Allow me to state at the outset that the following is simply a statement of my opinion. Before anyone starts yelling for links. A recent article on the History Channel portrayed the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR came to the presidency at a time and under circumstances which would either make a man a legend or destroy him utterly. Faced with the worst economic recession in American history, Roosevelt led the country back to confidence. Faced with a looming world war, FDR prepared the nation and then led it into the fight. Agree or disagree with Franklin D. Roosevelts programs or policies, it remains an undisputed fact that he was a leader. He saw the problem, he developed policies and programs, he implemented them and then he saw them through to their ultimate conclusion. FDR instilled confidence in the office of President through his personal example. But to an even greater degree, FDR instilled confidence because he demonstrated his own confidence in the American people. Demonstrating trust and confidence in those you lead. That is the true hallmark of a great leader and that was the insight which jumped out at me after watching this program. If one examines the differences between the great leaders and the pathetic failures which occupied the Oval Office in recent history, one can see the distinction of true leadership as clearly and sharply delineated as the San Andreas Fault line. During his presidency, Jimmy Carter allowed the nation to be held up for embarrassment, ridicule and humiliation. Carter was not a leader. In fact, Carter was a coward. Carter was a coward on a personal level. When the Russians displeased him, Carter punished the Russians by refusing to allow American athletes to participate in the Winter Olympics. This was an act of craven cowardice because Carter acted not against the target of his ire, opting instead to punish the hundreds of American athletes who had now wasted years of effort in preparation. Carter picked the easiest target. He cared nothing for the harm he was doing to his own people and he did not even recognize that the Russians were simply laughing at him. Later, when the Russians again displeased Carter, he responded by refusing to release the millions of tons of grain which had been contracted by Russia. Did this hurt the Russians? Not really. They got their grain elsewhere. But it sure didnt help the American farmers who had counted on selling their product on the Russian market. So again, Carter punished Americans. Carter was a coward on a professional level. When the arab oil embargo caused massive gasoline price increases, Carters response was to tell Americans to turn down their thermostats, wear sweaters and car pool. He responded to spiraling stagnation and inflation by imposing government price controls. Of course, these accomplished nothing except to produce shortages and surpluses. The nadir of his infamous presidency had to be the pathetic, whining, deplorable State of the Union speech in which he decried the malaise which had gripped the nation. Carter never understood that it was his own cowardice, his lack of resolve, his lack of confidence in himself and in the people he was elected to lead that were the reasons for the malaise he decried. Carters spineless whining was the catalyst which emboldened Iranian militants to seize American hostages. Carters empty rhetoric further gave courage to a mad dog Khomeini to thumb his nose at Carter and the USA. We are still suffering today from Carters ineffectual groveling. In my opinion, the events of Sep 11, 2001 can be traced directly to Jimmy Carters spineless presidency. Carters lack of resolve emboldened our enemies and made our friends wonder if this nation could be counted on. Then along came Ron. Pres. Reagan was no genius, no deep thinker, but he was a man grounded in practicality and he was a man with an unshakeable faith in the nation and in its people. The countrys attitude turned on a dime, from timid apologists to fierce enemy of totalitarianism. From weak-kneed introspection to unbounded optimism practically overnight. All this because Pres. Reagan had core moral values, believed in himself and believed in the people who put him into office. Ronald Reagan believed that this nations greatest asset was its people, and he believed that until the day he died. Ronald Reagans influence was so great that George H.W. Bush was carried into office on Reagans coattails. Then we once again suffered at the hands of liberals for eight long years. Clinton was charismatic, a great maker of speeches. He was an excellent actor proven by the fact that he could appear genuine and sincere while lying through his teeth. Clintons values were ephemeral and changed with the latest opinion polls. He, like Carter, was a believer in government solutions to problems of the private sector. Clinton viewed the American people as a commodity. He sees us as a pack of chumps to be bamboozled, charmed, schmoozed and tricked while he and his harpy spouse do whatever they see fit. Now we have George W. Whether or not you believe that hes the brightest bulb in the fixture, Pres. Bush has the same core characteristics of a leader. Like Roosevelt, GW had a terrible problem thrust upon him. He defined the problem, he developed a plan and he is pursuing that plan. Like Roosevelt and Reagan, GW believes in himself and he believes in the American people. You may not agree with GW, you may even dislike him. You cannot accuse him of being indecisive or lacking direction. Perhaps confidence in the American people is THE defining factor of a true leader. Maybe thats why conservatives have surged to the forefront in recent years. Conservatives basically believe that people are smart enough, competent enough and ambitious enough to run their own lives. Liberals, on the other hand, think we need their guidance to blow our own noses.