I did something today I'd never done before--took the "tourist tour" of the White House. I was actually accredited here as a reporter for a short time back in the 60s so at that time I stuck up my nose at such frippery. But this time we have a couple of grandkids who need the whole treatment and it is fun to watch them go through it. As to the White House, two takeaways. One, I'm intrigued that the Secret Service men who double as room guards--how much they sound like Park Rangers. Are guys so amiable really programmed to take a bullet for the Commander in Chief?
And two, I wonder how come the two most inconspicuous Presidents get the grandest portraits I'm talking Chester A, Arthur and Millard Fillmore. With Fillmore, admit it, you're not even sure he was President, are you (and perhaps the same could be said of him)? Almost everybody else has some kind of a tag line, for good or ill: William Henry Harrison, one month. Franklin Pierce, drunk. James Buchanan, sissy. But Fillmore? C'mon, tell me just one thing.
With Arthur, I might have to back down just a bit. He might qualify as "Most Exceeded Abysmal Expectations." Not quite an awful President, then, but only because so little was expected of them. Still, they both look pretty smug there in all their Presidential grandeur. Fillmore (who?) could even pass for handsome.
Oh, and a third takeaway: I suspect there will never be much market for a TV soaper called East Wing.