The greatest ex-president


As we move deeper into this year’s election… further along the path of a hideous national embarrassment… I find myself thinking about some of the things I’ve considered, both along the way this year and over time.

I’ve always believed that Bill Bradley and John McCain… candidates from almost two decades ago… were two of the best individuals we had for consideration in quite some time. This may be true for my entire lifetime. Brilliant men with incredible personal histories and an unquestionable passion for the country. So naturally, neither man won his party’s nomination back then.

Mind you, this is not the John McCain of 2008 that I’m considering. I’m looking at the man running during the 2000 election. And there is a huge difference between that John McCain, the current John McCain, and the John McCain that lost to Barack Obama in 2008.

In twists and turns that most people never would have dared predict, in 2004 many joked about how the Democrats couldn’t produce a candidate to defeat George Bush. One significant twist came when the Republicans were unable to find a candidate that could defeat Obama in 2012. And for a major turn, if these candidates had been in it from the beginning, you could make a fairly well-reasoned and solid argument that a 2004 John Kerry or a 2012 Mitt Romney would be on cruise control to winning the presidency in 2016 against the current cast of characters competing for the honor. Yes, indeed… the twist in 2016 is that neither party can produce a candidate that is worthy of a ticket to visit the White House for a morning tour, never mind one worthy of moving in for four years.

(I can’t be the only one chuckling about Ross Perot, and how an independent candidate on that level wouldn’t just be a viable option this year, but quite likely would be solidly positioned as the frontrunner.)

The amazing thing about all of it is how everyone seems to believe that voters are idiots that remember nothing. Unfortunately, the results so far show that those beliefs may be well-founded. As an example, Democrats want us to believe that we still need to overcome the latest Bush double-term… even though they’ve held the position for the past two terms, and four of the last six. Yes, true, when the next American President takes the oath of office, Democrats will at that point have held the office for sixteen of the past twenty-four years. Exactly what party’s politics do we need to recover from?

The answer to that question is easy… because it’s both. Here we are… again… being treated to promises, surely empty promises, about returning America to greatness, the strength of hope and the suggestion of change and blah-blah-blah in the next most important election ever. Because… yeah… most important ever my ass.

As of this moment, the only thing that seems pretty cool is electing Donald Trump.

Now hold on… I’m not saying we should elect Trump. He is, in my opinion, a jackass of gargantuan stature. There is no measurement available to show exactly how big a jackass he is. I am, by no means, advocating that anyone should vote for him, or be pleased in any way about his campaign.

However, every candidate running for president right now looks like something that is legendary for being placed in a bag, brought to a doorstep, and set on fire. The scariest thing when calling one leading candidate a misogynistic con man (because that’s the nicest thing you can call him) has to be looking around and realizing that none of the other candidates are worthy of a more positive description. Different adjectives. Same burning paper bag.

I’ve often said I’m not impressed with President Barack Obama.

That remains true today.

It has been my experience that most people cannot find full-time employment, because most employers are only hiring part-time staff to avoid the requirements for medical benefits. And here’s the kicker… the Democrats brag about job growth numbers as if it’s an apples-to-apples comparison, and I’m not so sure it is.

Let’s say you employed 500 full-time employees. New regulations come out concerning medical benefits and your particular size of a company. So you do some research, decide to drop the entire staff to twenty-hours a week, cut their benefits, and then set off to hire people to fill 500 additional part-time jobs you just added. Then employment figures come out and say that the country added 500 jobs since there are now 1,000 of them, completely missing how many people lost income and medical coverage in order for those jobs to be added.

Ok… I get it… “Bob, you’re an idiot. I see that you’re trying to use one example that would multiply out to creating the national employment figures. But that didn’t happen.” And to a certain extent, you’d be right, it didn’t happen. Not specifically that way. But let’s take a deep breath for a moment and consider…

First – Companies had a transition period before they needed to comply. And while yes, many people… most people… kept their positions, I’d be interested in hearing how many of you saw no hiring changes where you work. Because with almost no exceptions, I saw companies let their staffing numbers drop through attrition while hiring virtually nothing but part-time employees when they did bring anyone on board.

Did it happen swiftly and clearly as I outlined a moment ago? No. Of course not. But over a couple of years, it really sort of did. Companies have been going through massive layoffs and letting full-time staff leave, while bringing in mostly casual, temporary and part-time staff in return. The shift in HR policies nationwide under this administration has been immense.

Second – How many of you have the same medical you had six years ago? I’d be willing to bet that even people that still have the same general coverage have been hit by ridiculous increases in co-pays and weekly contributions. They’re finding that procedures covered in full a few years ago are now only covered to a certain level. Deductibles have increased. And I’d guess that a substantial number of you are confused by the company wellness programs that arrived a few years ago, and each year become a just bit more difficult to complete.

In short, one of the promises was that those of us with medical we liked could keep the medical we liked, but… yeah… not so much.

Third – You heard about the employment figures during the U.S. Census a few years ago, right? Well, head out to a search engine… go ahead and we’ll wait… head out and Google it, about employment rates being altered due to the 2010 U.S. Census jobs.

What you’re likely to find is that hundreds of thousands of temporary jobs were added in the United States for Census workers. And those temporary positions did alter the numbers for job growth and unemployment and more.

And while many decades of experience allow for those numbers to be understood and even adjusted so they can be read in true comparison, the reality is I’m a firm believer that numbers absolutely do lie. They get shifted and altered and edited to support what a person wants. And all of this, and more, is why I don’t believe we are dealing with apples-to-apples.

The thing is… I don’t want to publish a long essay about the Obama Presidency and my difficulties with it, which would need more research and time. And also because I believe Obama the man is a worthy representation of our great country.

Instead… Obama, the man… I want to say something else…

I may not be thrilled with the results of his years in office, I do indeed respect the individual. He is intelligent, well spoken, and I cannot even begin to imagine some of the pressures he has been under during his years in office.

I completely and whole-heartedly believe that in the years to come, we will recognize Barack Obama as having the greatest impact post-presidency of any U.S. President.

He will roughly be 55 years old and in good health while going through the transition from President to Citizen. With so many presidents surviving decades after the Oval Office, I certainly wish him the best, and a long life filled with health and happiness.

Currently, I think Jimmy Carter is near the top of the list of those that have had an incredibly positive influence on the world after leaving the White House. He has been a leader in charitable efforts and hands-on in many ways, while generally avoiding the spotlight or desire for recognition. For the most part, we catch glimpses of him building houses while most others seemingly make appearances only when releasing their new book.

I believe Obama will follow in Carter’s footsteps, so to speak, and we will witness one of the most brilliant runs of influence ever on American youth and culture at the hands of a former U.S. President. In short… his campaign promises of unity and hope will ultimately find realization not during his terms in office, but after.

And from those wonderful thoughts, let’s swing the pendulum and conclude with a return to Trump.

I actually did use the phrase “pretty cool” with reference to him. And here’s why… I believe his presidency would be a disaster of incomparable proportions. Which could in turn be just the inspiration we need as a country to finally begin a massive correction of the politics as usual club.

For so many reasons, I hope it doesn’t happen. But as we seem to be failing in our attempts to put out the porch fire, I do so enjoy at least attempting to be an optimist.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at