In honor of the upcoming President’s Day Holiday weekend Balladeer’s Blog now presents some of my quick takes on each of the 44 men who have stayed one step ahead of the law while occupying the office.
1. GEORGE WASHINGTON – Motto – “Screw taking a salary, just bill ’em outrageously for your expenses!” *** Nickname: The First Lady of Broadway *** Pro: Established the precedent of stepping down after 2 terms max. Con: Owned other human beings.
2. JOHN ADAMS – Motto – ” A day without alienating someone is like a day without sunshine.” *** Nickname: Boom-Boom *** Pro: Was almost fanatically honest. Con: Alienated nearly everyone except his wife Abigail.
3. THOMAS JEFFERSON – Motto: ” What’s with that painting where I look like Bea Arthur?” *** Nickname: The Pompous Hypocrite *** Pro: Never vetoed a single bill, deferring to the will of the people’s representatives. Con: Owned other human beings.
4. JAMES MADISON – Motto: “That’s me on the five thousand dollar bill, babe!” *** Nickname: Dolly Madison’s Husband *** Pro: Effectively handled the War of 1812 and other messes resulting from Jefferson’s bizarre policies. Con: See Washington and Jefferson.
5. JAMES MONROE – Motto: “I’m sick of hearing about how John Quincy Adams was the real author of The Monroe Doctrine” *** Nickname: The Furnituregate Mastermind *** Pro: Bought Florida from Spain, ensuring America would have a long, phallic peninsula dangling off our mainland. Con: Got elected president despite being a slave-owner from Virginia … hey, wait a minute!
6. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS – Motto: “No slaves, no tact, no problem!” *** Nickname: Mr Television *** Pro: Was another rare example of an honest elected figure. Con: Was just as adept as his father at alienating everyone around him.
7. ANDREW JACKSON – Motto: ” Loathing the British and Native Americans since the Revolutionary War!” *** Nickname: Tricky Dick *** Pro: Firmly kept the southern states in line during the Nullification Crisis. Con: Owned other human beings and was the first president to veto bills just because he didn’t like them and not based on their constitutionality. This ugly tradition has continued ever since.
8. MARTIN VAN BUREN – Motto: ” Riding my association with Andrew Jackson right into the Oval Office” *** Nickname: Martin Van Ruin (Seriously. This was a rare case where a real nickname was funny enough that no change was needed) *** Pro: Single-handedly added the expression “O.K.” to the national lexicon. Con: Had one seriously Bad Hair Day for his presidential portrait.
9. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON – Motto: ” Never overstay your welcome.” *** Nickname: Bushitler *** Pro: Tried to establish a tradition of presidents dying barely a month into their term. Con: Delivered a two hour long inaugural address during an actual blizzard.
10. JOHN TYLER – Motto: “Because Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too made for one kick- ass campaign slogan!” *** Nickname: His Accidency (Again, funny enough to just go with it) *** Pro: Fought Congressional attempts at usurpation to establish the precedent that a Vice President becomes a full president with all a president’s powers on the death of the incumbent President. Con: Owned other human beings and later served in the Confederate States Congress during the Civil War.
11. JAMES K POLK – Motto: “You can’t spell polka without Polk!” *** Nickname: Pimpin’ Polk *** Pro: Kept his campaign promise to only serve one term since one of the issues he ran on was trying to limit presidents to just one term apiece. Con: His association with Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson prompted his supporters to try to get people to call him by the awkward nickname “Young Hickory”. I’m serious.
12. ZACHARY TAYLOR: Motto: “The Compromise of 1850 will pass only over my dead body!” *** Nickname: The Wall- Eyed Whig *** Pro: Got tough with the ever- disgruntled southern states by threatening to veto the Compromise of 1850 (which he felt yielded too much to southern demands to extend slavery) and warning them that if they seceded he would personally lead the army against them and hang any rebels he came across. Con: Died from what some people consider a suspicious stomach ailment right before he could veto the Compromise of 1850.
