Tag Archives: Jimmy Carter

What happened to Meghan?

Hey, I swear I remember Meghan McCain — the former “The View” co-host who’s taken on a new gig as a columnist for a British newspaper — saying how she “loves” President Biden and would be hard-pressed to say anything negative about him.

Now she writes in The Daily Mail that Joe Biden is on track to be a “worse” president than Jimmy Carter.

Whoa, Meghan McCain! Hold the phone!

MEGHAN McCAIN: Joe Biden is shaping up to be a worse president than Jimmy Carter  | Daily Mail Online

McCain is the daughter, let’s recall, of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, one of Joe Biden’s best friends in the Senate. McCain was a Republican; Biden is a Democrat. Their friendship was forged shortly after McCain joined a Senate staff as a military adviser to a committee on which Biden served.

Now the young woman who said she “loves” the president has turned on him, calling him feckless, unreliable and cantankerous.

Look, she’s entitled to change her mind about politicians, even those who hold occupy a special place in her heart. I am just waiting, though, for an explanation from Meghan McCain on the dramatic change in her feelings toward the president of the United States.

As for President Biden being “worse” than President Carter, I need to remind McCain that Jimmy Carter did manage to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Egypt … which has held firm and solid through thick and thin.

So, let’s stop with the Carter-bashing. Hmmm?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Biden honors Carter

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden ventured today to Georgia to do two things.

He sought to tout the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office. Biden also paid a visit to one of his first political heroes, Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president.

President and Mrs. Biden visited former President and Mrs. Carter at their home in Plains, Ga.

He said something, though, that I want to echo. “He showed us throughout his entire life what it means to be a public servant,” Biden said of Carter.

President Carter is 96 years of age now. His health keeps him home most of the time. He and his wife of 70-plus years, Rosalynn, have dedicated their lives to advancing the work of the Carter Center in Atlanta and, of course, in the former president’s efforts to build homes for Americans in need for Habitat for Humanity.

Biden was a young U.S. senator in 1976 when he endorsed the former Georgia governor’s bid for the presidency. That endorsement forged a friendship that has lasted all these decades.

At so many levels, President Carter has shown us how to serve others. The former president doesn’t appear intent on forging his own historical niche, but his commitment to serving others is worthy of high honor.

Are we better off? Umm, no!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ronald Reagan once asked famously during a 1980 presidential debate with President Carter whether the nation was “better off than we were four years ago.”

The question seared the audience that heard him ask it. Voters responded on Election Day 1980 with a stunning verdict: The answer was “no,” and they delivered a landslide victory to Reagan.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor and an acknowledged Democratic partisan, asked  that question today in terms of Donald Trump’s tenure as president. The answer, according to Emanuel, is an equally resounding “no.”

Therein lies the reason why Trump lost his bid for a second term, just as President Carter lost his own second-term run 40 years ago. The nation is fundamentally worse off today than we were when Trump took office.

Trump has presided over a horrendous coarsening of our national debate; he has inflicted heavy damage on our international alliances; Trump has governed by chaos and tossed continuity into the crapper; the POTUS has made full-throated lying an acceptable form of communication … and we have the pandemic.

I will not blame Trump for the virus that has killed more than 300,000 Americans. I do blame him fully for the shabby, shoddy and shameful response he has orchestrated. He lied to us about its severity from the get-go; he has contradicted the advice of his medical experts; Trump has put Americans at grave risk of death as a result.

The pandemic is an existential threat to our national security and Donald Trump has failed to remain faithful to the oath he took when he became president.

Have there been successes along the way? Sure. Israel’s relationships in the Middle East with neighboring Arab nations gives us hope for a more lasting peace in that region; prior to the pandemic’s arrival a year ago, our economy was experiencing significant growth. I will not short-sell those positive outcomes.

The pandemic and all the other failures, though, have left us worse off today than we were when Donald Trump took office and delivered an inaugural address that produced precisely one memorable moment: that “the American carnage” would come to an immediate end. Well, guess what. It hasn’t ended.

President-elect Biden has a monumental task awaiting him when he takes office in 31 days. Just as Americans spoke decisively 40 years when we elected President Reagan — who posed what has become the threshold question for all politicians — we have spoken yet again in electing President Biden.

Who’s the man of faith?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am sharing two pictures that showed up on my Facebook page today. They depict two presidents of the United States.

You know who they are.

The guy in the first picture is revered by the evangelical Christian movement. They like Donald Trump’s court appointments. They like his so-called “conservative” values he mouths when he hears them touted by right-wing radio and TV talking heads. The evangelicals give him a pass for the flings about which he has boasted, such as with the young woman pictured with him. Hey, no problem, they say. He’s one of us! Good grief!

