardson or Huntsman to figure out how to communicate with Kim Jong Un and resolve the tinderbox without war. President Obama would be wise to consider such diplomacy, in order to cut down the chance of war that no one can win!
In recent years, the idea has developed that anyone can be a politician, even if no experience in government.
Therefore, we have had a businessman, Herman Cain, who operated a pizza corporation, and ran as a candidate for President in 2012.
We have been told that government should be run as if is a corporation, but government is NOT the same as business.
Now we have a brilliant neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, who is renowned for saving many children’s l lives, who is considering running for President in 2016, just as Herman Cain did in 2012.
Both, and others like them, are to be commended for their successes in their chosen fields, but neither, and often others, such as Donald Trump, who has flirted many times with running for President, are unwilling to work their way up through the state legislatures, state executive branch, the House of Represenatatives, or the US Senate, or working in a Presidential cabinet or major role in the military before running for President..
No matter how competent they are in their fields of business, medicine, or any other occupation, that does not mean that they should be seen as ready to jump into the fray, and believe, without ANY political and governmental experience, that they are qualified, or have any clue as to what runnning a government is all about.
It trivializes politics and government, as it would be if someone knowing nothing about history or math or science or whatever, goes in and teaches a class to college students, or someone who has never studied and practiced law or medicine or accounting or whatever, suddenly claims they are qualified to be engage in those professions!
This has nothing to do with whether it is Republicans or Democrats, or men or women, or people of different ethniciities or racial backgrounds!
The point is that many critics of Barack Obama claim he had too little experience in government, when he actually had TWELVE years in public office.
Many other Presidents have had less experience than Obama, including Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. But all of them had some government experience. And Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ullyses S. Grant had years of military experience, which also qualifies as knowledge to operate a government. And even Mitt Romney ran the state government of Massachusetts before running for President!
45 years ago on this day, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, ending his brief but eventful life at the age of 39.
Since his death, the vicious attacks on his nonviolent disobedience tactic in the civil rights movement has been rejected, except by the extreme right wing, which still contends that King and his followers were “communists”, the automatic accusation used whenever anyone challenges the establishment in any form.
King is now memorialized by the national holiday, and the King Memorial in Washington DC makes him also a national figure of massive proportions, as he was in life.
One has to wonder what King would have been like, had he survived until today at the age of 84.
Would his contributions have been greater, and would civil rights have advanced further than it has since his death?
Would he have become a factor in future elections in a way that might have changed the course of history?
What would have been his effect on the prosecution of the Vietnam War under Richard Nixon?
How would he have reacted to Jimmy Carter as the first Southern President since Zachary Taylor in 1848?
How would the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II Presidencies have interacted with him, assuming everything politically would have been the same?
And finally, how would King have reacted to Barack Obama and his leadership in the Presidency?
Would American foreign policy and domestic policy have been influenced much by a live Martin Luther King, Jr?
All of this is speculative, but it is clear the nation lost a great deal with King’s untimely death in 1968!
A very important measurement of Presidential leadership is to evaluate their interest in the advancement of science, and their willingness to support scientific research as a major part of their administrative goals.
Sadly, many Presidents have shown a lack of interest in the advancement of science, and presently, we have a group of KNOW NOTHINGS in the Republican Party who would rather promote religion in government, and deny evolution and global warming, and are generally antagonistic to any suggestion of the advancement of science, such as Barack Obama newly suggesting an investment through the National Institutes of Health to fund $100 million to work on the mapping of the human brain, which could lead to research and advancement in the study of mental illness, and such other major problems as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinson Disease. But in the Sequester environment we are now in, and the push for austerity by the GOP, it will be difficult for the vision of the study of the brain to be understood as a worthwhile and significant investment!
In any case, the Presidents who can be seen as having advanced science include the following,
Thomas Jefferson–arguably the most science oriented of all Presidents, a true genius and intellectual, who sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition for its scientific value, as well as the exploration of a large part of the American continent.
