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Time for a Johnson Amendment?

As is often the case, it has taken a tragedy (the sudden incapacity of Senator Tim Johnson) to highlight a problem. In this case, it is how, apart from the Presidency, there is no way to remove (temporarily or permanently) certain high government officials for any reason beyond malfeasance.

Twice in our history, we had presidents who were severely ill while in office, but in neither case was there any provision for their removal from office -- even temporarily. Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke during his second term, and his wife (who, fortunately, was up to the task) appointed herself his assistant/substitute and kept the full details of his infirmity from the public. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt's health declined for five full years, through his last two elections, until the stress of both the presidency and coping with his own disabilities finally felled him.

But it took the assassination of President Kennedy to get the XXVth Amendment passed in 1965, which spelled out in crystal-clear detail not only the line and procedures for presidential succession, but also included measures for dealing with the disability -- both temporary and permanent -- of a president.

But it took Senator Johnson's attack -- at a time when his single seat in the United States Senate can change the balance of power in that house -- to bring to attention that there is very little that Congress can do to deal with the disability of one of its members. In most cases, the absence of a single member in a body of 100 (or, in the case of the House, 435) would not be that big of a deal. For example, during his run for the Presidency, John Kerry missed around 90% of roll calls, and there were very few calls for him to step down. (I am proud to say that I was one of those voices.)

The Constitution, in Article I, Section 5, does give Congress a certain limited power to regulate its own membership. It says, in part, that:

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.


Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

This is a power that it has rarely chosen to exercise, and for good reason: it is the sort of thing that is often exploited and abused in other nations. The Founding Fathers chose to make it a very difficult power to use by requiring a supermajority, and that seems a good principle.

As far as the Supreme Court, there are only three ways a Justice can be removed from office: death, resignation, or impeachment. There is a legal way to temporarily or permanently replace an incapacitated Chief Justice, but there is no way to deal with such befalling an Associate Justice.

With that in mind, I think it is time that we set up procedures for dealing with such events. With the advances in medical technology and human longevity, the chances of such things happening are ever-increasing, as we are now able to keep people alive longer, and after horrific injuries and ailments.

My suggestion is simple: by a 2/3 vote of any body, it may declare one of its own members physically incapable of performing the duties of their office and remove them from office, permitting the established procedures covering their replacement to take place. In the case of hte House of Representatives, there will be a special election to replace the Representative. In the case of the Senate, the governor of that state shall appoint a Senator until the next election. And in the case of the Supreme Court, the President shall nominate a new Justice for the Senate to confirm.

Yes, this power could be abused. But I think that the supermajority requirement, along with the possibilty that a wrongly-removed official could simply run to succeed themselves in office (and, if wrongly removed, have a healthy dose of public sympathy working in their favor), would go a long way towards preventing such incidents from happening.

I'm not enough of a legal expert to know if this would require a Constitutional amendment, but my first impression is no. There is already existing law governing the disability of a Chief Justice on the books that didn't require an amendment, so extending the same principle to an Associate Justice shouldn't be that big a deal. And the Constitution gives each House the power to remove its own members already, for malfeasance; this is also a logical extension of existing powers.

Naturally, I (along with many others) are hoping for Senator Johnson's recovery. Speaking personally, I don't recall having much of an opinion (or even knowledge) of him prior to his attack, but that works in his favor with me; it seems the more I know about a member of Congress, the more I am likely to dislike them.

But his illness has brought to light a weakness in our system of government, and we ought to address and resolve it while it has everyone's attention.


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Comments (70)

How long do you think it wi... (Below threshold)

How long do you think it will be before that "Lee" character shows up and insists that this is all the work of Karl Rove, the dark overlord of the universe?

Jay, you make some good points, but there's no way anyone is going to make any changes with such close margins in both Houses of Congress.

I think your proposal has m... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

I think your proposal has merit for the House and Senate, but the Supreme Court, given the lifetime appointments (a wronged justice can't run again to rectify the situation) and the small number of justices that constitute 2/3 of the body I could see the ability to vote off colleagues being abused.

The Republicans have contro... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

The Republicans have controled the House, Senate and WH for the last six years, and just how much conservative legislation has been accomplished? I realy don't see what difference it makes which party controls the senate. Neither one has enough seats to ram anything by the other party, no matter who sets the agenda.

I can't get very excited about having another ineffectual Republican senator sitting in the speakers office just so Nancy can't. At least she has the opportunity to prove what a looser she is while in the limelight. The Democrats are such a bunch of misfits, I doubt that they will be able to agree on anything, and we are all better off with them behind closed doors arguing with one another. Without a stong leader (ie. LBJ or Clinton) they will not be able to pull any agenda together.

