WATCH: Obama, You Know You’re A Bad President When Jimmy Carter Calls You Out

For the second time in less than a year, former president Jimmy Carter was publicly critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, contending America’s “respect in the world is probably lower than it was six or seven years ago.”

Carter made the unflattering remarks while at the Aspen Institute last week.

Before touching on Obama, Carter was asked to give his opinion on Secretary of State John Kerry. “I think [John Kerry’s] one of the best secretaries of state we’ve ever had. I think he’s outstanding,” Carter said to cheers.

The former president was then asked about Obama’s successes on the world stage. “On the world stage, I think they’ve been minimal,” Carter answered. “I think he’s done some good things domestically, like the health programs and so forth, but on the world stage, just to be objective about it as I can, I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over. If you look at Russia, if you look at England, if you look at China, if you look at Egypt, and so forth.”

“I’m not saying it’s his fault,” he continued, “but we have not improved our relationship with individual countries, and I would say that the United States’ influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.”

This is not the first time Carter has been critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Speaking to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram in October, he called out Obama’s approach to fighting the Islamic State:

We waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria. Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.

h/t: The Daily Caller

Do you agree with Jimmy Carter? Is your head spinning as a result? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What We Need From Our Next President

As the pool of aspiring presidential candidates grows by the day, one can’t help but hope that the electorate’s appetite for economic improvement under a term or two of a new president will likewise increase. After eight years of burgeoning government hegemony, diminution of personal liberty, and assault on the free enterprise system and middle class family incomes, the last thing we need is perpetuation of the stagnant and fiscally stifling policies of the Obama administration. Perhaps we should look back, as we look forward, determining the nation’s course under a new president.

The last time the U.S. floundered with such a moribund economy was when the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) spiked over 20 at the end of the Carter administration. With rather constrained inflation, and government underreporting of real unemployment (Department of Labor U6 is still over 10%), our misery index is nowhere near Carter’s abysmal economic mishandling. But the sluggish economy, declining median income, and negligible economic expansion are taking their toll not just on the middle class, but the whole country.

But looking back to 1980 and how a new president, with congressional help, was able to reverse the negative trends–as well as instill hope for the future–is an example that begs repeating. If we’re to have any hope for our children and grandchildren’s future, it’s an example that must be repeated!

Carter’s economic policies had perpetuated the inordinately high tax rates of the previous decade, limiting job growth and capital investment while generating less tax revenue due to the stagnant economy. Yet following the passage and implementation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1982, unemployment dropped 45%; private domestic investment grew 77%, and economic growth averaged over 4.5% annually. The consumer price index, a measure of inflation, rose only 17% over the next ten years, far below the one-year peak of 13.5% the last year of the Carter term. Real income of every income bracket increased, while tax receipts doubled from 1980 to 1990, from $500 billion to over $1 trillion.

The Reagan administration deregulated many industries, reducing the cost of doing business significantly–including oil, making energy cheaper. A new U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement was inked, and savings and investment were encouraged by the creation of IRAs and 401(k) plans. A whole new investor class was created, as most Americans now had “skin in the game” of economic expansion. And they were richly rewarded, as the GDP increased by 77% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than doubled.

National debt continued to grow under Reagan, but that was more the culpability of a spendthrift congress headed by Speaker Tip O’Neil. Twice, Reagan sent balanced budget recommendations to Congress, both of which were carried to the capitol in an ambulance so Speaker O’Neil could declare them DOA (dead on arrival).

Spending on education, social services, and healthcare nearly doubled over eight years, while federal outlays on commerce, housing credits, and regional development were decreased by nearly 22%. The federal civilian workforce was reduced by 5% as well. The deficit, as a share of GDP, was cut more than in half, from 6.3% to 2.9% by the time Reagan left office. A vibrant, growing, and healthy economy made that possible, even with the spending increases.

National defense was a priority in the Reagan years, as exemplified by a near doubling of the annual military budget over his two terms. When told in a cabinet meeting that he couldn’t spend that much on the military, the president responded: “Look, I am the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief. My primary responsibility is the security of the United States. … If we don’t have security, we’ll have no need for social programs.”

The strengthened and expanded military validated Reagan’s defense mantra: peace through strength. Due to our significant military investment, the cold war never evolved to a hot one; and the Soviet state collapsed in part due to their inability to match our burgeoning military capabilities.

Researching the economic “report cards” of postwar presidents, Harvard economist Robert Barro claims, based on the raw data alone, that Reagan easily has the top scores. “Using the change each year in inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and growth in gross national product, Reagan ranks first. He engineered the largest reduction in the misery index in history—50 percent.”