John Quincy Adams—a promoter of federal support of the arts and sciences, and helped to promote astronomical studies, and helped to form the Smithsonian Institution, for which he laid the cornerstone in 1846, as well as the US Naval Observatory.
Abraham Lincoln—-promoted the scientific study of agriculture, and signed legislation establishing the National Academy of Sciences.
James A. Garfield—tragically killed early in his term, but a promoter of mathematical studies, devising a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, and promoted funding for agricultural research. Garfield was a great intellectual, and in many ways, was a tragic loss of a President whose potential for greatness was lost so quickly!
Theodore Roosevelt—was a great promoter of nature and conservation of natural resources, quadrupling our national parks and national forest lands. He also set up the US Forestry Service, and went on a dangerous trip to map the Amazon River Basin and discover new species of animal and plant life.
Herbert Hoover—a brilliant mining engineer, and elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and a great intellectual, who was sadly a disaster in the White House, despite his credentials.
Franklin D. Roosevelt—managed the challenge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, in his promotion of forest conservation, watersheds, and agriculture, and also worked with Albert Einstein and others in development of the atomic bomb to help win World War II.
Harry Truman—signed legislation setting up the National Science Foundation, and saw the need for greater funding of scientific research.
Dwight D. Eisenhower—promoted the beginning of the space program and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in response to the Russian putting of Sputnik I in space in 1957.
John F. Kennedy—promoted the space program goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and was a great promoter of science in other ways as well.
Lyndon B. Johnson—promoted the completion of the moon landing, and encouraged more students to go into science through federal fellowships and grants.
Jimmy Carter—received a Bachelor of Science degree with specialty in nuclear physics from the US Naval Academy, and promoted energy conservation research, with creation of the Energy Department in the cabinet, and signed legislation for the original funding of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ronald Reagan—promoted the Space Shuttle and a space station, and although flawed, wanted to encourage a system to stop nuclear attack, known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Bill Clinton—promoted the Human Genome Project and the International Space Station as important for the advancement of science.
Barack Obama—is now promoting human brain research, and has called for action against global warming, and the importance of the study of evolution in science classes.
In the past half century, four Democratic nominees for President, all considered “underdogs”, were elected President.
John F. Kennedy was an underdog in 1960, being a Roman Catholic nominee, thought unlikely to be nominated or elected, but defeating Vice President Richard Nixon, who was far better known.
Jimmy Carter was an underdog in 1976, the first Southern nominee for President since Zachary Taylor in 1848, and really considered the longest of long shots to be the Democratic nominee, and yet won the Presidency over President Gerald Ford.
Bill Clinton was an underdog in 1992, considered part of the “second tier” of possible Democratic nominees for President, and thought to be “dead in the water”, due to the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal, but managing to be the “Comeback Kid”, and win the nomination and the election against President George H. W. Bush.
And Barack Obama was certainly considered an underdog to Hillary Clinton in 2008, and being African American, seemed a particularly “long shot” to go all the way to the Presidency, defeating Senator John McCain of Arizona.
All four Democratic winners all had youth–Kennedy at 43, Carter at 52, Clinton at 46, and Obama at 47 years of age. And get this–these four men were elected exactly SIXTEEN years apart–1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008!
Could this happen again?
Hillary Clinton is seen as the clear front runner, and Joe Biden is the second established “veteran” in the potential race for President in 2016.
But could it be that Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, or Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, or Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, or Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, or Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, or a future Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, or Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts would end up as a sudden surprise during the primaries and caucuses in 2016, and emerge the nominee and the winner of the Presidency?
Who can say, but the past COULD be an indicator of the future!
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and whether Irish or not, the nation tends to celebrate it, almost as if it is a national holiday.
It turns out that fully half of our 43 Presidents–a total of 22– have Irish roots, including:
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Chester Alan Arthur
John F. Kennedy
George H. W. Bush
George W. Bush
It is interesting how exactly half (11) were in the Presidency before 1900, and the same number (11) since 1900, with nine of the modern eleven Irish Presidents with Irish roots since 1961!