Strom T's last years showed... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Strom T's last years showed that being brain dead is not a factor...Of course Dr. Frist should make that determination after seeing video evidence...
...remember we had a President with ALZ's..

"Members of Congress, no ma... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

"Members of Congress, no matter how old or incapacitated, may serve as long as they are able to blink at least one eye in response to questions"

"The Constitution, an old but living part of a tree, shall be our guide. Members of the Supreme Court shall be considered living until the 80th year after the year their high school class would normally have graduated. Nominees of Republican Presidents shall be assumed to have turned liberal and their votes recorded in the most brain-dead manner available. Adult diapers may be issued at no cost to a Justice but shall not be required for stuffed panda bears substituted in rare public hearings".

I would think it might be u... (Below threshold)
epador:

I would think it might be up to each State how to deal with the question, but I'm no legal eagle.

Don't states have the abili... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

Don't states have the ability to recall congresscritters? Schedule a recall election and remove the incapacitated officeholder.

Jay, that would mean a De... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, that would mean a Democratic elected Senate would pass a constitutional amendment to allow a Republican Governor the power to appoint a replacement (perhaps himself) to fill the shoes of one of their own, the Democrat pro-choice Johnson, which would mean in practice, that the Dems would be voting themselves out of their precarious hold on Senatorial power..fat chance. Before Johnson's illness, the Republican Governor, the strict anti abortionist Mike Rounds, was already rumoured to be considering running for Johnson's Senate seat when he came up for re-election in 2008. Let's hope Johnson makes a full recovery.. and this doesn't become an issue, but if it does Oregon's way is better"

Jay, of course your propose... (Below threshold)

Jay, of course your proposed solution would not be effective in the hypothetical case of Sen. Johnson being incapacitated, because the Dems are not going to let the Republican Governor of SDAK name his replacement.

I-5 does appear to limit the power to do so only to cases of "disorderly behavior," and so the question is, does this language limit the body's ability to remove members for reasons other than that. I would argue that it does, and therefore an amendment is required. But that is an off-the-cuff educated guess, calling upon my fuzzy recollection of the rules of statutory construction.

I'd be pleased to hear a more scholarly opinion.

Sorry if my link didn't com... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Sorry if my link didn't come through..The Oregon way is simply to hold a snap by-election if one of their senators must retire, as is done in Congress..That would seem the fairest 'small d' democratic way.

Too bad, sooo sad. Johnson... (Below threshold)
jeff:

Too bad, sooo sad. Johnson's senate seat will stay a big D. There are several instances in history where a senator was too ill to leave his home state to vote in washington. There is one case there a republican senator was ill and offered to resign only if the governor of his state would appoint a fellow republican...the governor declined and the senator kept his seat.

I also wonder if the tables were turned, say the reps had a one seat senate lead and a republican had the same thing happen as happened to Johnson, would jay tea be looking to change the rule or law? I think not. You are not concerned that the right thing is done, you sinply want your political party to have more power. Simple as that.

He essentially represents t... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

He essentially represents the constituency of South Dakota and has done nothing to breech the ethics rules of the Senate. It is the State's call. Just my opinion to reinforce that of epador's above.

That measure would "disenfr... (Below threshold)
MItchell:

That measure would "disenfranchise" the voters of South Dakota.

I would be in favor of the mechanism for removing an incapacitated senator at the state level.

JayYour pro... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

Jay

Your proposal has merit, but there should be a very important proviso (probably requiring a Constitutional amendment) that the appointed replacement must be of the same party, regardless of the whims of a governor who my be from the other party. In that way, the will of the people of the affected state would be preserved. A governor of the opposite party should never be permitted to appoint according to his party affiliation, especially in a case like Johnson's where it would not only be contrary to the already expressed will of the state's electorate, but would initiate a profound national change in the outcome of that recent national election.

The alternate solution would be to amend the Constitution if necessary and require a new election, just as is the case in the House.

No governor should be handed the power to overturn, in effect, the national results of an election because he just happens to be in an unique position by party affiliation to do so.

The ultimate objective must be to preserve the will of the people, both in the affected state, and nationally in a case such as Johnson's.

No one could conceivably argue that maintaining the will of the people in their electoral choice is one of the most fundamental principles of our Constitution. Otherwise, the Founding Fathera would have peovided government by fiat.

