Of Joe And Jimmy

I’m writing this piece on Presidents’ Day but that is much more of a coincidence than a motivation. That said, it primarily concentrates on the most recent actions of President Joe Biden and former President Jimmy Carter.

I awoke this morning to the news (and I wasn’t surprised) that Biden was in Kiev to illustrate America’s solidarity with Ukraine in its war to defend democracy. If anyone doubts that this is a proxy war over the principle of democracy, they either aren’t paying attention or lack sufficient critical thinking skills.

Over the weekend it was announced that former President Carter had opted for Hospice care at home forgoing any further medical intervention. Based on experience I’d have to say the end is near and expect him to pass in a matter of hours, days at best.

In full disclosure (and I’d do it again) I voted for Carter in both 1976 and 1980. I also voted for Biden in 2020 and if he, (as I suspect he will be), is the Democratic candidate in 2024 I intend to again.  However, I view each of them much differently and I also think history will (although the Biden story is far from over).

While he may be the best man to ever occupy the Oval Office – and there are few others in that conversation, perhaps just George Washington and Barack Obama – Jimmy Carter was not a very effective president. He is the standard by which all past presidents will be measured and nobody is close to displacing him at this point. At this point Obama is the only one with a shot at displacing Carter and I simply don’t see that happening which is not a disparagement of Obama.

While I expect Biden to be the Democrats’ 2024 nominee (assuming he wants to be) his reelection is anything but assured regardless of who the Republicans run. (Trump isn’t as much of a lock as he appeared to be just a few short months ago). Biden’s favorable ratings are upside down. (I won’t get into whether I think that is fair or what is contributing to it.) I think he may end up being the 21st century’s Harry Truman. Truman has only risen in the rankings over recent decades. In retrospect his work is much more admired, recognized and respected.

Both Joe and Jimmy are good men and I’m certain I am not the only American who is thankful for their service. One sadly was not very effective as president, the other isn’t being recognized for his effectiveness in the moment.

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