“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Delicate Dance of Politics Part 2: The Presidential Edition

13 03 2010

Whatever the president does, it will be scrutinized, analyzed, and hypothesized about to death. Such is life in a post-Watergate world – the presidency will never be looked at like it was before that ever again. That’s a fact. So, with all eyes on him, you’d think the president would be a fairly anxious to avoid unnecessarily embarrassing himself. Well, no, they embarrass themselves in countless ways from the benign to the scandalous. Since I’m still not very confident about talking serious issues even though nobody reads this thing anyway, I’ll stick to fluff for now – like dancing. There are many of us, myself among them, who do their utmost to avoid dancing in public, so some credit must be given for trying. Some obviously did better than others.

It’s a little early to judge our current president, but I found this picture of Barack and Michelle Obama at their inauguration and thought it would get the whole thing started.

So here we are – spanning nearly thirty years – the presidential dance-off.

Fourth Place – George H. W. Bush President from 1989-1993.

The first Bush couple to inhabit the White House were rather understated when it came to hitting the dance floor.


1989

Aside from this picture from one of the inaugural balls, I couldn’t find any more pictures – let alone video – of President Bush the elder dancing with anyone. I suppose it is best to know the limits of your talents when the press is around and sit back like the rest of us and enjoy the antics of those who have yet to figure that out.

Third Place – Bill Clinton President from 1993-2001.

President Clinton took office and the age of 46 making him the second youngest president ever elected and with that distinction came a certain amount of expectation that he and his wife would look good. Well, we all know they never rivaled the Kennedys, but their dancing wasn’t too bad even though it often looked contrived. Then again, if I were being investigated for everything under the sun, I doubt I’d be feeling very relaxed and spontaneous, either.


As the new president-elect in 1992.


At an inaugural ball in 1993

1993

Not dated

This photo was taken on St. Thomas in 1996 and its release sparked controversy, just like everything else having to do with the then-First Couple. Was the photo staged as an attempt to depict the Clintons as happily married or was this the work of journalists who had sunk to the level of skulking paparazzi? Who knows, but, no matter whether they knew about it or not, I’m sure that the current Secretary of State wishes it had never been taken.

At an inaugural ball in 1997

1997

We all know what happened next – scandal, impeachment, perpetual divorce rumors, a first lady became a senator, the senator ran for president and became Secretary of State – and, for reasons known really only to themselves, they’re still dancing with each other in the same old, un-spontaneous way nearly two decades after the world began watching.


Posted for stacyx

Second PlaceRonald Reagan, President from 1981-1989.

I found plenty of pictures of President Reagan dancing with his wife, Nancy. Reagan, having had a previous career as an actor, tended to do well with this element of presidential theater. It all seemed so unrehearsed – even Harry Benson’s famous photograph from 1985 which was, I believe, shot in a studio had a very natural, unscripted, and genuine feel to it.


1981
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1984

At one of the inaugural balls. 1985

1985

This was taken by Harry Benson in 1985.

1987

President Reagan also did the diplomatic dance in 1984 with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

And now it is my pleasure to present out presidential dancing king, the one and only …

DUBYA! George W. Bush – President from 2001-2009

Now I know how shocking it is that Dubya has come in at the top of any political list of mine, but let me explain. While he certain isn’t the best dancer, he is very comfortable being the bad dancer that he is and never passed up an opportunity to show off what one kind reporter described as “his unique moves.” Also, thanks to sites like YouTube, all of his dancing antics are preserved on the internet for our children and our children’s children to reference for history projects. For supplying the world with laugh-inducing clips for the ages, George W. Bush wins the award for “Best” Presidential Dancer.


At an inaugural ball in 2001.


At an inaugural event in 2001.


At an inaugural ball in 2005.


2006


2006


2007. Does this make anyone else think of Thriller?


2008


2008

I would love to say my next post will be more meaningful and thought-provoking … but I’m sure it won’t be.

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“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Delicate Dance of Politics Part 1: The Secretary of State

3 03 2010

International diplomacy is a tricky undertaking. Occasionally, this figurative dance becomes a literal one and then the whole world can join together in a collective chuckle at the expense of those in power. I now give you our recent Secretaries of State busting a move for greater international understanding.

Madeleine Albright – Secretary of State under Clinton from 1997-2001

I’m not sure where this took place, but it was dated 2000.

Secretary Albright in North Korea, 2000.

Ah, the late 90’s! The Cold War was over, the War on Terror had not yet begun, and EVERYBODY was doing the macarena… even the Secretary of State and a Botswanan diplomat at the UN.

Colin Powell – Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2001-2005

All of this was from a 2008 event in London to benefit Africa. Post Secretary of State-hood yes, but he was still shaking it for a good cause.

Condoleeza Rice – Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2005-2009

… managed to avoid the cameras when dancing and is most likely very pleased about that.

Hillary Rodham Clinton – Secretary of State under Barack Obama from 2009-present

South Africa, 2009. These singers are really good.

Kenya, 2009. Not exactly the most flattering position for her, but she looked to be enjoying herself. At least she gave it a try. I am, however, still of the opinion that those in politics should generally leave the dancing to others. Hillary Clinton in particular should just leave the music alone. She CANNOT sing at all – like not even a little bit. Remember her rendition of the national anthem she treated us all to during the primaries? Ugh. Rhythm in general is a mystery to this woman and I present as evidence these photos from her tenure as First Lady. The gentleman in the photos with her and also busting a move is Václav Havel, then President of the Czech Republic.

Sort of like watching family members “dance” at a wedding (post cocktails).

That’s as close as Madame Secretary needs to get to letting the music move her.