A One Term President?

Just a few days ago, the president did an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC. She happens to be one of the very few media people who I will tolerate for any length of time. Anyway,  the president said something very interesting. He said that he would rather be a very good one term president than a mediocre two term president. ( Paging Jimmy Carter, at least on the one term part.)

Let’s look at that statement for a moment. First though, a bit of history. Other than the pious Palestinian from Plains, the one term club includes George H W Bush, Herbert Hover and Martin van Buren.  Other than Carter, all were denied a second term by economic issues. The panic of 1837 domed Van Buren as he evidently lacked a Rahm( never waste  a good crisis) Emanuel to get him through the situation.

The point, which Sawyer did not seem to address, is that no president steps down voluntarily when doing a good job or even a mediocre one. We just do not see voluntary retirements from the Oval Office. Perhaps George Washington  I  guess, who could have served for life had he been willing. So, what did he mean by his comment? Maybe it was  just for effect, along with a later statement that he will continue ” full bore” to tackle the tough issues.

Perhaps it is time for the president to heed the words of an Elvis Presley song-a little less talk , a little more action.


January 28, 2010 Posted by | History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s Fighting Whose Wars?

Seems that a former senior CIA agent, Michael Scheuer, thinks we have some misplaced allegiances in the Middle East. Mr Scheuer was on  a C-Span call-in show  last Monday which degenerated into  an anti-Semitic gab fest.

Scheuer, with a number of callers agreed, thinks Israel is of no strategic importance to the United States. He also said that  American soldiers are dying in Iraq for the sake of Israel. He had this telling quote, ” Their association with us is a negative for the United States. Now that’s a fact. What you want about that fact is entirely different.” One more tidbit from Mr Scheuer. We should somehow “persuade”  Islamic terrorists who threaten us to” focus their anger” on Israel (as if they already do not)  and oppressive Middle Eastern regimes.

Wonder who he thinks is our most staunch ally in the Middle East, as well as the only thing country even close to having a freely elected government. Uh, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. None seem to ring a bell. As for the part about our troops dying for Israel, may we return briefly to Desert  Storm in 1991. If memory serves, we fought that war to liberate Kuwait and by extension keep Hussein away from Saudi Arabia. Israel suffered the indignity of repeated scud missile attacks without provocation. I also seem to remember our asking them to hold off on retaliation ( defend  themselves) which they did. Not sure of Mr Scheuer’s thoughts on that matter.

Add the above to this next Obama administration maneuver. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is heading over to do some tough talking to the Israelis( must have been reading from the playbook of the Palestinian from Plains) about restarting peace negotiations. He threatened a freeze in U S aid to Israel if  satisfactory progress is not made. No wonder that polls indicate  a large majority of Israelis are nervous about the state of relations with us.

Wonder if the letters Mitchell is bringing with him bring instructions about the division of Jerusalem as well as the two-state solution. Methinks Israel is right to be ill at ease. For greater discussion of  the issues and insight as to why we should have a strong relationship with Israel, visit   Joel Rosenberg’s blog .It  gives one  a good perspective on Israel in particular as well as the Middle East as a whole.


January 9, 2010 Posted by | International politics, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Wisdom(?) of Jimmy Carter

President of these United States, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Governor of Georgia and Plains,Ga’s favorite son. Who is it? Why, of course, it is James Earl Carter, Jr. I was living in Georgia at the time Mr Carter came  from   nowhere and  became   president. For a long time I thought that he was not a very good president but probably our best former president.

The C-SPAN historians rankings see him a better president than I did; ranking him 22nd in the year 2000 and 25th in 2009. At least his rankings are headed in the right direction. Anyway, back to his post presidency  period.  He left office in 1981 at the relatively young age of 57. Since than he has been quite involved in Habitat,which was founded in Georgia, in election watching, and in the Carter Center. Founded in 1982 by he and his wife, the organization has worked to ease suffering and  advance human rights worldwide. His work there earned Carter the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

So, no problems right? Just a moment. Personally, I have been nagged for some time with the feeling that Mr Carter was more sanctimonious than necessary and tended to speak with an air of superior moral authority.He has been outspoken in recent years about the cause of the Palestinians versus Israel and has not earned friends in Israel for that. His 2006 book, entitled,Palestine:Peace not Apartheid, was not only pro-Arab but “blessed” with a number of factual errors.( For example, Arafat never called for the destruction of Israel. )He published  a new book this year about peace in the Middle East and in at least one interview about that book called his previous one balanced-Ok.

Among other things that Mr Carter has done is to monitor elections around the world. His Carter Center has monitored more than 70 elections in various countries in the last 20 years. Lots of moral high ground here.

I think he honestly believes that he holds the moral high ground, so what must be the reasoning for his latest comments. Yep, calling Joe Wilson’s comment  indicative of racist attitudes that still exist, rooted in racism is the terminology he employed. Wilson’s son, predictably, disagreed. Not so predictably so did the Obama Administration through spokesman Robert Gibbs. Nor did GOP chairman Michael Steele think much of the comment.

So, why did Carter make the comments? To stir up controversy, don’t  think so. I think he genuinely believed what he said,whether or not he was familiar with Joe Wilson. That is the kind of ting that has me wishing he would drive more nails and stay more out of politics.

Gotta get this in. His latest Mideast book has been “endorsed” by none other than Osama Bin Laden. Wonder what his opinion on that might be?

September 16, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments