• Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton: A Tale of Two Retired Presidents

    August 17, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy


    With the sad news that Jimmy Carter has cancer, it is time to take a look at what Carter, and another former president, chose to do with their lives after leaving the White House.

    Seen the latest front-page Carter Center scandal? Hear about the six figure fees former president Jimmy Carter pulls in from shady foreign companies? Maybe not.

    Take a moment to Google Jimmy Carter. Now do the same for Bill Clinton. The search results tell the tale of two former presidents, one determined to use his status honorably, the other seeking new lows of exploitation for personal benefit.

    Carter’s presidency carries an uneven legacy. Yet his prescient but unwelcome 1979 warning that the country suffered a crisis of confidence, preventing Americans from uniting to solve tough problems, anticipated the faux bravado and true spiritual emptiness of Reagan’s “Morning in America.”

    Many feel Carter has been a better ex-president than he was a president. His Carter Center focuses on impactful but unglamorous issues such as Guinea worm disease. When Carter left office, the disease afflicted 3.5 million people. Now it’s expected to be only the second disease, after smallpox, to ever be eradicated worldwide.

    Carter, 90, still donates a week of his time each year to Habitat for Humanity. Not a photo-op, Carter goes out without the media in tow and hammers nails. Carter also tirelessly monitors elections in nascent democracies, lending his stature as a statesman to that work over 100 times already. Summing up his own term in office, Carter said “We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war.”

    He is the last president since 1977 who can make that claim.

    Bill Clinton pushed the NAFTA agreement through, seen now by many as a mistake that cost American jobs. He pointlessly bombed Iraq and sent troops into Somalia (see Blackhawk Down.) Clinton is remembered most of all, however, for his oral affair with an intern, then fibbing about it, and ending up one of only two American presidents ever impeached as a result.

    As a former president, Clinton is nothing if not true to his unstatesman-like form. Bill makes six-figure speeches to businesses seeking influence within the U.S. government, earning as much as $50 million during his wife’s term as secretary of state alone. TD Bank, the single-largest shareholder in the Keystone XL Pipeline, was also the single-largest source of speaking fees for Bill Clinton. He used a shell company to hide some of the income.

    His own charity, humbly known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Global Foundation, is a two billion dollar financial tangle on par with a South American cartel. It spent in 2013 the same amount of money on travel expenses for Bill and his family as it did on charitable grants. Instead of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Bill takes his big donors on executive safaris to Africa. Many of those same donors also give generously to the Hillary Clinton campaign and its constellation of PACs.

    Voters should judge a candidate not just on examples of past competency, but with an eye toward the core things that really matter: character, values, honesty, humility and selflessness. Perhaps this tale of two presidents has a lesson in it for 2016.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      The differences in the marriages of Carter and Clinton may explain their post presidential lifestyles. Carter’s marriage was probably “normal”. If Hillary fails to become POTUS we’ll finally get a certifiable look into the Clinton’s marital pathology via the supermarket tabloid rack.

      08/17/15 8:28 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      And look how often other countries have asked Carter to help smooth over diplomatic issues since he left office. He is trusted around the globe as a diplomat and wise advisor.

      Truly, a fine gentleman.

      08/17/15 8:31 AM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...


      Well stated, but weren’t there troops in Mog/Somalia when Clinton took office?
      jim hruska

      08/17/15 8:31 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Carter made his mistakes (Iran hostage rescue fiasco) but in sum, and especially as an ex-president, what a selfless man.

      08/17/15 8:35 AM | Comment Link

    • Bloozguy said...


      “Carter was the least violent of American presidents but he did things which I think would certainly fall under Nuremberg provisions. As the Indonesian atrocities increased to a level of really near-genocide, the U.S. aid under Carter increased. It reached a peak in 1978 as the atrocities peaked. So we took care of Carter, even forgetting other things.” – Noam Chomsky

      08/17/15 8:50 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Fellows! the subject is POST presidential behavior. Carter’s seems selfless whereas Clinton’s seems perverse.

      08/17/15 9:00 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”Voters should judge a candidate not just on examples of past competency, but with an eye toward the core things that really matter: character, values, honesty, humility and selflessness. “unquote

      Character, values, honesty, humility and selflessness. right.
      The mere fact that Donald The Clown has captured the lead in the GOP race validates that a portion of the Dumbest Country on the Planet doesn’t give a flying fuck about those characteristics. Especially..HUMILITY. He doesn’t know the meaning.

      On the other hand, his “honesty” may be his undoing.

      As for Carter, in my view, from what I remember, he was the least evil compared to all the Presidents since JFK. Although, I thought he was kinda dumb, like Biden. Of course, at the time, I didn’t give a fuck about politics.

      quote”Perhaps this tale of two presidents has a lesson in it for 2016.”unquote

      Yes it does. Unfortunately, the DCOTP hasn’t learned it yet.

      08/17/15 9:16 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ps..quote”Unfortunately, the DCOTP hasn’t learned it yet.”unquote

      Actually, after witnessing Obama’s unbelievable charade of lies during his original campaign..compared to what he actually is… I’m now convinced that Barnum was Obama’s campaign manager.

      08/17/15 9:21 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Moreover, I’m of the opinion that someone should run a massive video campaign on TV that simply reminds voters…”If their lips are moving….”

      08/17/15 9:25 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Ask NOT what CLINTRY can do for you; ask What you can do for CLINTRY!

      08/17/15 9:58 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”Ask NOT what CLINTRY can do for you; ask What you can do for CLINTRY!”unquote

      umm, the correct word is Cuntry.

      08/17/15 11:23 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Ask what we can do for ourselves not Hillary. Keep that mierable FSO (female shaped object) from becoming POTUS even though tens of millions of miserably dowdy females want her to win to vindicate their botched and short circuited lives. Oh, and don’t ask what you can do for them- they are beyond help.

      08/17/15 11:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Oopsie, My SPACE! Actually CUNTRY Hitlery epitomizes the demise she’s inflicting upon them AND US ALL (Chelsea and Charlotte).
      That alone should dissipate any supporters, distaff or otherwise.

      08/17/15 4:56 PM | Comment Link

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