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What Happens to Former US Presidents?

Original post made by Paul Losch, Community Center, on Apr 9, 2013

While I do not view Jon Stewart's Daily Show or the Colbert Report to be my major news sources, I do admit I enjoy their version of "reportage."

Former President Bill Clinton was on Colbert's show this Monday, and former President Jimmy Carter will be on Stewart's show this Tuesday.

It got me to thinking, without judgment—here are these two former Presidents, both Democrats, who have important organizations that they have led since leaving the White House. By contrast, former Republican Presidents, from Nixon, Ford and Ronald Reagan to W, pretty much have maintained a low profile with the public after leaving office.

It is, of course, a personal decision how a former President chooses to spend his time after leaving office. And public visibility is at best a two edged sword. I am not sure how I would feel after being in that fishbowl at 1600 PA Ave. Want to be in the limelight still? I am not one to chop wood or clear brush, but such a respite after several years in those guys' jobs might just be the ticket.

By the same token, however one views the policies and legacies of former Presidents while they held office, it seems to me that a person who has held such an important responsibility should use their influence after leaving office for other better goods. Things they were constrained from doing while they were Presidents.

I guess you can just make speeches and command 6 figures for a 45 minute talk. Nice work if you can get it.

Seems like a waste of talent and influence.

Comments (16)

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Posted by realistic
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Lets face it, Nixon, Ford, and W were failed presidents. No one wanted to hear from them after they left office. Even other Republicans shunned them, never asking for any kind of endorsements from these guys. Father Bush did a little better, but as a one-term president, his clout was limited.

Carter was also a one-termer, but he has successfully pursued his own anti-poverty agenda mostly outside of politics.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

This is timely, given the revisionist history going on in the Reagan-worshipping circles. It comes down to gaining the wisdom to know that one can serve humanity in new ways, being willing to do so & hopefully doing it for the right reasons. It shouldn't be limited to one party, but it seems to nearly be in our current era.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Reagan won the cold war. He then made some highly paid speeches, but he also liked to cut brush on his ranch. Clinton had sex with an intern, lied about it, and still gives a bunch of speeches. Take your choice.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by the disaster that was Reagan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Reagan had the biggest criminal conspiracy ever for a US president -- the most felony indictments ever for an administration. By a MILE. Folks, it was truly ugly, less than a decade after the criminal Nixon.

Many indictments and guilty verdicts came when they traded arms for hostages with Iran, and Reagan LIED about it. He was almost impeached (and should have been, new information confirmed.) The traitor Ollie North was CONVICTED (to be later pardoned to keep him form spilling the beans.)

Reagan and Rumsfeld also sold weapons to Saddam - want to see the picture? Search images for "Rumsfeld Saddam" - just some smiling buddies loving each other!

Reagan cut taxes on the uber wealthy, and raised taxes 11 times on WORKING Americans, including the largest middle class tax hike in American history when he doubled payroll taxes.

Reagans giveaway to the uber wealthy led us to the largest income gap between rich and poor in a generation.

Ronnie Raygun did not win the cold war - we have since learned that the USSR was teetering on it's last legs anyway.

Reagan took more days off than any president (eclipsed by Bush911, of course)

Reagan TRIPLED the deficit! It took Clinton to get America on steady footing again (and again, efforts destroyed by the budget busting of Bush911.)

Reagan ignored AIDS as it killed tens of thousands, a horrific disease that needed the bully pulpit of the president. Yet Ronnie was scared.

Reagan was the disaster that is the War on Drugs.

Illegal alien amnesty, anyone? Ronnie's your guy!

The list goes on and on.

After leaving office, Americans DID NOT WANT Reagan around anymore. It took a great deal of whitewashing to put lipstick on this pig.

Enter the RR Legacy Project. They constantly rewrite and smooth over the disastrous policies of Reagan to make him appear a saint to the fox type viewer.

Facts and history show the truth.


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Posted by the disaster that was Reagan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

All the facts above are easily searchable. I would have put links to each one, but there is a 4 link per post limit.