Even though a Constitutional amendment is a long and arduous process, it is imperative to preserve the will of the peole.

remember we had a Presid... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

remember we had a President with ALZ's..

.....Jimmy Carter?

...the appointed replace... (Below threshold)
Lee:

...the appointed replacement must be of the same party, regardless of the whims of a governor who my be from the other party. In that way, the will of the people of the affected state would be preserved.

The political party of the disabled Senator is a representation of the will of that state's people at the time the Senator was elected, but not the will of the people today. In Ohio, for example, a Senator elected two years ago might be Republican, while today's will is Democratic.

A quick election seems like the most fair solution to me, and the replacement serves out the balance of the outgoing Senator's term.

VagaBondSor... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

VagaBond

Sorry V, your continued sliming of Carter does not change the fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize...something none of you Repube prezzes will ever see.

Tho HW might receive an Oscar nomination for his performance at the recent Jeb Bush FL farewell.

OTH- You Repubes have not only the sole certified ALZ president, but a current one w/ severe dementia.

LBJ was fond of saying that someone was "thinner than piss on a hot rock." By that standard, Geo. W is thinner than piss on a hot sun.

Gee, ug, you bring up an in... (Below threshold)

Gee, ug, you bring up an interesting point. Who was the first president to win a Nobel Prize? Here's a hint: it was just about a century ago.

Carter's Nobel Prize is a joke -- much like most of the Peace Prize winners of the last couple of decades.

And ug, your tone is somewhat familiar. I think I might need to do a little investigating...

J.

And it is worth noting that... (Below threshold)
Lee:

And it is worth noting that with the partisan political opportunism that is evident in a lot of places today surrounding Johnson's illness, not everyone is looking for ways to get/hold power. Mike Castle, a Republican from Delaware, seems to have his head on straight.

Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., said Friday that word of Johnson's problem hit close to home.

Castle suffered a mild stroke in September and was unable to actively campaign for reelection for more than a month.

Castle said Johnson should not even be thinking about resigning and should take the time now to recover.

Overhead in Castle's office: "Senator Castle, I have Karl Rove calling for you, on line 4 -- and he, uhm.., seems a bit upset..."

(with a shout out to my homie Grandaddy Long Legs, who apparently likes to bug people - heh)

I feel I should bring up tw... (Below threshold)

I feel I should bring up two points here:

1) My piece was solely on vacating a seat. The method for re-filling that seat is another matter entirely. While I think there is a good discussion for how vacant Senate seats ought to be filled, that wasn't really considering that.

B) As painful as it is to admit, Lee is having a "blind pig" moment when he mentions that the political climate in a state can shift, and shift rapidly. Here in New Hampshire, both our Senators are Republicans. But last month, the Democrats swept pretty much other office -- held the governorship, took both House seats, and took both houses of our legislature and the Executive Council. So if something untoward were to happen to either Senator Gregg or Senator Sununu, the idea that our governor would be bound to appoint a Republican would be a bit odd.

All in all, I think an election would be a good thing. But it should be left up to the states.

J.

LeeIn regar... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

Lee

In regard to your reply....

As one of the 5 liberals in the state of Ohio, I could hardly but agree w/ you on that point.

All I would say is that maintaining the previous party choice of the state's electorate would be superior to handing that choice over to a governor who has fallen into an "accidental" position to do it by fiat.

I would suffer thru a GOP replacement for de Wine before I'd ever consider giving a fiat to a governor...especially a P.O.S. like the ex Secretary of State-OH-governor-wannabee vote- fixing Blackwell.

your continued sliming o... (Below threshold)

your continued sliming of Carter

No one has to slime Carter; the little jew-hater is doing quite well on his own.

JayThe flaw... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

Jay

The flaw in leaving it up to the states, as you suggested, is the result that one state could inflict the its option, not just on itself, but on an entire nation. There is enough of that lopsidedness possible as a result of the inequities of the Electoral College. We don't need more of that invigorated with the introduction of Heinz 57 vasrieties of solutions for procedure on senatorial replacement.

For everyone to be equally enfranchised in this country there must be a certain degree of uniformity in procedure, particularly when the variant procedure affects the entire nation.

Ug, then you'd have to rewr... (Below threshold)

Ug, then you'd have to rewrite even more of the Constitution. The Several States have always had a certain latitude in a lot of matters, including running their own elections and choosing how they handle vacancies. It's just a matter of state's rights and limits on the power of the federal government.

J.

I hear you Ug, and I agree ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I hear you Ug, and I agree that having the governor choose is not the best choice for the people, because it in no way reflects the will of the people with respect to the senate seat. The people may have decided they like Republican leadership at the state level, but Democratic represntation in the US Senate, and letting the governor choose the replacement for a US Senate seat seems stoopid.

