Friday, October 16, 2009

Former Secret Service agent opens window into private lives of presidents

In his In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents they Protect, journalist Ronald Kessler gives us a peek inside the intimate lives of our presidents. Through interviews with over 100 secret service agents from the past and present—dating all the way back to John F. Kennedy—Kessler paints a picture of what our presidents are like when no one is looking. 

Interesting article.

Richard Nixon (I'm sure to nobody's surprise) is described as "strange and unsociable." The difference between Kennedy and LBJ was that while Kennedy was a "serial adulterer," Johnson was a "serial adulterer and a lunatic" who would have been in an asylum had he not been president.

Jimmy Carter has publically denied that the depiction of him in the book. And wouldn't you?
Carter is portrayed as a phony according to the agents interviewed by Kessler. Carter would put on a show for the public to convey himself as a common man, but it was never anymore than an act. For instance, we are told that when Carter would make a point of carrying his own luggage in front of the press, he was really carrying empty bags. He expected others to carry his real luggage. Unfriendly, Carter “didn’t want the police officers and agents looking at him or speaking to him when he went to the [Oval] office,” explained an assistant White House usher. “The only time I saw a smile on Carter’s face was when the cameras were going,” one former agent told Kessler.

After his presidency, Kessler reports that when Carter would stay at a townhouse maintained for former presidents in D.C., he would take down pictures of other presidents and put up more pictures of himself! “The Carters were the biggest liars in the world,” one agent told Kessler of the Carter era.

Ouch. Carter would apparently make the agents pay for any leftover food they ate after White House functions. Miserable bastard.

There's one thing I do find interesting about this and not the least surprising at all.

Like Carter, it's the heroes of the progressive Left who turn out to be the nastiest and vilest people.

Hilary Clinton is described as a "monster," while Al Gore was "exceedingly obnoxious to his agents."

Whereas Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior and George Bush the younger come across very well as nice and considerate human beings.
President George W. Bush is painted as an affable character behind the scenes. “He does not look comfortable in front of a microphone,” one agent explained to Kessler. “With us, he doesn’t talk like that, doesn’t sound like that. He’s funny as hell.” Bush 43 was also depicted as “down to earth” and “caring.”

Though to be fair, so too does Barack Obama (something else that doesn't surprise me). Irrespective of whether I agree with him on policy grounds or not, he does seem to be a nice guy.

Somebody tweeted this earlier today, but I can't remember who.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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