Monday, February 19, 2007

President’s Day – It’s Worth A Day Off!!

Today is (or was since I’m posting so late) President’s Day. It’s a mixture of Presidential Birthdays like Washington’s and Lincoln’s, although Reagan also celebrated a February birthday. As several different food types end up on one plate at a cheap buffet, so it was easier to mix all of the commander-in-chief’s birthdays into President’s Day. Did you think about your Presidents today? I know I did as I spent my Washingtons, Lincolns and Grants at Target, a local restaurant and the gas station. Our Presidents have done amazing and memorable things over the past 200+ years, so let us recall the memorable ones.

Who could forget the exploits of our past leaders? Why as far back as 1797 they showed that when elected, they were capable of about anything we could or could not imagine. There was our second President John Adams’ XYZ Affair, which almost led us to war with France. Thomas Jefferson had his fling with Sally Hemmings and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson who took office after Lincoln’s assassination. Second to possibly only Bill Clinton (who I’ll get to in a moment) was Ulysses S. Grant’s Credit Mobilier and Whiskey Ring scandals. 1924 brought us Warren G. Harding’s oil related Tea Pot Dome scandal and need I remind anyone of the Watergate Hotel break in that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation (I am not a crook, but I will be leaving office effective noon tomorrow – I’m mixing two different speeches, but you get the idea). Even the great communicator Ronald Reagan was not immune to major Presidential scandal. Although he left office truly believing he had not part in it, his administration (and the likes of Ollie North) was responsible for The Iran-Contra Affair. You have to wonder if it’s an attempt to try and lighten or romanticize political wrongdoings by calling them affairs. Then there was Bill Clinton who gave us Whitewater, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky (I guess you could term the last two scandals affairs as well, if you wish).

Of course, our Presidents are capable of more than just full-fledged scandals. It is rumored that even FDR had a lady on the side (although in his defense, have you seen a picture of Eleanor Roosevelt? I’m kidding, really, I’m kidding). Eisenhower decided to allow a U-2 spy flight over Russia right before a summit with them and Nixon had to give the Checkers speech after being accused of taking illegal campaign contributions in 1952. JFK was rumored to have been with Marilyn Monroe and a girlfriend of a mobster as well as getting huge election help from Frank Sinatra and the mob (I won’t mention the Bay of Pigs invasion) and once declared in German ‘I am a jelly donut’ at the Berlin Wall (do you think that speech writer and translator were fired). While not accused of having a lady in waiting (which with Lady Bird Johnson, I guess he technically always did), there are the famous photos of Lyndon Johnson picking his dogs up by the ears. President Ford had trouble walking in a straight line or up stairs at times and Ronald Reagan was once caught on air while waiting to deliver a speech joking about how he had just issued orders for nuclear missiles to be fired at Russia. The first President Bush promised no new taxes and then promptly raised them, which may have caused his famous vomiting in Japan. Bill Clinton once stopped air traffic in Los Angeles by having a hair stylist board Air Force One on the tarmac to give him a trim. Then there is our current President who has trouble just making a public speech.

Despite all of their, um, uh, ‘accomplishments,’ on this President’s Day, let us remember the 43 men who have ascended to the highest office in the land (with the exception of course of Donald Trump). It’s a remarkable thing to be elected as the President of the United States. Our Presidents are mere mortals who transcended their common man. The only problem is that many of them still acted like the common man. And to that, all I can say is Happy President’s Day! At least we got a day off of work for all their efforts and maybe a few really good car dealership or furniture sales, right?

7 comments:

Odat said...

In Elenor Roosevelt's defense, have ya ever seen a picture of Franklin???????????? '-)
Anyhoo, great post and thanks for the history lesson...I hope Lucy and Ethel are not taking their lessons here..hehe...
Peace

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

ah, so they are only human after all? i see...

smiles, bee

Mags said...

I had to work. 8(

BUT I didn't have to go to school after work and therefore, got to go to bed early last night.

So, thank you Mr. Presidents!

Natalie said...

My personal favorite presidential moment, Taft getting stuck in a tub. But that may just be rumor.

captain corky said...

I always take a shot of whiskey on President's Day to celebrate Grant's alcoholism. The only President I ever did a report on in School... Brings a tear to my eye every year.

thethinker said...

I had to go to school! No fair.

Ed & Beth said...

You are truly a KOOK (Keeper Of Odd Knowledge)! Loved all the history lessons...especially the jelly donut thing...we can't stop laughing about that one.