This is not intended to heap adulation on a former president, but to illustrate what can happen nationally when tried and true principles are applied in governance. Rather than perpetuating the failed Obama doctrines intended to fundamentally transform America, a return to the economic principles that made the nation great will resurrect the indomitable free enterprise engine of America, unleashing our ability to work, produce, and compete, and hopefully get a handle on our out-of-control spending.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Ex-WH Adviser Makes Ludicrous Claim About Obama, Instantly Gets Trampled In A Big Way

As you may know, for the first time in close to 40 years, horse racing has a Triple Crown winner. American Pharoah became the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. Following Saturday’s thrilling third leg in the thoroughbred competition, the headline on Yahoo! News read: “Triple Crown winner burned up last quarter mile in Belmont.”

Also following the Saturday race, a former White House adviser was burned up on Twitter — trampled by a veritable stampede of comments in response to a tweet claiming that, somehow, President Obama could take credit for American Pharoah’s phenomenal performances.

Maybe the once-upon-a-time senior adviser to Obama was trying to be funny or to possibly provide some offbeat means of getting his name back in the news. Whatever the case, the tweet from the long-time aide to Obama in various communications roles, Dan Pfeiffer, certainly called into question his communications skills, considering the response from other Twitter users.

Here’s the original tweet from the former White House hotshot and current CNN contributor that charged out of the gate shortly after American Pharoah charged across the finish line at Belmont:

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And here’s a small sampling of the snark that erupted on the social media platform after Pfeiffer’s rather bizarre claim invoking the memory of a Democrat president of the past whose reputation with the American public languishes near the bottom of the opinion heap:

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

American Tyrants: Four Presidents That Failed Us

Photo credit: House Divided Project (Flickr)

We’ve had some good presidents, and we’ve had some not-so-good presidents. These days, unfortunately, our position on either side of the political aisle convinces us that we can tell the difference.

There’s little question that President Obama has courted controversy for most of his time in office so far, the most recent example being his executive order on immigration. While we’re still awaiting the verdict of history, and I myself am stuck somewhere between calling him a tyrant and naming him a groundbreaker, I thought it might be time to get a little bit of perspective.

Which past presidents became famous for their administration’s failures? I’m not talking about the occasional scandal here and there; no, I’m talking about the U.S. presidents who left the whole country reeling with their terrifically bad decisions.

Below are four U.S. presidents who could be considered the worst of the worst. My essential criteria for determining this are simple:

  1. Their damage affected multiple facets of American society.
  2. They helped to destabilize trust in the U.S. government.
  3. The effects of their decisions lasted into the next administration.

Let’s get started, shall we?

#1: Jimmy Carter

No matter your party affiliation, paying obscene gas prices (and waiting in quarter-mile, bumper-to-bumper lines to fill up your DeLorean) was probably not one of your top-five favorite things in the world if you had a set of wheels in the 80’s. Needless to say, this certainly didn’t do any favors for the U.S. economy–and things got bad. Very, very bad.

But how did we end up in a prolonged Oil Crisis in the first place? And how did the oil investment playbook change as a result? Well, price controls tend to lead to shortages, especially on commodities. Gasoline is one such commodity. Carter, apparently, was not very good with things like economics, which is probably why he implemented the Marx Method of fixing a capitalist economy.

Then again, he also had issues with things like foreign policy, too (which was another reason why OPEC wasn’t doing us any favors on oil). Essentially, the Iranian Revolution could not have happened without Carter’s facepalm-worthy decisions – and to make a long story short, the Iranians decided to take 52 American hostages.

Say what you will about Reagan; at least he managed to get those Americans back on our home turf.

#2: James Buchanan

With some presidents, you have to wonder if they were just bad at their jobs or they were implementing the Joker method of fixing the world by watching it burn. With James Buchanan, I’m thinking he just ran for the presidency because he wanted to live in a white house. Either way, the U.S. Civil War began on his watch: When Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, his reply went something like this: “Do what you want.” Then he promptly abandoned the fort.

He also reacted largely the same way when an economic depression hit the country, called the Panic of 1857. Did he blunder by making some bad decisions in an attempt to fix it? Actually, no. In fact, he took virtually no action at all (or maybe he played a round of golf in Wheatland). Basically, the entire U.S. was going broke; and half the country was ready to split.

And Buchanan just did not want to be bothered by those things. He did, however, want to buy Cuba – and he was willing to mug Spain for it if they weren’t in the mood to sell.

Lucky for us, he practically gave his job to the next guy.

#3: Richard Nixon

Was he a crook?

According to him, the answer was no. As for the rest of the country, the answer was a clear and resounding: Yes, you’re a crook, Mr. Nixon. In fact, whenever you hear about any modern political scandal with the suffix -gate, it’s because of Nixon.

The Watergate office complex was the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and Nixon wasn’t fond of the Dems because, well, he was a Republican. So he decided to bug them, NSA-style, and then lie about it to the American people. Well, it didn’t take long for us to find out; but he quit before we could fire him. If only we had an Edward Snowden back then.

