It was such an honor for me, Monica, and her husband, Marc, to attend the Bush Library Dedication last week. With a picture perfect day as a backdrop, President Bush comported himself as he always does appearing humble, classy, and presidential.
All the living Presidents and First Ladies were in attendance which made the day historically significant. The Library is spectacular and very fitting of George W. Bush. It seems that each presidential library reflects the personality of the president whose books, photographs, and records it contains. There has always been a very proper level of respect and decorum in everything the Bushes do, and it is reflected in the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
When I worked in the Bush White House, many of the career staffers who stay on through each Administration regardless of party affiliation expressed on numerous occasions how happy they were to have a Bush back in the White House. I’m not taking a cheap shot at President Clinton here. It’s just something we all heard a lot. Apparently, the Clinton White House had a bit of a frat house feel to it with a flip flop wearing late night free-wheeling party atmosphere the norm in the Executive Office of the President. I even heard a story of people being walked in on while getting busy with each other. I think that little factoid was even documented in the impeachment proceedings. I really think the White House should be a place where people at least behave like adults.
From what I gather, there was a stark difference between the Bush Library event and what I read about the shenanigans that went on at the White House Correspondents Dinner (a.k.a., the Nerd Prom). This year, there seemed to be a real effort to make this dinner an authentic Hollywood event with the nerds blending way into the back of the wallpaper. I’m sure they were trying to avoid the rather awkward site of a few years ago when Newt and Calista attempted to strike a pose on their trip down the red carpet.
Instead of a true Hollywood feel or strictly Nerd Prom feel, this White House Correspondents dinner was a total misfire with the event having the feel of a reality show where Sharon and Ozzy road trip with Donny and Marie.
Conan O’Brien certainly didn’t help matters although he did represent the strange blend of the evening—a guy who likes to think he’s now Hollywood but who is really a huge nerd. His jokes were lame . . . lame . . . lame! I’ve heard more genuine laughter from an audience at a funeral. The awkward silences and outright boos at some jokes made me uncomfortable, and I should have been more comfortable than anyone watching the show from the comfort of my couch with a nice glass of Cabernet keeping me company.
As for Obama, while I never agree with him on policy, I do appreciate that he’s able to emanate a certain “it” factor. He can be very Hollywood in a cool way which I give him lots of credit for—how else could he get reelected with such a dismal record in his first term?
Clearly, the whole event was rather odd and awkward. Goofy Howard Fineman took three separate pictures with Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery. On Twitter, he made clear he wasn’t stalking her, but I’d be curious what she has to say about it. If he lands on the receiving end of a restraining order, I doubt he’ll have to open it to know who it’s from. Rachel Maddow, Ms. Left Wing herself, tended bar at the MSNBC party while the beautiful former First Lady of San Francisco, Kimberly Guilfoyle of Fox News’ The Five represented those of us on the right. In fact, she pretty much represented everything the evening aspired to be and wasn’t—she’s beautiful AND smart.
It’s interesting the contrast one week can make. The difference between an event featuring Bush and one headlined by Obama says all you need to know about these two very different men.