Jimmy Carter

One Term Presidencies That Mattered: Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush!

President Joe Biden stated at his end of first year press conference yesterday, that he planned to run for a second term in 2024, and that Kamala Harris would again be his running mate.

That is to be expected at this time, but by early 2023, Biden will need to make a final decision on running, so as to open the race to alternative choices if he announces he will retire.

The concept that a President must seek reelection was not the case with three Presidents, who decided not to run–James K. Polk in 1848, James Buchanan in 1860, and Rutherford Hayes in 1880. But Polk, despite not running for another term, is considered to have accomplished his goals, and as it turns out, his health was not good, and he died 105 days after leaving office in 1849.

Buchanan and Hayes are not considered to have had successful terms, and they may have sensed that they could not win reelection.

Other one term Presidents, such as Benjamin Harrison and Herbert Hoover, had horrible depressions to deal with, helping to cause their defeats in 1892 and 1932, and William Howard Taft had a split in his party with former President Theodore Roosevelt, which doomed his campaign for reelection in 1912.

Gerald Ford was a special situation, having not been elected, succeeding Richard Nixon, and having a bad economy, which doomed his desire for election to a full term in 1976, although he is considered in a kind manner at this point, having worked to unite America after the Watergate Scandal and resignation of Nixon.

But the two most recent Presidents defeated for reelection, before Donald Trump, had real accomplishments in office, although they were unable to win a second term, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Clearly, all Presidents since Rutherford Hayes in 1880, who have survived a term, have attempted to be reelected, but since Biden will be 82 years old weeks after the Presidential Election of 2024, he might decide not to run, or his health might be such that he is told he should not run.

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Jimmy Carter Closing In On 15,000 Days In Retirement From Presidency On Valentine’s Day!

Former President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) keeps adding to his record as the longest lived American President, being now 97 years, 3 months, and 17 days, at this writing!

His wife, Rosalynn Carter, is 94, and 5 months, as this writing, and the couple are married more than 75 years!

On January 20, Carter will have been out of the Presidency for 41 years, nearly ten years more than Herbert Hoover!

And hard to believe, Carter will be closing in on 15,000 days in retirement from the Presidency on Valentine’s Day, February 14!

Carter is amazing, and the longer he lives, the more his stature rises, as he is certainly considered the greatest retired President, in the sense of his contributions to American society and the world community, through his commitments to the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Carter is such a good, decent human being, and he will always stand out for his major accomplishments, including the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt; the Panama Canal Treaty; diplomatic relations with China; the promotion of human rights in foreign policy; his presiding over three Cabinet agencies being created (Education, Health and Human Services, Energy); his promotion of diversity in his appointments to all kinds of posts; and his exceptional environmental record, the greatest of any one term President, and considered the third best by Environmental historians, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon!

Comparing Kamala Harris To Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for nearly a year, and has faced brutal criticism and attacks, and suggestions by some that she resign, because she has not been assertive in the role of Vice President.

Of course, these suggestions come from Fox News Channel anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who are actively involved in attempting a coverup of the events of January 6, 2021, even though they were stunned by the events of that day, and tried to reach Donald Trump to express their dismay.

It is insulting that conservative supporters of the January 6 Insurrection have the gall to attack Kamala Harris, when the major issue is that she is a woman, and of mixed African and Asian American heritage, as her father is from Jamaican origin and her mother of Asian Indian origin.

Who are the critics turning to as models?

Is it Mike Pence, who refused to speak up at all to Donald Trump for four years, but at least had the guts to uphold the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden on January 6, facing the threat of being hanged by rioters? That is his only redeeming quality.

Or is it Dick Cheney, who while qualified by experience, was a dangerous, out of control Vice President, under George W. Bush, who enriched himself by America’s engagement in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through leadership of Haliburton, and endorsed the use of torture against war prisoners?

Or is it Dan Quayle, who made everyone nervous for four years about the health of George H. W. Bush, as Quayle demonstrated how dumb and clueless he was?