Reagans damage to America is far greater than 4 links.

Bush now paints crude pictures, the most famous being of his toes in the bath.

You figure it out.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Having my posts deleted won't stop me from voicing my informed opinion. Reagan & other GOP former POTUS's have done little to help the world around them when they're out of office, at least in this era. Why is that? The one notable exception is Bush1 who's done a bit of good - but he could do so much more.

Reagan did NOT win the Cold War. Pretending so is so simplistic, it's silly. Clinton fooled around w/an intern, left office w/a country in much better shape than he found it in, financially & has gone on to do many, many things, incl humanitarian work. I'm not Clinton's biggest fan by any stretch, & I know he did some lousy things in office, a la Reagan. Sure, he was younger than Reagan when he left office, but look at all of the good that Carter has done at his advanced age that has nothing to do w/politics, but has to do w/living his values.


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Posted by Teddy Rosevelt
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Last republican to do anything worthwhile after presodency was T Rosevelt.

All he did was found the modern progressive movement.

Yes, reagon was the worst.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Reagan won the cold war. That is good enough, for a legacy. He deserved his time to cut brush on his ranch, with his own sweat and labor.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Love TR
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Actually, a large number of Americans have stated that they trust Jon Stewart to give them an unbiased version of the national and international news, according to a poll taken by Time Magazine about two years ago!


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Posted by the disaster that was Reagan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 10, 2013 at 10:19 am

Kevin, Gary:

The USSR was on it's last legs, Reagan did not 'win' the cold war; any president in the office at that time was going to get 'credit'. Besides, the Berlin Wall fell after Reagan left office to enjoy his last few good days amid the fog of dementia,or as you kindly put it "clearing brush".

Once the USSR fell, we finally found out how badly their economy was held together, along with their political structure, now an oligarchy masking as one of the weakest forms of democracy.

Even giving Reagan some creadit towards assisting witht the fall of ght USSR, it still doesn't compare to the disasstrous policies and decisions highlighted above.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by the disaster that was Reagan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

poster Teddy Rosevelt: great post!

TR is forgotton too often these days as the 2nd greatist republican president, after Lincoln. yes, he was remarkably progressive.

The third greatest republican president ever, based on proven successes in replican ideals, is of course, Bill Clinton (balanced budgets, ending welfare, DOMA, repeal Glast Steigal, etc..)

Ike is 4th for his infrastructure, peacekeeping and his fafewell warning on the congressional/military/industrial complex.

And his letter to his brother calling Koch Bro types "stupid".


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Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by the disaster that was Reagan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Thatcher was, along with Reagan, one of the early polticians to recognize and see the danger of Global Warming. That would make them both anathemas to the right fringe today - completely unelectable.

When Thatcher and Reagan had their little sessions together, do you think afterward they talked about Reagan's days as union leader? or his signing the law approving collective bargaining for CA public workers?

Yes, many brits immigrated to the Falklands. Sort of like building housing in a Palestinian village, giving it away to ex-pats and then declaring it Isreali territory. Tried and true methods for hanging on to colonial territory.


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Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Regardless of where the present Falklanders came from, there were no residents there who were from Argentina. That is why they did not want to be Argentian. It was not a divided population, it was a population that considered themselves completely British.

Remember, many US citizens came from Britain and other European countries. They may be proud of their heritage, but would not want to be considered British today. The Falklanders have been there for generations and still consider themselves British. They have no affiliation for Argentina at all so why should they have wanted to become Argentinian?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

If I never hear the nonsensical "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War" again, it will be far too soon.

What Reagan really did was to suck so much wealth out of the rest of the country and put it into the defense and corporate sector that it brought about all the changes and scandals we see today ... under the farcical banner of "creative destruction" he has really destroyed the idea of public, public space, public good, public sector, and at the same time substituted an all consuming corporate hierarchy whose only means of surviving is being too bit to fail.

Reagan and W. Bush could not have done more harm to this country if they worked for the fascists in WWII like Bush's Grandpa.


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