Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to Grand Junction!

Jimmy Carter billboard in Grand Junction, Colorado with caption: 'They can't call me the worst president anymore!'Last month, when I read about the billboard in Wyoming, Minnesota, that featured a smiling, waving George W. Bush, with the caption, "Miss me yet?", I thought it was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard of. But the good citizens of my fair city, Grand Junction, Colorado, must have taken it as a challenge because one of them recently one-upped it in a big way. Yes, the billboard above is real. It sits near the intersection of 1st and Grand, about two miles from my home. Go ahead and click on it if you want to see the full 800x600 view.

The thinking behind this message is so foreign to me that I didn't even understand it at first. Obviously, Jimmy Carter's thought bubble is meant to imply that our current president, Barack Obama, has taken over the title of "worst president," but Obama has only been in office for just over a year. It's a little too soon to be making that kind of judgment, unless you're basing your opinion on factors other than job performance, like the man's skin color. Racism is alive and well here, and it was on full display at candidate Obama's rally in September 2008 and at President Obama's town hall meeting on health care in August 2009.

The more difficult thing for me to understand is Jimmy Carter in the role of previous "worst president." I will grant you that I didn't vote for him in either 1976 or 1980, but I most certainly did not vote for Gerald Ford or Ronald Reagan either. I voted for Independents in both of those elections. But Jimmy Carter as worst president? I don't get it. Like President Obama, he inherited an economic mess from the previous administration, and he was unlucky to be in office when the Iranians decided to take some Americans hostage. Still, he narrowly lost to Reagan in 1980, so how bad could he have been? Former President Carter is now widely regarded as the most effective former president in history, acting, along with his wife Rosalynn, as America's ambassador to the world.

I don't care how much Karl Rove tries to sugar-coat it in his new book, George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst president ever--far worse than even Andrew Johnson, the first president ever to face impeachment. We will be living with the unconscionable economic and political damage of the Bush years for decades to come. President Obama was elected to begin the repairs, but he has no cooperation from the party that helped to wreck things in the first place. Yesterday's purely partisan vote on health care reform is clear evidence of that.

A more realistic billboard might show Republicans Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence laughing hysterically and giving us all the finger. Now that's a message I could understand.


stephanie said...

I think we should raise money and make that billboard happen!! So unbelievable!! Just got back from Bahamas.... trying to catch up on your blog. You've been very busy!

Anonymous said...

bipartisanship is on both sides - dems are shoving their agenda through as well