Basically, Richard Nixon might have single-handedly caused an entire generation of Americans to become politically complacent and completely distrustful of government. It even galvanized Congress into amending the Freedom of Information Act. The Watergate scandal is basically why we don’t have much faith in our fearless leaders anymore — and I can’t say I blame us, after realizing that the president was up to his neck in corruption.

#4: Lyndon B. Johnson

Johnson apologists may sometimes claim that his only true failure was the unrealistic scope of his ambitions. The truth is much simpler: Johnson was a failure because he had no idea how to follow through on his vision.

In 1964, Johnson delivered a speech about what he liked to call the “Great Society.” It laid out his plans for turning America into a place where we were free from poverty, racial injustice, and even boredom. It sounded like a fine plan, to be sure; but like those of too many politicians, it had little basis in reality – and was ultimately a failure.

His very obvious lack of direction also informed his disastrous handling of the Vietnam War; his plan began and ended with a vacuous mission statement about defeating the communists, but commenced without any obvious endgame in mind.

Arguably his worst failing, though, was his outright corruption. Johnson and his wife, thanks to close ties with then-FCC chairman Clifford Durr, managed to amass a personal fortune thanks to their television monopoly in Austin, Texas. What began as a simple purchase of station KTBC by Lady Bird Johnson in 1943 became instead one of the most egregious examples of an American politician using his position for financial gain.

The Takeaways

With the U.S. still reeling from some seriously stressful mid-term elections, it might be time to readdress the role of the average American citizen in government. It’s never been clearer that many of us don’t see past the red or blue or campaign banners when we pull the lever in the voting booth; we vote with our hearts instead of our heads, and we end up getting losers like these four gentlemen above for no other reason than because they’re not the other guy.

Barack Obama’s place in presidential history remains uncertain; but one has to admire his pioneering spirit, even if it’s legally ambiguous and perhaps ill-timed. To revisit the immigration issue for a moment, I do mourn for a country where the president takes action on his own; but considering how many other immigration bills have been in a holding pattern for years, it’s time something was done.

No matter what you have to say about our president, one thing is clear: for examples of truly failed presidencies, we need only look backward in history – and sometimes it’s not that far back at all.

Photo credit: House Divided Project (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Pipeline Politics–Why The Democrats Will Lose

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.

This week, I’m in bitterly cold Nebraska — Omaha, to be exact — visiting with my wife Colleen’s family.

On Tuesday night, I watched the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate stop a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada and Montana and North Dakota to the refineries of New Orleans.

The proposed $8 billion shortcut across Nebraska and other Red States is a big deal.

It makes economic and environmental sense for their citizens and for all Americans. But of course, that hasn’t stopped the pipeline from becoming a political cause celebre for liberal Democrats and their narrow interest groups.

President Obama, Senator Reid, and their whacko pals in the environmental lobby have managed to delay the Keystone XL’s approval for six years.

But they better celebrate Tuesday night’s buzzer beater while they can. Their one-vote “victory” in the Senate is the last time they’ll be able to get away with their screw-you attitude toward voters.

The Keystone XL will get the green light as soon as the Republicans who were elected in the midterm elections start running things in Congress next year.

Watching the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate vote against the pipeline was creepy. It reminded me of the spiteful thing President Carter did in 1980 when he was blown out of office by my father.

As the 1980 election returns were coming in from Back East, my father was taking a shower and getting ready to go to dinner in L.A.

Polls were still open in the rest of the country, but Jimmy Carter already could see the landslide coming. At 6:01 Pacific time, he called my father to concede.

Giving up so soon — and thereby discouraging many Democrat voters in the western time zones from going to the polls — made the Reagan avalanche even worse.

Republicans took control of the Senate, 53-46, picking up 12 seats.

Carter knew what he was doing. He was an outsider who never worked well with his party’s Washington insiders.

Insisting on conceding so early, despite advice from his advisers and the pleas of party leaders like Tip O’Neill, was Carter’s way of punishing the Democrats who ran Washington.

I think Senate Democrats were acting like Jimmy Carter on Tuesday when they defeated the pipeline vote.

It’s inevitable that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. Harry Reid and his gang of obstructionists know that.

But they voted against the pipeline anyway, even ignoring the small chance that a pro-Keystone vote might have saved Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana.

Democrats flat didn’t care. The pipeline vote was their final act of spite. It was a last-minute kick in the teeth of Red State voters for electing so many Republicans to Congress in the midterms.

I believe it was President Obama who famously said to Eric Cantor after re-winning the White House in 2012 that “elections have consequences.”

Obviously, you were right, Mr. President.

But seeing Democrat Senators stick it to the American electorate on the pipeline, and watching you desecrate the Constitution to push your immigration agenda, has made me realize something.

When you and the Democrats win an election, America suffers. And when you guys don’t win an election, America suffers just as much.

For the last six years, voters have been playing in a lose-lose game. But for the next two years, things will be different. Because, thank God, elections do matter.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom