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The Presidents' Gatekeepers

Discovery Channel 2013 Presidential CoSs

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#1 Cait

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:33 PM

Not sure if this really belongs here, but there is a really good mini-series on Discovery called "The Presidents' Gatekeepers.  I watched the first episode last night and the second and a repeat of the first episode are on tonight.  The CoS's range from Johnson to Obama and every one in between.  It's a fascinating look at history from the POV of the Chief of Staff.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#2 Themis

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:34 PM

Fascinating indeed.  I watched the first this afternoon and will watch the second tomorrow (watching my usual episodic stuff when it airs).  Not sure how I found out about it - a mention on a news show probably.  Worth seeking out reruns.
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#3 Cait

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:38 PM

You know, for all the talk about "Watergate" over the years, I'd completely forgotten that Haldeman had lied to the committee about Nixon's involvement.  Not many Chiefs' of Staff would fall on a sword like that and go to jail.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#4 Spectacles

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 05:43 AM

Interesting! Thanks, Cait. I'll try to check this out.

:)
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#5 Anakam

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:33 PM

View PostCait, on 12 September 2013 - 10:38 PM, said:

You know, for all the talk about "Watergate" over the years, I'd completely forgotten that Haldeman had lied to the committee about Nixon's involvement.  Not many Chiefs' of Staff would fall on a sword like that and go to jail.

This immediately reminded me of a scene in The West Wing.  I haven't watched in a while, so it took me a while to find the episode, but:

Quote

Episode 1.12: 'He Shall, from Time to Time'
POTUS: You have a best friend?
Roger: Yes, sir.
POTUS: Is he smarter than you?
Roger: Yes, sir.
POTUS: Would you trust him with your life?
Roger: Yes, sir.
POTUS: That's your chief of staff.

Haldeman might have lied for coldly political reasons, or he might have lied because the Sorkin-verse of politics bled through a little (or Sorkin was right).  I don't know.  I just thought of it when I read that.

Edited by Anakam, 13 September 2013 - 06:35 PM.

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#6 Cait

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:05 PM

^ Kam, oddly enough, many of the CoS's seem to reflect that POV.  There were interviews with so many ex CoS's [and I really do recommend everyone catch this series], and I was struck by the friendships of many.  Bush 41 and James Baker come to m ind.  I actually really admire James Baker, but I did not know the extent of the friendship between him and Bush 41.  Once I thought about it a little more, I could see Haldeman doing exactly what he did and with no regrets.  I mean, it's not like he  wrote a tell all book targeting Nixon, [unlike Ehrilchman] he wrote a book taking responsibility for what he had done [also something I'd forgotten].

In other cases it was a walk through living history.  Leon Panetta reflecting on the Clinton years, Dick Cheney on Ford, Andy Card on Bush 43, and even Rham on Obama, all of them were participants in living history, and yet remain [in most cases] not in the public eye at all once they leave the position.  

The tag line on the series really does capture it, "The 2nd most powerful position in D.C., but it's a job no body really wants.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#7 Themis

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:39 AM

It also showed me how much I'd forgotten about US history in my lifetime, including which president followed which, Cheney before he was veep... oh so very much.  I'm ashamed of myself.    I think I was aware of this from seeing Rham on Letterman.  Really worth finding a rerun.
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