Tag Archives: Jimmy Carter

Who Will The Republican Party Pick?

As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, I see the field narrowing very quickly. Let’s start with who’s in and who’s not. Haley Barbour said he isn’t running. Rep. Mike Pence, whose named was tossed about, would rather be governor of Indiana. Personally, I think Pence is making the strategic calculation that Obama’s going to win and the election in 2016 will be much easier with some executive experience under his belt. From what I’ve heard and read, I don’t think Sarah Palin will really get in race. I don’t think Mike Huckabee will either. Donald Trump is obviously making waves, but even if he gets in the race he won’t last long. He’s just playing on the right’s dislike of the President. He hasn’t put forth any real ideas. Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman seems to be in the field, but I don’t see him winning. The “he worked for Obama” argument will kill his campaign. Rick Santorum isn’t an unlikely choice, but his appeal to social conservatives isn’t going to separate him from the pack. I think Santorum could prove to be a valuable running mate for some of the other candidates. While any of these folks might get in the race I don’t think they really have a chance.

This brings me to the four that I think are most interesting Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Herman Cain. I don’t think Bachmann has a real shot at the nomination, but if she runs she could influence who does. She’s very popular with the Tea Party. Appealing to the Tea Party is going to be important to get both votes and money. I think you’re likely to see the support of American’s For Prosperity and similar groups going toward the most Tea Partyish candidates. This is why gaining her endorsement (and Sarah Palin’s) could be important. It might also make her a choice as a running mate, but she comes with baggage. Her Sarah Palinesque style and “slightly off-camera” speech delivery along with the fact that she was a Democrat who volunteered for Jimmy Carter, might make her not worth it.

Mitt Romney is often called the front-runner these days. Romney is charismatic and presidential looking. He’s a decent public speaker. He does have issues though. He is the former governor of not only a blue state, but perhaps the bluest of them all. Massachusetts has only fallen to Republicans four times since 1928. “Romneycare” will be a stumbling block. I believe 2012 will feel a lot like 2008 for Mitt Romney.

Tim Pawlenty is the quintessential Republican candidate. He’s a former Governor which is important. Only three sitting senators (Warren Harding, John Kennedy, and Barack Obama) have been elected president. James Garfield is the only member of the House to be elected president. The others were primarily governors. Americans seem to like the idea that governing a state is much like governing the country.  He’s a devout Christian, has a record of fiscal conservatism, and is one of the few Republicans that will appear on the Daily Show. The fact that he will go into an environment that obviously disagrees with him will help him gain some independents. If Republicans want to defeat President Obama, Pawlenty is their best chance. However, there is one candidate that brings something different to the table.

Herman Cain is an unusual candidate, and I think he may actually put up a fight. He has no political experience. That could work to his advantage as he faces an electorate largely disillusioned with politics. He is a successful businessman, and many people feel that an experienced CEO would make an experienced Executive. On top of that he’s an African-American who has a better chance of connecting to that community. The President enjoyed what would appear to many as an exotic childhood. He was raised in Hawaii and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. Herman Cain, however, is a black, Christian man from Georgia. He attended Morehouse College, and was the first person in his family to earn a degree. Herman Cain has more in common with many black people than the President. He provides the Republican party with an opportunity to show that they are diverse and represent the interests of all Americans. That paired with the fact that drawing the votes of disillusioned, working class African-Americans who are begging for a reason to believe in the American Dream could spell doom for Democrats.

It is very early to be speculating about the next election. Polls from this far out are almost always wrong, but Republicans are at a crossroads. They can choose to remain the establishment that they have been, or follow a new more conservative path. The best part of this choice is that it will lie with the people who support the party. Establishment Republicans could not be happier if the status quo is maintained. Their constituents may have a different opinion. Interestingly, I hope the status quo is maintained. If I have to choose between the Republican I know, and one who may be far more conservative, my choice is clear.

My Top 5 Favorite Presidents

So I’ve decided on something I think could be interesting to post, my favorite Presidents. Before I present this list I have to make a few concessions. First, Barack Obama cannot be included in this list, because he is currently President. I don’t like the fact that people rate current Presidents among the best or worst. Until their term is complete we do not truly know how to rank them. Second, this is not a list of the best presidents, just my favorites, for various reasons. They may not have had the most successful terms. So here we go.

#5) Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland is possibly the United States’ most unusual president. He is the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms.  In his first term he used his veto power more than all his predecessors combined. He saw the Presidency as the one blockade to congressional overreach. That record held until FDR. In a fact I recently learned, he is also one of only six Presidents whose official portraits show them with facial hair. He happens to be the only Democrat.

#4)Jimmy Carter

It is hard to argue about Jimmy Carter. Again, I have to reiterate that I’m not talking about the best Presidents. His presidential term has never been considered among the most successful. We should consider a few things though. One, the Iranian hostage crisis was not really forseeable.  It is difficult to gauge the temperament of another country. When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed Pres. Carter could have done little to prevent it. Here at home he made one very good decision that proved highly unpopular. With the U.S. economy in recession, he appointed Paul Volcker to  the Federal Reserve. Against the opinion of his political advisors, he told Volcker to do what it took to restore the economy. He never really got credit for that unpopular decision. Volcker’s actions did restore the economy. After his Presidency, Carter has continued to be the class act he always was. He and his wife Roslyn are an example to us all. This is a President of the United States, who after being the most powerful man in the world, used his bare hands to build houses for the poor. Perhaps no better man has ever held the office.

#3) James Madison

Madison has a very solid reputation in the legend of this country. He was the principal author of the Constitution. He was a major contributor to the Federalist Papers. Madison was more than that however. It is famously described that his wife, Dolly, rescued the portrait of George Washington during the fall of the Executive Mansion, and Washington, D.C. That battle lead to one of Madison’s lesser known distinctions. While many American Presidents have been military leaders, Madison is the only serving President to lead American troops into combat. That has to gain you respect, even if you didn’t write the most important document in the formation of our nation. Which he did.

#2) Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It’s tough as a liberal not to include FDR. He was undoubtedly a man of vision. At a time of crisis, he knew what needed to happen and was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish it. The United States has never come closer to having a dictator than FDR. He came to the Presidency in one of a few times when this nation could have disintegrated and he was willing to do anything to prevent that. Many Presidents may have had convictions as strong as FDR, but none was as convincing. None faced the deep problems that he did, and yet he became the longest-serving President ever. He was truly a giant among men.

#1) Theodore Roosevelt

My favorite President could have been a tie with #2. In fact, they are related. Teddy Roosevelt was by every measure of the phrase, larger than life. He was a war hero, a politician, and  a man who saw the United States and the American President, as a world power, 20-40 years before it was actually true. He was a Republican, a Progressive, and the Father of our National Parks. One of his great accomplishments was the construction of the Panama Canal. The canal is one of the most significant achievements of the 20th century. He undoubtedly possessed a once in a lifetime mind.

This was a quick list, but I think it shows what I consider important about the Presidency. Presidents need to be considered for much more than the outcomes of their actions, but for the intentions and convictions. If we continue to elect people of brilliant capacity, people in the mold of these five, will we endure as a country.