American Elephants

Letting Go by The Elephant's Child

Nobody has mentioned it, but we are seeing an excellent example of what no one really talks about. How to end a presidency or a campaign gracefully. For all the Democrat histrionics about George W. Bush and Iraq, he handled leaving the presidency with grace and character. Clearly he has felt deeply responsible for the war that took place during his tenure as Commander in Chief, and his efforts with wounded warriors, and honoring those who served with his paintings is impressive. But he clearly recognized, early on, that his legacy would be determined by the historians, and there wasn’t all that much he could do about it. What happened — happened.

Former president Barack Obama hasn’t quite come to terms with being a former president. He is working on how he can continue to be active in politics, bought a mansion in one of the tonier sections of Washington D.C. and continues to pursue his celebrity status. What neither he nor Hillary quite seem to understand is that when it’s over—it’s really over, and the party has moved on. They are interested in the future, who are viable candidates, what are viable programs and policies, and the former have no real role to play.

Hillary is embarking on her book tour, and Democrats are not pleased. Her book, which she sees as vindication and explanation for “What Happened” comes across more as a plaintive whine, and Democrats find it uncomfortable and wish she would just go quietly away. She is charging over $2,000 for her book tour appearances (book included). I ran onto a quote from early in Bill’s presidency when she was complaining about being offended, and saying that those giving offense just didn’t like dealing with a “very powerful woman.” Interesting. I never thought of her as powerful, at all.

Jimmy Carter wasn’t ready to deal with the end of his presidency either. He kept trying to interfere disastrously in international relations. I guess having the reins of power in your own hands is a feeling that is hard to give up. Someone should write a little “retiring with grace” book.


6 Comments so far
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A major difference between the two is that Bush was a man of accomplishment well before he ran for office, where Obama had a resume so slight before becoming President that you could be forgiven for thinking it was the CV of a college student, not a man in his late 40’s (when elected). Bush didn’t really have anything to prove. Obama is still looking for a “legacy”.

Hillary, for all her bluster, was even less accomplished than Obama, the so-called “strong, independent woman” being known principally as the wife of Bill. She carpetbagged her Senate seat, and did a lot of traveling as Secretary of State, but I’m sure you remember how flustered she was when asked to name a single achievement she was proud of.

The chip on Carter’s shoulder had more to do with that he thought people believed he was a just bumpkin than any lack of accomplishment (degree in nuclear engineering, Commander of a submarine in the Navy, wealthy farm owner – no joke, if you like peanut butter, you’ve had a product of the Carter Family farms), and his sense of pride kept pushing him to prove them wrong.


Comment by Lon Mead

Jimmie Carter was a graduate of Annapolis in a reduced 3 year program in the war years. I think he graduated in 1946, but I’m not sure of that. This was way before nuclear engines. He was quite comfortable with insinuating that he had a degree in nuclear engineering, but the Navy just taught him how to run a nuclear engine when he volunteered for the submarine service.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

You’re right, my mistake. His degree is in mechanical engineering (the same as Bill Nye, the Science Guy – now you know why I’m not that impressed with mechanical engineering degrees! 😉).


Comment by Lon Mead

Nope, not even that. His degree from the United States Naval Academy was (after only 3 years) a Bachelor of Science. No engineering. I think he liked for people to think he was a nuclear engineer, but twasn’t so. Not even a mechanical engineer. I looked it up.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Carter started college as a general engineering major at Georgia Southwestern College in 1941, then transferred to Georgia Tech. His specific field of study was mechanical engineering. In 1943, he was accepted into the Naval Academy, which at the time had fixed courses of study. Carter followed what later became known as Division I.
All degrees conferred by the Naval Academy are Bachelor of Science. At the time, there was no differentiation between the degrees (it wasn’t until later that individual majors were recognized).
The Carter Library states that his course of study was mechanical engineering, and his biography “The Man From Plains” written by David Kucharsky (which admittedly is a “why I should be President” book) says pretty much the same.
So no, his specific degree does not mention mechanical engineering, but that was his course of study. I apologise, I do tend to generalize in forums like this.
My overall point being, though, that as compared to previous officeholders, the only solid claim of accomplishment that Obama has is being President, and even at that, he has little to show for eight years other than a record of ineptitude. Hillary is much the same.


Comment by Lon Mead

I agree absolutely with your overall point. Hillary has always had the idea that she is a “very powerful woman” and opposition only comes from those who are prejudiced against “powerful women” but then back in the day she wanted to be a co-president with Bill. Odd fixation.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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