As to Jay's suggestion for changing the way we deal with a disabling illness (or whatever incapacitation), what say we leave it up the that party's political leaders to determine the outcome -- and take away any possible political advantage for the opposition -- and thereby dis-incent Karl Rove from poisoning any Senators (high-five for G-Daddy LL).

Jay"One man... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

Jay

"One man, one vote" changed a lot of state laws about elections.

In that spirit, I think a constitutional amendment could be constructed. The reality of a multiple set of procedures, some being the result of gubernatorial choice, would be to give one man potentially the power of millions of votes.

I would think that a states' righter would put an even higher value on protection of individuals' rights to the extent that one tilts to libertarianism.

No one could conceivably ar... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

No one could conceivably argue that maintaining the will of the people in their electoral choice is one of the most fundamental principles of our Constitution. Otherwise, the Founding Fathera would have peovided government by fiat.

Even though a Constitutional amendment is a long and arduous process, it is imperative to preserve the will of the peole.
Posted by: Ugnohooiam

Oh give me a break! 'The will of the people' canard gets rather old. Look the will of the people is expressed at every 2 and 4 year cycle by voting. After that it is in the hands of the representatives of government that were duly elected. That's why we call this country a Republic.

We don't elect our President by popular vote and that was instituted by the Founders. We until the 16th amendment did not directly elect Senators. that was done by whatever means was defined by the State constitution. If anything the 16th Amendment has been a diaster as it has eliminated the direct representation of the seveal States into the affairs of the Federal Govt.

To be blunt, you're an idiot.

" ..especially a P.O.S. li... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

" ..especially a P.O.S. like the ex Secretary of State-OH-governor-wannabee vote- fixing Blackwell."

Posted by: Ugnohooiam at December 16, 2006 11:31 AM

Uhhh sorry loser, voting fraud is standard opperating procedure of the dirtbag democrats.Plastic face Pelosi keeps getting busted trying to appoint the most criminal of your party. What a bunch of pathetic fiends.

Tea,Actually I opp... (Below threshold)
JonnMc:

Tea,

Actually I oppose your suggestion on the grounds that it totally obliterates the provisions of the 17th amendment. My suggestion would be that the individual governors be premitted to declare the Seantor so afflicted as unable to perform their duties and then proceed with the special election as defined by the 17th Amend.

OT: The fashinonistas will... (Below threshold)
Lee:

OT: The fashinonistas will note that both Jay and Darleen and wearing very nice Carter-inspired asshats.

Carter brokered peace in the Middle East, and a responsible long-term solution. The war-mongers on both sides of the accord just managed to derail it.

There are no Republicans today, in or out of office, that come even close to having the abilities to do what Carter did. Bush can't speak without having prepared remarks ("hey, Israeli dude..."), and none of the Republican leaders visible have any diplomatic skillz, while H. Clinton, Gore and Obama both show that they have the skillz and potential to broker a similar peace accord.

I've got errands to do, and since the recent remarks above from JohnMc and Rob indicate the Wiznut Konservative Klown Kar has screeched to a halt in the center ring and dumped off the usual load of red-nosed idiots I"ll sign off of this interesting discussion. It was fun while it lasted. G-Daddy LL - you are da man!

If it weren't for Habitat F... (Below threshold)
Jo:

If it weren't for Habitat For Humanity, there would be little to say at the future Carter funeral. And the idiots who vote on the Nobel Peace Prize realized just talking about Habitat would be an embarrassment, so they threw him a bone for the pitiful old man who was one of the most inept presidents in our history.

Otherwise Carter would have the shortest funeral in history.

Carter brokered peace in... (Below threshold)

Carter brokered peace in the Middle East

Jaysus on a Pony... Lee enjoys himself a little revisionism almost as much as Jhimmi the jew-hater himself.

Sadat was the one that proposed the negotiations.

Diplomatic skills? Bolton has been highly effective at the UN but the Dems, in full emotional "screw-America we want to be Europeans" pique won't even consider his job performance.

Nothing says "sore winner" more than the refusal to admit they were wrong about Bolton.

If Reagan had alzheimers du... (Below threshold)
Jo:

If Reagan had alzheimers during his presidency, it shows that one republican with a disease can accomplish more than any democrat ever could while in his right mind.

A sad commentary.

It's a little late in the g... (Below threshold)
914:

It's a little late in the game to be changing rule's! The governor decide's if necessary..