Or was it Spiro Agnew, who resigned from office as a felon, after nearly five years a heartbeat away from the Presidency under Richard Nixon?

The only truly reputable Republican Vice President in the past half century was George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan! Although it must be said that the abbreviated Vice Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford was also decent!

Meanwhile, Democrats could be proud of their Vice Presidents—Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and Joe BIden under Barack Obama!

Kamala Harris is in the tradition of decency and dignity of Mondale, Gore, and Biden, and will do a fine job over the next three years, with her excellent qualification as former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General, and US Senator!

Effect Of John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Reverberates On America 58 Years Later!

This author and blogger was a sophomore in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

It was the most stunning event of my life until the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Kennedy assassination transformed American politics dramatically, both in good ways and bad ways.

It brought about the possibility of the greatest period of reform since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, with Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society.

But it also brought on a devastating long term war in Vietnam, and the beginning of disillusionment with government at all levels.

Had Robert F. Kennedy survived and won the Presidential Election of 1968, instead of being assassinated after winning the California primary in June 1968, the potential for more great reform and change, and to avoid the Presidency of Richard Nixon, would have existed.

WIth RFK’s death, after the earlier tragedy of JFK, America was put into a permanent decline in hope and optimism for the next forty years, as even the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 did not revive the hopes of the Kennedy legacy.

Instead, we had Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cause great regression in so many ways, as Richard Nixon had done earlier.

Barack Obama was a bright light, but faced great opposition, and the horrors of Donald Trump as his succession!

Joe Biden, who has a bust of RFK behind him on the left in all photos when he is sitting at his desk, is trying to revive the Kennedy legacy of hope and promise, and has made a good start.

But it is clear the two Kennedy assassinations in the early and late 1960s have left a permanent scar on the nation!

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy Will Retire At End Of 2022, After Serving As Third Longest Serving Senator!

Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy will retire at the end of his 8th Senate term at the end of 2022, after an amazing 48 years in the upper body of Congress!

He will leave office as the third longest serving US Senator in the 234 years of that historic institution, only behind Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who served 51.5 years, and Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who served just short of 50 years.

At the moment, he is fourth longest serving, behind Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who served 47 years and a bit more than 5 months, which Leahy will pass in June 2022.

Leahy just passed Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in total service in late October 2021.

Leahy is the last member of Congress elected in 1974, and the only sitting Senator to have served while Gerald Ford was President, and also to have served while Jimmy Carter was President.

Leahy is the only Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Vermont, as Bernie Sanders always ran as an Independent. Leahy is easily the longest serving Vermont Senator as well.

Leahy has been, in his long career, Chairman of the Agriculture, Judiciary, and Appropriations Committees, and is President Pro Tempore of the Senate, third in line of Presidential succession.

Leahy also presided over the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in 2021.

Had Leahy chosen to run for an unprecedented 9th term, he would easily have been reelected and in 2026, would have become the longest serving US Senator ever!

Leahy is a premier liberal and progressive throughout his career, and will be nearing the age of 83 when he retires at the beginning of 2023.

Leahy is a great figure in the history of the Senate, and will be missed when he leaves office!

A Year After Joe Biden Election, Major Economic Advancements In Midst Of COVID 19 Pandemic!

A year since Joe Biden was elected President, the nation has seen major economic advancements in the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

We have seen 5.6 million jobs created, the greatest of any President in nine months in office.

We have seen 531,000 jobs created in October alone.

We have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, similar to what Barack Obama left the nation when he finished his Presidency in January 2017.

The Stock Market is at an all time high as I write this!

We have seen major Pandemic relief legislation, and now a massive Physical Infrastructure bill ready to be signed by Joe Biden.

The Social Infrastructure legislation is making progress, at a lower rate than originally planned, but still in the range of $1.75 trillion.

We are seeing greater progress than was possible by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and even Barack Obama in their first year.

Joe Biden is on the way to being the most successful domestic President since Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This is the time to promote and publicize the great advancements, and make the case for the Democrats to have expanded majorities in both houses of Congress in 2022 and beyond.

