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Twelve presidents and political shenanigans

Just a little walk down memory lane before the election on Nov. 4. If you were born before 1932, you have been treated to a list of remarkable political characters. You have enjoyed cowboys, public officials, personalities that were at times a bit skewed. We, the people, endured impeachment, side-tracked by a presidential resignation, an assassination in Dallas and a couple of foiled attempts. We have been lied to, cajoled by every elected official who wanted our vote, and trained to vote party. We are standing still in the political arena, eager to believe and eager to pull the lever that will prove our loyalty. We have made outrageous mistakes and believed brazen lies.

When one goes back over our lengthy history, we must smile at some of the things that have enriched our sense of ridiculousness or financially changed our living habits.

To write about FDR would take pages. Let us just remember that he was elected to office four times in a nation where two terms was the accepted. However, in 1951, the 22nd amendment made two terms the law. There would never be another four-term president.

Many remember Roosevelt's VP, Harry Truman, who ascended to the presidency at FDR's death, and the letter he wrote to the music critic Paul Hume of the Washington Post. He told him, in a very profane 150-word letter, why he should never criticize his daughter Margaret's singing again. Hume retaliated by printing the letter on the front page of the Post.

Truman was profane and ill-tempered, but he was, it is said, next to Jimmy Carter, probably the most truthful president. Truman did not have a charlatan personality. He did not seem to plan or dwell upon hidden agendas.

Remember "I Like Ike"? Everyone knew he could be trusted implicitly. After all, he was the top pick of Gen. George Marshall to command the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. He was driven around London by Kay Summersby, whom it was rumored was a bit more than a chauffeur. I never believed that story, knowing full well that Ike and the British Gen. Montgomery were too busy planning Gen. Patton's demise to be distracted by a beautiful "dame" who could manage London traffic.

Then came the Camelot time, when romance flowered and Mrs. Kennedy turned a blind eye. The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy stopped me from being a political cynic, and I can only look back in horror.

Being a dog lover, Lyndon Baines Johnson tried my political patience when he picked up his beagles by their ears. However, what goes around comes around, and LBJ was dragged by the ears when those listless Americans took up arms against the Vietnam War. He skedaddled out of Washington at the end of his term.

Then we, the voters, had to deal with the greatest disruption of all, lovingly called Tricky Dick. A man that brought great dishonor to the American people with his quirky system of recording and saving all of his and others' precious words, and escaping impeachment by resigning.

Nevertheless, when he died, they had a grand funeral, and five presidents were present. It is the American way, forgive and forget. I think forgiving is necessary, but forgetting is an error.

Gerald Ford had a remarkable distinction. He was the only president in the history of this grand nation to have worked as a fashion model in his younger days. He appeared in Look magazine and was on the front page of Cosmopolitan. He graduated in the top third of his class at Yale and had an extraordinary grasp of economic issues. He simply appeared worry-free and sublimely happy, especially so on the golf course.

At last, we elected a Southern gentleman, Jimmy Carter, good, honest and truthful and full of religiously inspired intentions. However, he was not a very successful president but an immensely successful ex-president, doing more than a dozen other exes have done for the people. He is to be honored for the accomplishments and what he has proffered to the needy folks, not only of this nation but also of the world.

Next came the "great communicator," Ronald Reagan, also called Dutch or Ronnie. He acted with a chimp and made it dramatic art. He ran for president and delighted the people of this country. He tore down the wall, and he made the American people take more notice of image rather than substance. He was an actor and he was, without doubt, the most loved of the last 12 presidents.

George Herbert Walker Bush ran against Michael Dukakis and served one term. A patrician who, even though he claimed Texas as his home, was a Yale graduate and a Connecticut Yankee. His interpretation on the pronunciation and interpretation of words developed into "Bushspeak," and the press had a grand time with his language.

Bill Clinton then arrived on the scene. He brought with him before the election a history of "fooling around," which he denied and was never believed. However, he was elected.

By the end of his second term, the deficit had vanished, and the economy was soaring.

He developed the nickname "Slick Willie" tied with a person called Monica. He should have been a disaster, but not so. He makes millions just speaking to people in all areas of this world. He is respected by some, disliked by others, but when he speaks, they listen.

Last, but not least, George W. Bush, and what can I say? Please get out and vote.

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