Carter? phewey that!

Just an FYIIn the ... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

Just an FYI

In the last 20 years, 8 senators have died in office.

During that period only 1 Democrat was replaced by a Republican. While 2 Republicans were replaced by Democrats (3 if you count Lincoln Chaffee ;-).

Are the Republicans now "due" so that it is fair?

To claim that it is somehow unfair for governors to appoint replacements for dead Senators because it is "accidental" that the governor is in a position to perform his elected responsibility is sophomoric. Part of his job description is to replace missing federal representatives of his state. If the voters of a given state want to make sure that a governor of the opposing party doesn't get to appoint a member of his own party then it is up to them to either a.) elect a governor that is of the same party as their senators (difficult to do if they have a senator from each party) or change their law to disallow appointing to the other party.

Ultimately, we have to ask why this is such a huge issue anyway. Remember, 295 senators have died while in office over the life of our republic. 295! Up until recently, a couple died a year in while in office. I don't have stats but it would be interesting to see how often the seat changed to the other party and even more interesting, when that change altered the balance of power.

The reason this is now such a big issue is that the Senate has taken much more of a role (and I would argue that it is a wholly unconstitutional one) in the judicial appointment process. I maintain that if the Senate simply performed its constitutional "advise and consent" role that it used to before the Democrats started abusing their power in this regard, that none of us would really care much about who had 49 and who had 51.

As Congress takes more power to itself the stakes get higher as to who holds a majority. Back when Congress was an equal branch rather than the controlling branch of government, things like term limits and whether an amendment should be passed to replace an incapacitated senator would have never occurred to anyone.

These days however, the presidency is much more of a hollow pursuit while the leadership roles in Congress (especially if you are corrupt leadership such as we see with Harry "illicit land deal" Reid) actually control the agenda.

My goodness there are some ... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

My goodness there are some laws that I think should be changed.Euthanasia for one.Lee would be a prime candidate,I mean he's brain dead any how.You see how easy it is claim rule changes,please lets live by our constitution our founding fathers were very knowledgeable people, who gave us a method to change the constitution when needed.If its not expressly noted in said cons. than the states have authority live it love it.

Just an FYIIn the ... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

Just an FYI

In the last 20 years, 8 senators have died in office.

During that period only 1 Democrat was replaced by a Republican. While 2 Republicans were replaced by Democrats (3 if you count Lincoln Chaffee ;-).

Are the Republicans now "due" so that it is fair?

To claim that it is somehow unfair for governors to appoint replacements for dead Senators because it is "accidental" that the governor is in a position to perform his elected responsibility is sophomoric. Part of his job description is to replace missing federal representatives of his state. In the last 35 years (and maybe even farther back) NO governor has appointed a replacement from the opposing party. Kind of makes sense.

If the voters of a given state want to make sure that a governor of the opposing party doesn't get to appoint a member of his own party then it is up to them to either a.) elect a governor that is of the same party as their senators (difficult to do if they have a senator from each party) or change their law to disallow appointing to the other party.

Ultimately, we have to ask why this is such a huge issue anyway. Remember, 295 senators have died while in office over the life of our republic. 295! Up until recently, a couple died a year in while in office. I don't have stats but it would be interesting to see how often the seat changed to the other party and even more interesting, when that change altered the balance of power.

The reason this is now such a big issue is that the Senate has taken much more of a role (and I would argue that it is a wholly unconstitutional one) in the judicial appointment process. I maintain that if the Senate simply performed its constitutional "advise and consent" role that it used to before the Democrats started abusing their power in this regard, that none of us would really care much about who had 49 and who had 51.

As Congress takes more power to itself the stakes get higher as to who holds a majority. Back when Congress was an equal branch rather than the controlling branch of government, things like term limits and whether an amendment should be passed to replace an incapacitated senator would have never occurred to anyone.

These days however, the presidency is much more of a hollow pursuit while the leadership roles in Congress (especially if you are corrupt leadership such as we see with Harry "illicit land deal" Reid) actually control the agenda.

Sorry for the double post. ... (Below threshold)
Beeblebrox:

Sorry for the double post.

Well, if nothing else this ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Well, if nothing else this thread provided something I thought I'd never see; someone actually defended Jimmy Carter. I guess there's a first for everything.

It should be entirely left ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

It should be entirely left up to the state. If a member doesn't show to vote (ala John Kerry '04), the people affected, that is the people represented, should be only party that has a say in the matter.

In that spirit, I think a constitutional amendment could be constructed. The reality of a multiple set of procedures, some being the result of gubernatorial choice, would be to give one man potentially the power of millions of votes.

