Thursday, March 20, 2014

White House On The DL

Using DL as a phrase is something new to me. Apparently, it means "on the down low". That apparently means to keep something quiet. Don't spread it around. Today I'm letting it mean something else entirely. Today it means to bring something from a high status to a lower status. Such as the White House.

I have lived through more Presidents than most people, back to the days of FDR. Presidents then presented themselves with the dignity due the stature of the office. They commanded respect, acted with restraint, and treated the White House with the honor it's history demands.

Richard Milhouse Nixon acted in this manner. He was never seen publicly without a suit and tie. Then , one sorry night, he appeared on a TV show called "Laugh In" and said "sock it to me". Mr. Nixon was a humorless man. Someone must have suggested he needed a more common and friendly face. This was the beginning of a long downhill slide.

Jimmy Carter tried to show the common touch by carrying his own suitcase. When the camera was off he would just hand it back to the nearest Secret Service agent who he treated as servants. But Mr. Carters DL moment was during a canoe trip. A rabbit was swimming toward his canoe. Truthfully, I didn't even know that rabbits could swim. Mr. Carter, fearing he was under attack by said rabbit, beat it to death with a paddle. So much for Presidential dignity.

Fast forward to Bill Clinton. He loved the late night shows and schmoozing with people. He would play the saxophone and discuss boxers or briefs with college students. He could carry it off because he always came across as a regular guy. Whether you liked his politics or not, you always felt that if you ran into him at the neighborhood pub, he would be fun to down a brew or two with. Then came that unfortunate Lewinsky thing in the Oval Office and the strained explanations on TV. Game over for dignity.

But now we have hit the rocky bottom. We have a President who, while trying to appear elitist, publicly claims he looks good in mom jeans and appears on "the View" fielding softballs from Barbara Walters and Joy Behar.  He eschews news conferences in favor of being on with David Letterman. He puts more interest into "March Madness" brackets than the taking of Crimea. He blurts out opinions on non-presidential matters and is often wrong. He would be well advised to keep his own council.

A President is not a man of the people. A President is something special. A President should think that way, speak that way, and behave that way. Anything less is an insult to the White House and the American people.

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