.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, January 30, 2006


The funniest anecdote I read from the book I mentioned I was reading, Fraternity by Bob Greene, is that the author asked President Gerald R. Ford, what was his favourite film of all time.

His reply?

Mrs. Doubtfire.

The ex-president said he laughed from start to finish.

There's something so hilarious about that mental image, of Jerry Ford guffawing in a darkened movie theatre at a cross-dressing Robin Williams somewhere near Grand Rapids, which evokes Chevy Chase at his finest.

Greene's book is a study in cringing moments like that, because he asks questions at once so intimate, but that many of us would like to know anyway, that it forces you to continue reading it.


He asked President Nixon if anyone called him "Dick".

Answer: No. Not even Cuban-American Key Biscayne celeb, Bebe Rebozo, probably his closest friend in the world, who called him "Mr President" even when no one was around.

And Nixon volunteered that he never took his jacket off in the Oval Office. Ever. He just had too much respect for the place.

You know, that's so contradictorily human, I believe it.

The man who might well have ordered a burglary to find out what his political opponents were scheming, and who recorded himself using F-bombs galore -- or in other words, someone without any moral compunctions in that regard, is so respectful of the actual office of the President, that he wouldn't defile its sanctity by taking off his suit jacket when he was at work.

...He asked President Carter what time he sleeps, generally.

Answer: 10:30, or at the latest, 11:00 (just like George W. Bush, it should be noted).

President Carter also gets up very early, at 5:30 AM or 6:00, since he is most productive early in the morning.

You think people get to be President if they're not personally regimented? Not.

...He asked Gerald Ford the most personal questions, because Ford was the most down-to-earth of the 5 men portrayed.

Apart from the Mrs. Doubtfire revelation, he asked Ford if he buys his own clothes.

Answer: No, Mrs. Ford does. And she chooses his clothes to wear, oftentimes, but not in a controlling manner. Just normally, as many wives do with their husbands.

It may be a complete coincidence, too, but of the 5 men in the book, all 5 were very close to their wivs.

Richard and Pat Nixon -- he couldn't stop referring to her in his conversation.

Gerald and Betty Ford -- Gerald Ford's eyes would light up when she came into the room, like he were seeing her for the first time, each time. He also called her his "best friend".

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter -- tied at the hip as a couple. Very loving, and supportive of each other.

George HW and Babara Bush -- although not much in evidence personally in his chapter (Jeb Bush makes a very affectionate appearance, though), Bush sweetly refers to his wife often.

And of course, we all know about Ronald and Nancy Reagan, perhaps the greatest love story in Presidential terms, of all time.

Unlike all the other presidents, Greene didn't actually interview President Reagan, but he got to attend a Beverly Hills Hilton do, honouring then Israeli PM, Yitzhak Rabin.

(He mentions that Merv Griffin who, of course, owns the toney hotel, emceed the event, after having been introduced to the audience by the theme of "Jeopardy!"....which, of course, he also owns. That man must be richer than God or at least, God's brother, Larry)

It's a shame really, because I once remember watching a 1991 Larry King Live interview with President Reagan, where he no doubt surprised many (alas) with his intelligence.

Regimented. Smart. And very close to their wife.

I'm sure those are not the only common denominators that makes a man attain the US Presidency, but they obviously don't hurt.

P.S.: If you wonder what I think of the others:

President Clinton is popularily believed to be smart, but not regimented, and certainly, not close to his wife.

But I'm not so sure on that last account.

Just because he hasn't slept with Mrs. Clinton since Captain and Tenille went platinum, doesn't mean they're not close.

They may have a very Franklin-and-Eleanor pragmatic bedroom arrangement, where they are helpmeets more than love of their lives, but it could be argued that they've stayed together for a purpose, which no matter how important, many other couples didn't have the werewithal to tough out.

Of course, President Bush 43 is popularily believed to be regimented, and close to his wife, but not smart.

Maybe he's not an intellect, but there are all kinds of smarts.

He is, certainly, an amazing politician.

And in that regard, very similar to the 6 gentleman who preceeded him, by definition.


Post a Comment

Who linked Here:

Create a Link

<< Home


Advertise on blogs
British Expat Blog Directory.