I would think that a states' righter would put an even higher value on protection of individuals' rights to the extent that one tilts to libertarianism.

One thing that people often mistake is that there is a Constitutional right to vote. There is not such thing. It's entirely up to each state to decide how their representatives are chosen and isn't a matter to be decided at a Federal level. If a state wants to choose successor by gubernatorial fiat, that's no concern of the Federal government and hence no need for a constitutional amendment. That's not to say that gubernatorial fiat is the correct solution, but that it's a state matter not a federal one.

Carter, the micro administr... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Carter, the micro administrator recalled everything and sought to promote human rights as an end itself. Reagan the 'teflon presiden't publicly praised the Nicaragua contra leaders, (jainfaix) calling them."the moral equal of our Founding Fathers." (though privately he thought they were vandals). In case many of you have forgotten this chapter, this is Lawrence Walsh's (a lifelong Republican up until then)
INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR
IRAN/CONTRA MATTERS final report's, chapter on Reagan

Lee,Carter, of cou... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

Lee,

Carter, of course, has become known as almost the consensus worst President of the century and is certainly in the running for all-time worst. For those too young to remember, Carter lost 46 States to Reagan in his reelection bid. Reagan went on to win 49 States in his reelection.

Such numbers are unheard of now, but to understand them one has to recall the very troubled times Mr. Carter brought about. While all Presidents had forcefully opposed the Soviets since WWII, Carter allowed them freedom to roam and they took full advantage. Something like seven countries were lost to Soviet influence during the Carter years. With Carter the wimp, they were unopposed in South America, Africa and elsewhere. His sole response was to withhold our Olympic team from Moscow.

So, he gave away the Panama Canal, and responded weakly to the Iran hostages and the fall of the Shah. Cuba became more aggressive with the Sandinistas and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Many African countries like Ethiopia were lost to many years of internal struggle made worse by the Soviets strength and the American weakness. Reagan later needed to counter these Soviet advances in Panama, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and to assist the rebels in Afghanistan. Reagan also deployed missiles in Europe, started strategic air defense, rebuilt the military, and fought the Soviets in a thousand other ways. Carter did nothing.

As bad as Carter's foreign policy was, it was nothing compared to his domestic policy. Carter believed the planet was out of oil and that the US was using too many resources. Nothing could be done - we had to adjust to the new reality and malaise. This led to the liberals' love: more laws for everyone's behavior. Office buildings were forced to a max temperature of 65% in winter, which froze most women and forced them into rather strange fashions. Speed limits were set to 55mph max for the whole country. Atlanta airport was ordered to circle airplanes on the ground rather than the air to save fuel, resulting in hours of delay. Carter held the line on price controls on energy resulting in long lines at gas stations and no incentive to drill for more.

As a result of these disastrous policies interest rates became double digits (credit cards were 20% plus) unemployment was above 10% and inflation was also very high. Recession, lost jobs, no investment, banking failures, a depression in Commercial Real Estate brought on by higher and higher taxes and negative growth in the economy resulted. At the top rate of about 90% (income tax), everyone's strategy was to avoid taxes not to invest in new business. Under Carter, the US was headed south...fast.

Reagan of course removed the energy price controls, which freed the search for new sources, and the long gas lines were gone in less than ten weeks. He lowered the top tax rate to about 40%, which started new investments in real business not just tax shelters. After a short recession, since then (Reagan's tax cuts) the US has enjoyed its longest period of expansion and for twenty five years unemployment, interest rates and inflation have been low and stable, and never have approached that of the Carter years.

So now you know how a sitting President can get killed in an election. He was a 100% disaster in domestic policy and 99% in foreign policy.

Which brings me to the one thing he hangs his hat on and the only thing that the MSM would have us remember about the guy - the Egypt/Israel peace accords. It should be noted that true peace in this region is elusive and difficult. In many cases the parties want to fight more than anything as in the case of Fatah, Hamas etc. It was only because of the strength of Sadat and Begin that this peace was possible to begin with. While full credit should be given to Carter for mediating this deal, it should not be forgotten that it was bought about mostly by the principals and their desire for peace, rather than a great diplomatic initiative by the Americans. Our part was small - billions to each side - compared to Sadat, say, who was later assassinated for his trouble.

Nor has Carter been able to reproduce this diplomatic success in anything since - indeed the opposite - the scam nuke "deal" with North Korea and Haiti among many other failures. One needs only to look at Carter's love affair with Chavez (Castro II) to understand the true nature of his foreign policy thinking and why the Soviets and Cubans never enjoyed a better time than when Carter was President.