13. MILLARD FILLMORE – Motto: “Don’t worry – not even his own family remembered he had ever been President!” *** Nickname: The M.F. in the White House *** Pro: Opened up trade with Japan Con: Went right ahead and signed the Compromise of 1850 after succeeding to the presidency upon Zachary Taylor’s untimely death. (I wonder what Abraham Zapruder’s ancestors were doing back then. I’m kidding!)
14. FRANKLIN PIERCE – Motto: “My wife Jane was every bit as crazy as Mary Lincoln!” *** Nickname: Old What’s His Name *** Pro: Was the first president to have a Christmas Tree in the White House. Con: Tried to convince the northern and southern states to forget their differences and stand united against the threat of creeping Mormonism.
15. JAMES BUCHANAN – Motto: ” A president every bit as lousy as Barack Obama and George W Bush!” *** Nickname: The Man Who Lost Half The Country *** Pro: Gave his name to the fictional high school on Welcome Back, Kotter. Con: More states seceded from the Union under him than under any other president.
16. ABRAHAM LINCOLN – Motto: “The guy who put the ‘man’ in Great Emancipator!” *** Nickname: Honest Injun *** Pro: Guided the country through the Civil War and ensured that slavery would no longer be legal in the restored Union. Con: His career as an aspiring theater critic was cut viciously short.
17. ANDREW JOHNSON – Motto: “Impeach THIS, you bastards!” *** Nickname: J-Lo *** Pro: His principled stand against a legislative branch that was overstepping its authority preserved the important defense mechanism of checks and balances in the separation of powers. Con: May well have been drunk off his ass during his speech at Lincoln’s 2nd inauguration.
18. ULYSSES S GRANT – Motto: ” Setting a standard of sleaze and corruption that would inspire the Harding and Obama administrations.” *** Nickname: Gary “U.S.” Bonds *** Pro: May have been simply too naive to realize what his appointees were up to. Con: Let his cronies run the country like a Mafia bust- out operation.
19. RUTHERFORD B HAYES – Motto: “When you’re fraudulently elected president you should show the good grace to step down after just one term.” *** Nickname: Old 8 to 7 (Again, the real nickname is funny enough to stand on its own) *** Pro: Was the first president to hold the White House Easter Egg roll. Con: Samuel J Tilden in all likelihood really won the disputed election of 1876 so Hayes should never have been in the White House at all.
20. JAMES GARFIELD – Motto: “What $5,000 bribe from those street- paving people?” *** Nickname: Ol’ Blue Eyes *** Pro: Was the first ambidextrous president and could speak both Greek and Latin. Con: Was assassinated by Charles Guiteau because Garfield refused to name him the American consul in Paris. I’m serious.
21. CHESTER A ARTHUR – Motto: “Sometimes a sleazy, graft- grabbing politician turns out to have a heart of gold.” *** Nickname: Chester the Molestor (I’m kidding!) *** Pro: Defied his corrupt patron Senator Roscoe Conkling and ran a mostly honest administration, even helping along Civil Service reform to drive party hacks out of many government positions. Con: May have put the moves on the British ambassador’s 19 year old daughter Victoria in a celebrated incident.
22. GROVER CLEVELAND – Motto: “The answer to the trivia question ‘Who was the only 2- term U.S. president to serve those terms non- consecutively?” *** Nickname: The Round Mound of Rebound *** Pro: Dared public disapproval by marrying his 21 year old ward Frances Folsom while serving as president. Con: This Democratic president actually said “Though the people should support the government the government should never support the people.” You’re all heart, Grover.
FOR PART II, WHERE I COVER BENJAMIN HARRISON TO OBAMA, CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2012/02/19/balladeers-blogs-presidential-pros-and-cons-part-2-harrison-to-obama/
AND FOR MORE OF MY TAKES ON MINDLESS LIBERALS AND MINDLESS CONSERVATIVES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/liberals-and-conservatives/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.