Gerald Ford always strikes me as one of the funniest presidents. From Ron "Clam Chowder" Nessen, the first White House staffer to host Saturday Night Live, to pardoning the White House turkey a little bit too late to one of the funniest SNL sketches ever (surprisingly, featuring neither Ron Nessen nor Chevy Chase), something about the man attracts humor.
This week, while browsing the Library of Congress, I found the following morsel of hilarity, amusing for oh so many reasons:
As White House reporters listen raptly and take copious notes, President Ford regales them with a passionately recounted tale of the time he was scouted by the Detroit Lions. Or the time he was on the cover of Cosmo. Or the time he told the entire city of New York to drop dead and New York just had to sit there and take it. I'm not really sure which story it is, but whatever he's saying, President Ford is having a hard time hearing anybody's reactions over the sound of how awesome he is.
But that's not even the funniest part of the photo. Look over there to the left of the president, at the Richard Dreyfuss-looking guy in the shaggy 70s haircut and the disbelieving smirk. He's sure not buying whatever Jerry's selling. Does he look familiar? He should. Subtract those marvelous locks of hair, add some little round glasses, and put a few lines on that smirk:
That's right, it's none other than former vice president Dick Cheney, who served as Ford's chief of staff after Donald Rumsfeld was promoted to secretary of defense in 1975.
For my money, there's nothing more hilarious than outdated photos of a public figure, especially when those photos come from an aesthetically hideous era. It may be why I decided to study history. Here are two more awesome Cheney photos from the Ford years, proving that he basically has one facial expression, and it's smirky:
And now with bonus Donald Rumsfeld!: