Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Next 11 US Presidents and My Thoughts on Them

AAAAH. There are so many presidents! There are ten more to go, and then one extra special one when the results are finalized! Live-blogging starts at 7ish! (If the election is called early, then... boo. But actually, in all likelihood, that would mean something awesome.)

22. Grover Cleveland 

Oh, hey Grover Cleveland--the factoid president. Only guy to serve two non-consecutive terms, eh? YEAH THAT'S THE FIRST TIME I'VE HEARD THAT ONE, GUYS. Even better though, the GC has serious Buffalo Boy cred. Assistant DA of Erie County during the Civil War! Sheriff of Erie Country in 1871! Mayor of Buffalo in 1882! NICE! PS, though, dude... St. Joe's beat Cleveland Hill High in MasterMinds all the time. Grover was hounded by allegations of fathering an illegit child during his time in Buffalo. To be totally fair, who hasn't.

23. Benjamin Harrison

Benny the H was kind of a doucher. First off, he was William Henry Harrison's grandson and that's not a great place to start. Second, he was frequently decried by Democrats as the proprietor of the "Billion Dollar Congress", as federal spending ballooned over one billion dollars for the first time in US history. Basically, the Billion Dollar Congress was like the New York Yankees. Okay, it was exactly like the Yankees. In 1889, his first year in office, Harrison traded Vice President Levi P. Morton to Canada for veteran Prime Minister John MacDonald. Later in the year, he packaged his Secretaries of State and War (James G. Blaine and Redfield Proctor, respectively) and shipped them to Belgium for King Leopold II and his nephew/sucessor Albert. In 1890, Harrison went full-on Steinbrenner and picked up a slew of high-profile political free agents, including Porfirio Diaz of Mexico, Tsar Alexsander III, and Faisal bin Turki of Oman. Though Diaz batted .345 in 1891 and won the AL batting title, Harrison's lineup was sorely lacking Blaine's big game experience and his split-fingered fastball. Harrison's boys lost the World Series 4-2 to the upstart Boston Beaneaters.

24. Grover Cleveland

I've said my G-Cleves piece already, but just for the record... this dude's name was GROVER?! How amazing is that? Other famous Grovers include Grover from Sesame Street and Grover from Kicking and Screaming. AND HIS LAST NAME WAS CLEVELAND?!!!!?!?! Grover Cleveland. Are you kidding me? That sounds like a Pynchon character. I love it.

25. William McKinley

Hey! More Buffalo stuff! As in, William McKinley was assassinated there! Isn't my fair city great? Back in college when we were putting on Assassins, I got super-psyched to find out where the shooting actually took place. Turns out, it was at the Temple of Music, just down the street from my high-school girlfriend's house. WHAT. Hilarious. Also, they tore down the Temple of Music, which makes perfect sense, considering that it's Buffalo. The McKinley assassination has been blamed for the subsequent slowdown in Buffalo's prosperity, for Bethlehem Steel leaving, for Scott Norwood missing that kick in Super Bowl 25, for the next three Super Bowl losses, for the Blizzard of '77, for the Blizzard of '96, for the blizzard that will inevitably hit us this year, and for the film Bruce Almighty, set (unconvincingly) in Buffalo. 

26. Theodore Roosevelt

Rough rider! Square Deal! Bull Moose! Shot bears! Wore glasses! Trust-buster! Big stick! Gave a speech after being shot in a bar! Also--and this is probably the most important thing--when I was seven and my family took a trip to South Dakota, the tour guide at Mount Rushmore picked me to play TR in our human-kid reenactment of the monument. ('Cause I wore glasses, too. Also I've been on many an African safari.)


27. William Howard Taft 

More like... William Howard FATT, right? (You guys, I totally anagram-owned our 27th president just then.) Despite his famed bathtub mishap, I think Big Willie Style was actually a pretty underrated prez. A solid reputation as a trust-buster, a decent track record of across-the-aisle progressivism, and he established the parcel post system. Also, the guy had the biggest crush on world peace of all time. (He must've hated World War I.) Unfortunately, Taft's arbitration-based plans for an end to war never really got off the ground and he wasn't reelected. BUT, the dude got a new lease on life when President Harding appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (making him the only president to serve on the bench). Ultimately, Taft considered this his political zenith. Badass quote: "I don't remember that I ever was President." 

28. Woodrow Wilson

Known as our most librarianish president, Woody Willy gets high marks for foreign policy, but was kind of a dick when it came to some more touchy subjects. It's generally not a great idea to advocate eugenics and segregation, but hey, I guess that's why I'm not on the $100,000 bill and I've never been president of Princeton. (PS: I was going to make a "Suck it, Princeton" joke, but I'm applying to grad school there.) All in all, he won a Nobel Peace Prize, so he can't have been all bad. Right? Plus, his 14 Points are any early example of list-format humor. How great is #11: "Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and other Balkan states to be granted integrity, have their territories de-occupied, and Serbia to be given access to the Adriatic Sea"... HAH! Classic... that's so Wilson.


29. Warren G. Harding

There is little to say of Warren G. Harding, save if you are ever playing the sexy presidents game (where you take president names and make sexual puns on them), Warren G. Hardon is a good fall-back.

30. Calvin Coolidge 

I knew a guy once who was obsessed with Silent Cal. He went so far as to use a shot of Coolidge fly-fishing for his Facebook photo. That's about it.

31. Herbert Hoover 

Hey, buddy! Thanks for all those hoboes! Looks like I have you to thank for my quasi-obsession, eh?

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt


Prominent Actors Who Have Portrayed FDR:

8. Michael McShane on Seinfeld

7. Ralph Bellamy in The Winds of War AND War and Remembrance

6. Jason Robards in FDR: The Last Year

5. John Lithgow in World War II: When Lions Roared

4. Jon Voight in Pearl Harbor

3. Edward Herrman in Annie

2. Howard da Silva (of 1776 fame) in The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover

1. Alan Cumming in Reefer Madness!

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