My wife bought me the Frost Nixon interviews on DVD. 400 minutes of shockingly frank conversation with one of America’s most controversial presidents. Yeah, yeah, I could have watched the dramatic adaptation, but that’s like buying a greatest hits album by a cover band.
One bit that I saw last night wound up focusing on Nixon’s use of language that may have been inspired by old Gangster flicks. Which made me think: how would Nixon, or many other Presidents, done as gangsters?
You always hear about how Al Capone could have been a great executive, but you rarely see executives evaluated as potential Mob Bosses. So here are a couple of thoughts:
Nixon- Tricky Dick would have run into the same problems in either career stream. Over complicated schemes and a refusal to let his henchmen swing. He’s like Capone that way.
JFK- As much as I dig Kennedy, I have to say that he’s another fella who would have had the same fate as a gangster. Charming, but when the Mob, the Cubans (pro and anti Castro), the CIA, and the KKK all want you dead as president; it shows a talent for making enemies. I’m thinking he’d be another Bugsy Siegel.
George Bush Jr- Clearly the front man for a much cleverer boss. Or a master of putting on the idiot front so no one suspects he’s the real boss. Like Jr. Soprano or Ronald Reagan.
FDR- More of a Republic Serial or James Bond villain than a mob boss: ruling a criminal empire from behind a desk with a cigarette holder, a wheel chair and a revolutionary vision.
LBJ- A Tough-talking big-man capable of being his own enforcer. Would eventually get tired of his perpetual battle with rivals and retires to vineyard. Dies suddenly. Think Vito Carleone.
Seriously, if the JFK gang warring with the Nixon mob doesn’t inspire the ‘Nazi’s Riding Dinosaur’ part of your brain, I would suggest seeing a professional.