Lee:<br ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Lee:


Carter brokered peace in the Middle East, and a responsible long-term solution.

An accomplishment unmatched since Chamberlain brokered peace with Germany.

The Governor of Johnson's s... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The Governor of Johnson's state was duly elected. One of his powers it to appoint replacements to the Senate. The People have spoken. If they didn't want this possibility, they shouldn't have elected him Governor.

So those of you who are feeling Party Associated sour grapes, suck it.

I'm not suggesting for a se... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I'm not suggesting for a second that Carter was a great president. Don't get me wrong, Carter had a lot of flaws and I agree that overall he did a piss-poor job (especially with the stupid economy, stupid), but only Bill Clinton has matched Carter's ability to get the Middle East talking and agreeing. No Republican has, before or since.

Granted, Bush I and II didn't even bother to try, but we're talking about accomplishments not benign neglect.

Sorry to have contrbuted to this thread's wanderings away from the topic of Jay's post, but us blind pigs are known for wandering (and I only weighed in after the hat show began).

Robert the original. You h... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Robert the original. You have a pretty rose -colored view, in retrospect of Reagan's general popularity..I recall it was down and up and then down through his 8 year tenure, mainly as reflection of how well the economy was doing. For example After two years, Reagan's rating (including Carter's)was lower than every President back to Dwight D. Eisenhower

Seems obvious here that all... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

Seems obvious here that all the WF's are merely looking for justification to pick the low-hanging fruit.

Looks like the same short-sightedness of the GOP that lost the chance for a 3rd Reagan term because they had rammed the 22nd Amendment through to get even w/ the Democrats for 4 terms of FDR.

LeeCarter's abi... (Below threshold)

Lee

Carter's ability to get the Middle East talking
WTF? Once again from the top Carter didn't "get" anyone talking. Sadat was the one that started the ball rolling. Carter stood around to hold the chairs.

It's like crediting the waiter for the fine quality of wine.

Steve,Is it my vie... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

Steve,

Is it my view that is distorted, or yours?

Yes, all Presidents go up and down in the polls, Bush (41) went from 91% approval to an election loss in a matter of months. Presidents who do lots of things go through greater extremes.

But it is a rare President indeed who can win reelection with 49 States, and this is fact not rose-colored anything. It is a measure both of Reagan's greatness and Carter's inepnitude, which was the point. Also, this is not my point of view but that of the American people.

It is the liberals that constantly try to reduce Reagan, but fail. Many historians already consider him among the great Presidents.

And you donkeys can look back with fondness at your last liberal President, Carter, and try to rehabilitate him, but that too will fail.

Carter brokered pe... (Below threshold)
Carter brokered peace in the Middle East, and a responsible long-term solution. The war-mongers on both sides of the accord just managed to derail it.

Wow...just wow. The breathtaking weight of such an ignorant statement. Bravo Lee.

I must've missed the part where there's love and happiness going on in the Middle East since Jimmy Carter was in office. How about the great job he did with North Korea too?

Just more mealy-mouthed inanity from you.

I think the costs, politica... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

I think the costs, politically, of trying to force some sort of amendment out of this issue are way too high.

It's too easy for the Dems to use this for political ammo, because they have the very good argument of "why now, and not other times this has happened?" The answer of course is that the balance of power in the senate may shift a bit. You can't do this without coming off as crass at the least.

There they go with those... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

There they go with those ratings and polls again to smoke screen their Criminal Leaders. Just like Holleywood Movies aren't "Real" just merely a production, so too is the Democrat Party. A pathetic Production by a party of frauds blowhorned by their dishonest and deceitful Media.

All the retards here , lee, ug and fools are just mini productions just as dumb if not dumber than the frauds they worship. These losers will never be happy no matter what because they exactly what they are and the dirty rotten and criminal things they do to get where they are.

That's why these unbathed derelicts merrily pollish away at the many turds they are unashamed to support even after they get exposed as frauds , felons and liars. Birds of a feather roll around in the bed together like a happy inbred family.

Sorry V, your cont... (Below threshold)
marc:
Sorry V, your continued sliming of Carter does not change the fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize...something none of you Repube prezzes will ever see. :: by Ugnohooiam on December 16, 2006 11:14 AM ::
And that fact places Carter where?

Alongside, Yasser Arafat.

Robert the original.To say ... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

Robert the original.To say the least your post was one of the best for information and historic accuracy that I have had the pleasure to read.You know that it's not going to make a difference to the Lee's of the world,but thank you,if you had a blog it would be very successful.

