by Andy Weddington
Friday, 06 November 2015
"Nobody shows up just ready to be president."
Bill Clinton (42nd President of the United States - impeached)
Presidents - there is nothing special about them.
Presidents are human. Like all humans they are a complex mix of inner workings.
Presidents, too, are self-doubting; vulnerable; suspicious; insecure; seek praise; dislike criticism; like some people and dislike others; use people - liked and disliked - for personal gains; strong; weak; compassionate; loving; and well you get the idea.
Presidents are people.
This morning I closed back cover on 'The Presidents Club - Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity' by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
In a sentence, the work is a cliff notes tome from FDR to BHO - and the relationships, and sometimes lack of, thereof. The story is interesting for the peek behind the curtains it offers. But it is only a peek and one that had to be approved (by someone or some many) so let's not kid ourselves.
Amidst reading, I was distracted and watched a seven minute segment of an MSNBC anchor interviewing Dr. Ben Carson - as to the recent scrounging going on to discredit his stories from youth of a hot temper - injuring some and threatening (to include life) others with bodily harm.
An interview it was not. More so badgering. It was assuredly an attempt to smear a man emerging as a serious presidential candidate. Dr. Carson stood firm. And toward the end he rightfully questioned the voracity of vetting our sitting president.
Not lost on me was had Barack Obama been subjected to the same rigor of now happening vetting at MSNBC (and alike outlets) he'd have at best case been deported and worst case imprisoned if not hanged. (Only some of that sarcasm, take your pick.)
Also, another network aired a clip from a video using what appeared to be Hispanic children hurling vulgarities - verbal and digital - at Mr. Trump. This to express displeasure with him and his upcoming appearance on SNL. It was difficult to watch.
Two serious candidates for our presidency in liberal gunsights (the irony). And they are not the only ones marching on in the face of ever-increasing attack.
With election, presidents club membership automatic - with duties for life and the ever after.
Thus with that membership a not surprising lesson from the book is how much presidents rely on presidents - and that reliance is not necessarily restricted to the living. Sitting presidents, while known to consult living predecessors - privately and publicly, visit portraits of the long dead; read journals and diaries and books; and scribble down quotes to carry for reminder and strength. But to be clear, though the fraternity supports the fraternity loyalty is first to country.
Relationships between past presidents, at least as described, interesting.
Like you and me, presidents are just people.
The book I opt not to spoil so will close with the last thought that struck me...
When Bill Clinton was warmly welcomed into the Bush family - as a brother of another mother - he referred to himself as the "black sheep" and noted that every family has one.
What sort of post-presidency member will Obama be?
I'll not fathom guess but whether welcomed into any one family or not, he will be welcomed into the fraternity family and Bill Clinton will not be alone - the flock within the flock will be two. That is irrefutable and not subject to change - for any amount of hope.
Recommend the Gibbs/Duffy book.