All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day
"Character," "ethics," "morality," and other right-sounding buzzwords have been the watchmarks of the last few elections. The media wants to pretend these things are difficult to evaluate, and they are if you don't use a little common sense. The major media is just one never-ending infomercial and common sense is never part of any marketing plan, so they are the wrong place to go for that resource. I think the easy source is history; a candidate's history, a party's history, and, in the case of parties that are trying to create a royalty class, the candidate's family history.
Take our last collection of Presidents, for example. In modern history, say from Lyndon Johnson forward, we have a fair collection of characters to review. We have the right wingers: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I & II. We have the left or center: Johnson, Carter, and Clinton. I can't seen how anyone could consider either Johnson or Clinton "left," but we'll put them in that category to make Republicrats happy.
If personal character were a real issue, you'd think that, once someone was on the public dole for the kind of cash that ex-Presidents rake in, a person of character would feel some obligation to the people footing his bills. So, let's look at the ex-Presidents and see what they did for the public after they left the bright lights. And they should have been doing something for the public, since they are on the dole big time.
Johnson left office in shame. His "War on Poverty" was buried under the Vietnam war garbage and he was practically blasted from the primaries by a series of people he once considered his friends and allies. He quit the race for President before the 1968 Demolican convention and before he suffered the ignominy of becoming one of the rare standing Presidents defeated by his own party. Even after all that embarrassment, he followed his Presidency by staying involved in several of his pet social reform programs: Head Start and the Peace Corps. But, mostly, Johnson faded into Texas society and was a drain on the taxpayer for the rest of his life.
Nixon ran and hid after being impeached and nearly convicted for a collection of crimes. Before leaving office, he pardoned a pack of hardened corporate criminals and replaced himself with a Republicrat crony who had balls of fluff and the brains of a golf ball, Jerry Ford. After leaving office, Nixon became a right wing spokesperson and a corporate board member of a collection of companies who owed him a boat-load of cash for years of non-observant government mismanagement. So much for character and a much larger taxpayer drain than Johnson, since Nixon built a collection of "memorials" to himself which were funded and maintained by taxpayers.
Jerry Ford served out his appointment term as President, lost the 1976 election, and returned to playing golf with his corporate buddies. Other than an occasional figurehead position as a "moderate Republicrat leader," Ford has been on a vacation since (and mostly during) his term in office. Still, no character showing and more wasted tax money.
We've heard almost as much from Jimmy Carter, and received more value from him, after his Presidency as during. He's been involved in Habitat for Humanity, actually building houses along with finding funding for this charity. He's worked with Amnesty International and a collection of democracy-promoting organizations, often putting his own life at risk to observe elections from South America to Africa to Florida. Finally, a large bit of character and something for our money.
Then, Reagan, who didn't show a lick of character before, during, or after his Presidency, followed in the traditional Republicrat model. Most of the way to senility, before he started his 2nd term of office, Reagan did a little international corporate speaking for huge sums of cash after he left office and, then, succumbed to his natural state; napping and mumbling. Reagan did receive some monster payments for 15 minute formal mumbles in Japan, as a repayment for his handing massive quantities of US natural resources and political power to that country's elite. Republicrats named every road and public building they could desecrate after this President, in an attempt to rewrite history so that it might look at Reagan's term in office more kindly. Which means more tax money than ever was tossed after this lost cause. Still, we're back to no character, again. However, if suffering a terrible late life is God's will, Reagan's fate would almost make me into a believer. On the other hand, taxpayers got stuck for a huge medical care bill for Reagan's last few years of drooling.
Bush I was the most obvious characterless character the Republicrats ever elected. He was a corporate scumbag before his term as Vice (the most perfect application of this term ever) President and went right back to scamming the public with oil execs, military-industrial execs, power and communications execs after he left office. Bush I hadn't done a single lick of selfless activity since he came to government and has been totally wrapped up in creating wealth for himself since he left. If character really mattered, Republicrats would be ashamed to show their faces or include "character" in their chants after having pawned this scumbag off on the country. Republicrats are totally devoid of character, however, and no act of failure or immorality shames them.
Clinton, the right wing's "character" whipping boy, has followed, a few steps, in Carter's footsteps. Bill Clinton has continued to work for peace in the Middle East, being a part of peace negotiations and working for world peace foundations. Clinton has stayed at the job he started in eastern Europe, whenever he's given an opportunity. Until recently, he'd stayed low-profile in the 2004 election process, probably because he's such an easy target for the morally corrupt right who want to use his personal failure as evidence that they massive moral void is justified. Clinton is young and what he does with his personal popularity and clout is yet to be seen. Still, not Republicrat characterless.
Bush II was a clueless, money-grubbing moron before he stumbled into the Presidency and it's safe to say he will remain one afterwards. His associations are the same as his father's; evil and greedy. His motivations are not as convoluted, though. He's lazy, dumb, and spoiled. It doesn't take much to make that kind of rich kid happy, so he'll vanish from public life and continue packing his pockets with cash after he leaves office. Character? Never had any, never will. His claim to moral fame is that he managed to stop publicly packing his nose with coke and hasn't been caught driving drunk for at least a decade. Not much of an achievement, but the best we can hope for from Republicrats.