Joe Biden, Barack Obama, George W Bush Honor 9/11, While Donald Trump Is Making Money Off It!

Today, the 20th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is a day to mourn and memorialize the 2,977 victims of the Al Qaeda attack on America.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are attending all three sites to honor and show respect for what happened.

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama are attending the ceremonies in New York City.

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush are attending ceremonies in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, honoring the passengers of Flight 93 who brought the terrorist controlled plane down, preventing the intended attack on the US Capitol.

Former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be attending the ceremonies in New York City.

Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will be at home in Plains, Georgia, not involved in public events, and preserving their health as Carter nears 97 years of age on October 1, and Mrs. Carter has just passed age 94, perfectly understandable.

Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Douglas Emhoff are also attending ceremonies in Shanksville Pennsylvania, and later will join President Biden at the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump will avoid all three sites, and instead be in Hollywood, Florida to give commentary on boxing matches at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, making income off those who choose to pay $50 to gain access to his statements about the boxing matches, and joined by his son, Donald Trump Jr.

Trump did issue a statement praising the sacrifices of those who died twenty years ago, but felt a need to put in a criticism of President Biden over the withdrawal from Afghanistan, forgetting that Trump initiated the final withdrawal in a deal with the Taliban, scheduled for May 2021, delayed by Biden for a few months.

So the lies, deceit, hypocrisy, and lack of concern for unity of Donald Trump, and the desire to divide the nation after having engaged in treason and sedition on January 6, 2021, continues!

47th Anniversary Of Richard Nixon Resignation, And Gerald Ford Becoming The 38th President!

Today, August 9, in 1974, the nation and the world witnessed Richard Nixon resigning the Presidency.

The event also elevated Gerald Ford to become the 38th President, and the only one NOT elected Vice President or President, due to the 25th Amendment, which saved the nation after Vice President Spiro Agnew had earlier resigned in October 1973, due to corruption charges.

If there were no 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, Speaker of the House Carl Albert, a Democrat, with no desire to be President, and having a well known liquor problem, would have been the successor to the Oval Office.

Certainly, Albert would have been preferable to Spiro Agnew.

But despite controversy over Ford pardoning Nixon on September 8, 1974, which was a major factor in his defeat to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Presidential election, Ford has been perceived in recent decades as the “right” person in a time of turmoil.

One can criticize President Ford, but also, one can see that Ford calmed the nation and in many ways, has been perceived in a better light over the decades.

The “Ups And Downs” Of Ranking Presidents Over Time

Historically, many Presidents have gone through periods of low esteem, and then, suddenly, high esteem in the minds of public opinion and also, Presidential scholars.

Abraham Lincoln had a very divided nation in response after his assassination, and only in the early 20th century, did the nation decide to honor Lincoln with the construction of the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1922. He has been rated Number One by just about every Presidential scholar and poll, except those right wing Confederate sympathizers and white supremacists

Harry Truman left office in 1953 with a very low public opinion rating, and was regarded poorly in assessments of Presidents, until after he passed away in 1972. In the next five years, as TIME Magazine termed it in the late 1970s, we had “Truman Mania”, as massive research and writing on Truman caused his rise in stature to as high as Number 5 in scholarly polls on Presidents.

Dwight D. Eisenhower left office with an image of a passive, lazy President, and the vitality and youth of his successor, John F. Kennedy, did not improve his image, and he was seen as not an outstanding President. But his historical reputation has risen dramatically to the point that in many scholarly assessments, he is now seen as number 5 or 6 among all Presidents.

Lyndon B. Johnson suffered mightily in assessments due to the Vietnam War, despite his amazing domestic accomplishments of the “Great Society”, and was poorly rated for 20 years. But now, he is somewhere between number 9 and 11 in rankings of Presidents.

Jimmy Carter has never risen from the mid to low 20s in rankings and popularity, but it seems possible to imagine that when the longest lived President eventually passes away, that his rating may go up much more than many might now imagine.