The other president served a single term from 1977 to 1981. He teaches a Sunday school class at his church in Plains, Ga. Jimmy Carter also builds houses for poor folks as part of Habitat for Humanity.

The evangelical Christian movement sought actively in the 1980 campaign to deny him a second term as president. They preferred another fellow, Ronald Reagan, whose own commitment to matters of faith had been questioned as well, as he rarely darkened the doors of churches.

Jimmy Carter is the real deal. He just turned 96 years of age. He has battled cancer and has been the target of pundits who claim unfairly that he was a “failed president.”

I do not consider myself an “evangelical,” although I do profess my faith openly and joyfully. Still, I am left to wonder about the priorities of those who stand with a lying, conniving philanderer and who scorn a man who practices the faith in which he is committed deeply.

Would he dare skip the inaugural?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Given that Donald Trump has exhibited a seemingly bottomless pit of boorishness, I cannot get the following thought out of my mind.

Just suppose Joe Biden is elected the nation’s 46th president. Is it possible that the 45th president would skip the inaugural in a demonstration of maximum pique and petulance?

Trump keeps yammering about a “rigged election” in the event of a Biden victory. I cannot stop thinking about whether he truly believes it and whether he would be act on that belief by not showing up for the ceremonial transfer of power from one president to the next.

I mean, the Constitution doesn’t require the outgoing president to sit there and listen to the new one offer a grand vision of what he intends to do.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be an unprecedented act. President John Quincy Adams didn’t attend the inaugural for the man who beat him, President Andrew Jackson. But geez, that was in 1829! It was a bitter campaign and I guess Adams never got over the mean things Jackson said about him.

Other campaigns have produced plenty of bitterness. I recall the 1977 inaugural of President Carter, who in his opening remarks to the crowd, thanked President Ford for all he had done to “heal our land” after Watergate. That was a tough race, too. The men became fast friends for the remainder of President Ford’s life.

Donald Trump, though, harbors the deepest, meanest, most authentic sense of personal animus of anyone I’ve ever witnessed.

I will not predict such a thing from occurring, but merely am saying that should Joe Biden become President Biden, I wouldn’t be surprised to witness the ceremony occurring without Donald Trump anywhere to be seen … or (thankfully) heard.

Trump’s lying becomes legendary

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Jimmy Carter once made a pledge while campaigning for the presidency in 1976 that he would “never lie” to us were he elected to the office.

I am not prepared at this moment to document whether President Carter actually kept his promise. Carter served for four years and faced more than a few national crises during his term in office, so he well might have fudged the truth a time or two to protect a national secret.

Flashing forward to the present day, we are left now to ponder the incessant, relentless, gratuitous lying that has come from the mouth of Donald J. “Liar in Chief” Trump. In an astonishing sense, though, Trump’s lying has become so pervasive, so commonplace that Americans have become damn near numbed to the lies.

Americans say they care about whether the president tells them the truth, but when he doesn’t — which is a daily occurrence — there is so little public outrage expressed.

My goodness. Is this part of the new normal of American presidential politics?

I do not expect Joe Biden to make a pledge similar to what Jimmy Carter promised more than four decades ago. I do expect him at least to speak truthfully — presuming he gets elected president in November — when the national interest demands he tell us the truth.

A “truth-telling Donald Trump” has become an oxymoron. This man’s lying knows no bounds. Nothing is off limits from this individual’s prevarication. His lying has become the stuff of legend.

He is an utterly and categorically dangerous man. If only Americans would call him out when they hear him lie to our face.

Whatever happened to the Republican Party?

Oh, yoo-hoo! Are you out there, somewhere, Republican Party members, folks who once stood for principles that appear to have been vanquished and trampled asunder in this Age of Donald John Trump?

I have been looking for those folks for some time. To no avail, I am afraid to admit. You remember how those good folks. If not, I’ll offer a reminder.

I think of the Republicans of 1980 and those of 1994. They presented candidates and platforms that represented a specific ideology and point of view.

The Grand Old Party in 1980 was led by a former B-movie actor-turned California governor, Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan. Gov. Reagan became the Republican nominee that year. He and his party then proceeded to savage President Jimmy Carter because he had the temerity to stand watch while the federal budget ran a deficit of $43 billion in that election year.

Fort-three billion bucks, man! Why, you’d have thought the nation was heading for bankruptcy to hear the Republicans tell it.

Fast-forward 40 years and the budget deficit this year is going to top $1 trillion. Yes, a Republican is now president of the United States. Where is the outcry? Where are the calls for fiscal restraint?

