Presidents are certainly not trusted or beloved the way talk show hosts are, nor are they as humorous and welcome as comedians. However, there are some rare moments of frustration or panic when they do make us smile, when they inadvertantly say something hysterical on live television–
like Richard Nixon saying “I am not a crook!” and Al Haig, “I’m in charge here!” Sometimes the ‘heat in the kitchen’ becomes too intense, and poor Al Haig, referred to as ‘the man who carried Henry Kissinger’s briefcase’ by the Vietnamese, and up till then a presidential hopeful, started his slide into the shadows. One humorous line, and he was booed off the stage.
President Barack Obama had a chance to make me smile for a different reason when he came to China seventeen months ago. Addressing the Chinese people he could have made an extraordinary announcement.
I imagined him matter of factly telling the Chinese people on live television that they now had two presidents, a Chinese president born in China and an American president born in who knows where–and who cares!?! The man has been running the country for two years because the people elected him, and all you want to do is talk about his birth certificate? You lost the election already, OK? Now get over it.
But I regress–and saying that he, Barack Obama, as President of The United States and of China was going to guard the interests of both the American and Chinese people, and seek an equitable solution to their mutual problems. Then he would turn the microphone over to Hu Jintao and say, “Well, how about it?”
Sigh, he has problems enough as it is, so he didn’t do that. Still, I’m happy he is president because that means George Bush isn’t. But the next time we elect a black president, I want him to be black, really black, and talk like a black man that’s come from Mississippi–with a birth certificate.
I have never once said in my mind or out loud George W. Bush’s name preceded by President. Until right now it has never even occurred to me. I always simply call him Bush. I have never denigrated the man by making fun of his name as some do, but I have commented numerous times on his mental acumen, not because of what he foolishly says or does, which is fodder enough for anyone, but simply because of the oft befuddled or vacant expression in his eyes.
At his best he looks like a church mouse, at worst, Alfred E. Neuman. This is the man who with obviously faulty mental pinions decides to send men to Iraq? “Attention, men, this is Alfred E. Neuman speaking…” Sit down, George, and have another beer.
Had his humor been enlightened by intelligence he could have aspired to be a loveable talk show host, then after his White House gig he could have taken over for Merv Griffin, who also had that sort of fuzzy no-nothing look about him. But alas, it wasn’t to be.
The real Master of Ceremonies, orator, talk show host, and comedian extraordinaire in the White House was, of course, Ronald Reagan. And even though he was folksy and made me smile, every time I looked in his eye I saw evil. Not the sad, forlorn evil betokening Nixon, but a capable, sophisticated evil that rich men admire and the rest of us hardly notice.
But as so often happens in life the very best of the humorous pitch men never take reins in the great halls of power. To wit, Henry “mr. peace prize” Kissinger is the prime example. The Nixon era was brought to life by this man of exceeding extemporaneous wit and charm. He would have been the perfect talk show host in the White House. And with his wonderful German accent he would have had us all rolling in the aisles with those ’40s Nazi/Hitler jokes of his. But, of course, only on the Late Show.