Monday, September 28, 2009

In the Presidents Secret Service

The subject book by Ron Kessler is generally an easy and fun read. It gets way too preachy on the alleged shortcomings of SS management and funding shortages at times, but that stuff can be skimmed.

Generally a fun look behind the scenes at some of the Presidents and first families. Sounds like Jimmy Carter was an even bigger fake than it seemed -- he would carry an empty bag for the camera to make it seem like he carried his own bags, made a big deal out of having a "dry White House" and then liked Bloody Marys before church and treated the help and the SS like absolute crap.

LBJ was as nuts as he seemed -- very close to being a drunk, but kept it under control. Would whip it out and pee with press or staff around anytime he wanted outdoors and didn't mind calling a secretary to take notes while he was taking a big dump.

Reagan was what you would expect -- respectful of the guys, apologetic that they had to work holidays, always saying thanks and giving them food and inviting them and their families to parties. Nancy was as cold as you might expect.

They disliked most of the protectees that were womanizers -- JFK, LBJ, Spiro Agnew, but they sympathized with Slick Willie. They had to deal with Hillary too, and it seems that Billy was very easy to like in private. Apparently the infamous "Hillary throwing stuff at Billy" never happened, but he did get to spend the Martha's Vinyard vacation after the Monica "confession" in the doghouse.

In most ways the book makes the SS seem less invincible than one would like -- I'm not sure that it is doing their ability to protect the president any favors.

Oh, they like BO and family -- he is still smoking away, but that is OK -- he's a Democrat!!