09 July 2007

Is there hope for Dubya after politics?

Contemplating this weekend's Live Earth concerts, inspired by Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, I couldn't help but note how American ex-presidents, or in this case a near-president, can be such forces for good in the world while the current president seems to foul everything he gets his hands on.

Jimmy Carter's work advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity; Bill Clinton's fund raising for AIDS and other causes and his foundation's initiatives to address a range of global problems; and of course Al Gore's magnificent work on global warming; all testify to powerful commitments to make the world a better place by peaceful means.

Intriguingly, all three of the above were to a degree failures at political office. Jimmy Carter was a one-term president, losing in his bid for a second term after the Iran hostage crisis. Bill Clinton had a disappointing presidency culminating in near impeachment over a little white lie any gentleman would have told (of course, a real gentleman wouldn't have put himself in a position where he had to lie). And Al Gore famously lost a presidential election even though he got more votes than the other guy.

So maybe there's hope for George W. Bush after all. If Carter, Clinton and Gore can all rise above mediocre political careers, maybe even Dubya will do something worthwhile after his presidency mercifully ends. At least, if he can be trusted with anything.

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