I thought I'd wait until th... (Below threshold)
epador:

I thought I'd wait until the thread got WAY off topic to say I really think any amendment to a Johnson is gilding the lily.

robert the original ... (Below threshold)
Ugnohooiam:

robert the original

You boasted above: "Many historians already consider him among the great Presidents."

Enlighten me, if you would be so kind, w/ enough of a list of notable historians that are on record expressing such a view other than Fox News quacks who could never count as credible historians.

Rob LA Ca

Struck with the intellectual magnitude of your post above, let me guess...you hold a PhD in Philosophy &/or Political Science/History...no? Likely you are one of robert the original's above cited historians ranking Reagan as "one of the great presidents."

Except maybe in LeeLee's ca... (Below threshold)
epador:

Except maybe in LeeLee's case.

Ug<a href="http://... (Below threshold)

Ug

here you go

On page 6 Reagan is #8 in the 11 Best US Presidents, on page 7 Carter is ranked #30 (10th worst) US President.

Have fun.

Thank you Darleen.... (Below threshold)
robert the original:
Those floppy shoes are the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Those floppy shoes are the coolest you guys, thanks for the entertainment!

[honking red nose for Lee]<... (Below threshold)
epador:

[honking red nose for Lee]

"Sorry to have contrbuted t... (Below threshold)
Bwahahaha!:

"Sorry to have contrbuted to this thread's wanderings away from the topic of Jay's post,"
Posted by: Lee at December 16, 2006 03:26 PM

Is it just me but does "ugh... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Is it just me but does "ughie" smell like an old "sock"? Seems like I have "smelled" him before. Maybe not but who knows.

Perhaps some of the pre-ado... (Below threshold)
epador:

Perhaps some of the pre-adolescent ranting here could be doused by David Pogue, from of all places, his NYT blog:

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/

Check his sarcasm detector and etiquette posts.

I hate to see a serious top... (Below threshold)

I hate to see a serious topic worthy of discussion go down the tubes with petty sniping. Congratulations to those who tried to take it seriously in the midst of attempts to sidetrack and deligitimize it.

Jay had a pretty valid point that the issue should be addressed. However, if people don't know that their Governor has the ability to appoint a successor to a Senatorial seat, then TFB. The "we didn't know so we want to change it" defense, when it becomes convenient, would be wrong. They need to get educated and use that knowledge as part of their criteria for selecting a Governor and don't whine and cry if he should replace their Senator with one from his own party. Yes, that goes both ways.

The political spectrum of right and left stretches considerably from the center. It may not be the "will of the people" to replace a center-left (or center-right) with someone farther from center just because of their initial. Being forced to replace a Senator with one from the same party is no better than replacing him/her with someone from the opposite party.

The real crux of the problem is at what point and under what criteria can a Senator or Congress(wo)man be forced out of office so that the people (or the states) have equal representation.

Oyster...Fine,leave it the ... (Below threshold)
norepukelicanhere:

Oyster...Fine,leave it the way that it is in most states; to the governor belongs the spoils.

By the same token: leave the resolution of a "declared" vacancy to just the way it is as well.

You wizzers like setting up the issue of senatorial vacancy only so you can contrive a means to easily pick the low-hanging fruit when the moment is opportune.

Y'all just g'on & whine about the Senate that your party lost.

Your moans of pain are actually delightful to the ears.

Oyster...Fine,leave it the ... (Below threshold)
norepukelicanhere:

Oyster...Fine,leave it the way that it is in most states; to the governor belongs the spoils.

By the same token: leave the resolution of a "declared" vacancy to just the way it is as well.

You wizzers like setting up the issue of senatorial vacancy only so you can contrive a means to easily pick the low-hanging fruit when the moment is opportune.

Y'all just g'on & whine about the Senate that your party lost.

Your moans of pain are actually delightful to the ears.

Leave it up to a Blue State... (Below threshold)

Leave it up to a Blue State to whine about the "will of the people!" GD Donks can't stand the fact that their majority may go byebye and they can't do shit about it.
Personally, I pray for Senator Johnson's full recovery, but if it is in the Lord's will that He has other plans...so be it!

What's the problem? One les... (Below threshold)
Captain Joe:

What's the problem? One less Donk voting. Take advantage of it.

I was whining? No, this is... (Below threshold)

I was whining? No, this is whining...

WAAAAH!!

How about addressing what I actually said instead of taking it to the extreme so you can justify your snidery.




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