The sound of crickets you are hearing is the sound of a political party that has tossed aside the principle of fiscal efficiency because its members have become beholden to the man who leads the party, the man who before he ran for president had no discernible connection to the party under whose banner he ran for the only public office he ever has sought.

Amazing, yes? I believe so.

Then the GOP of 1994 came and went. These were the politicians who campaigned for Congress on the Character Matters mantra. The object of their scorn in that election year was a Democratic president who had been elected two years earlier despite allegations of womanizing. Bill Clinton won the 1992 election and then two years later, the GOP — led by a House backbench flamethrower named Newt Gingrich — set about campaigning on the Character Matters platform.

Republicans won control of both congressional houses that year, then sought the impeachment of President Clinton, ostensibly after seeking the goods on a scandal called Whitewater, a real estate deal that caught the GOP’s attention. The probe ended up producing a tawdry relationship between the president and a White House intern. Clinton took an oath to tell the truth to a grand jury, then he lied to jurors. Perjury! Clinton broke the law! Then he got impeached. He stood trial and was acquitted in early 1999.

Well, that version of the Republican Party has vanished, too. Gingrich became speaker of the House after the 1994 congressional takeover, then the GOP lost seats in Congress in the 1998 midterm election, all while Gingrich was being revealed as a philanderer … even as he was bemoaning the president’s crappy conduct.

It’s gotten worse. The GOP these days rallies behind a president who makes all of that seem like schoolyard frolic.

So, I have to ask: What in the world has become of a once-great political party?

A man of deep faith is ‘at peace’ with death

Jimmy Carter’s abiding faith in God is well-known and has been chronicled extensively since the moment he burst onto the national political scene more than four decades ago.

So, when he tells a Sunday school audience that he is “at peace” with the prospect of death, should the rest of us be surprised? Of course not! Those are the words of a man committed to his deep Christian faith.

Christianity tells us that faith and belief in Jesus’s teaching and his existence as the son of God means we pass from worldly life to eternal life. That has been President Carter’s credo. It has sustained him through an amazing life of service to his country and then, through his faith, to his fellow humans.

This former president has set at least three remarkable records.

  • President Carter is the oldest living man who has held the nation’s highest office.
  • He has lived longer in his post-presidency than any other former president.
  • Oh, and his marriage of 73 years to his beloved Rosalynn is the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history.

Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, has lived an exemplary life. He has committed himself to others, choosing to forgo a life of personal enrichment.

It is totally in keeping with this man’s good life that he would be “at peace” with knowing that his time on Earth will end.

You may count me as one American who wants him to remain among us for as long as is humanly possible.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your glorious service to the nation — and to the world.

Carter earns even higher praise just by showing up

Jimmy Carter just turned 95 years young.

Then he fell at home. He is wearing a doozy of a shiner under his left eye. He took some stitches to repair cuts he suffered when he took the spill.

So what does the former president of the United States do? Does he sit at home and mope because he had a clumsy spell? Does he sulk and pout?

Oh, no. He travels to Tennessee. He picks up a hammer, some nails, a power drill — and builds houses for folks who need help from those with generous souls and spirits … such as President Carter. Habitat for Humanity has been one of the former president’s passions since he left office in January 1981.

My goodness. This man has become my hero.

God bless you, Mr. President.

Happy birthday, Mr. President

James Earl Carter is a force of nature.

He builds houses for poor people; he writes books; he lectures Americans on the value of ethics in politics; he teaches Sunday school at his rural Georgia church; he has monitored elections around the world; he lives modestly with his wife of more than seven decades.

Today he becomes the oldest former president of the United States. He already holds the record for living the longest past the time he left office; he exited the White House in 1981, which means he has lived 38 years past his presidency.

President Carter turns 95.

He has beaten cancer. He ran for president more than four decades ago, defeating a crowded field of Democratic Party primary foes. He ran a tough and bitter race against an embattled incumbent, Gerald R. Ford, and won with 297 electoral votes, which reflected his narrow popular vote majority; he and President Ford would then forge a friendship that lasted until Ford’s death in 2006.

President Carter lost his bid for re-election in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in 1980, but he didn’t skulk off to pout over his loss. Instead he poured his energy into building the Carter Center in Atlanta and then building houses for Habitat for Humanity, a faith-based organization that does the Lord’s work around the world.

I will not engage in a debate over whether he was a successful president. I will say that he has been the most consequential former president in the past century, or maybe even longer than that.

President Carter is getting lots of good wishes from around the country and the world today. This good and godly man deserves all of them.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.