While Progressives try to shoehorn President Trump into the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and Neocons pretend Hillary will be prosecuted for…for…something, let those remaining who are sane take a little historical perspective, and look at how Chief Executives have been treated over the years.
From George Washington, known as the “Sword of the Revolution” to John Adams, often called “The Colossus of Independence”, Presidents have usually been seen as larger than life.
Then came 2016. No holds barred, bare knuckle, knock down drag out politics. A style of campaigning and rhetoric never seen in our nation’s history. Or is it?
It only takes a cursory search of the Internet to learn that today’s political bomb throwers are amateurs. Back in the old days when opponents and the media threw mud, it stuck. Take Martin Van Buren, for example. He was considered so insincere when it came to politics he was called the “Machiavellian Belshazzar.”
William Henry Harrison was called “Old Granny” because he was seen as ancient and out of touch at the spry young age of 68 (which, by the way, would be young by today’s political standards).
If they had called him infirm, they would have been right: Harrison contracted a cold three weeks into office, which devolved into pneumonia, then pleurisy, then death. As a result, Harrison’s Vice President, John Tyler, assumed the Oval Office with the unfortunate moniker of “His Accidency.”
A hurtful nickname, to be sure, but not in the league of Rutherford B. Hayes. He allegedly stole the campaign of 1876, leading to him being called “His Fraudulency.”
One’s appearance is usually fodder for political cartoonists, but poor Grover Cleveland, weighing in at a petite 250-pounds, was given the nickname Uncle Jumbo.
A President’s girth was fair game back in day – just ask
“His Rotundity (John Adams)” and “Big Lub (William Howard Taft).”
Cruel nicknames based on appearance did not stop there. Height was also a common target for Commanders in Chief. From “Short Stack (James Madison)” to “Little Ben (Benjamin Harrison),” apparently some of our Presidents had big shoes to fill in more ways than one.
Not everyone was a fan of some of our more popular Presidents. Bill Clinton is still known as “Slick Willie” or “Bubba.” Ronald Reagan might have been “The Great Communicator” to some, but to others he was just “Old Foot in The Mouth.” Even the Father of our Nation, George Washington, was sometimes referred to as “Mutton Head.” See? No one is immune!
Alumni from the Rodney Dangerfield “I Get No Respect” School of How to Run A Country include “Dolly’s Husband (James Madison),” “The Do-Nothing President (James Buchanan),” “Useless Grant (Ulysses S. Grant)” and “President Hardly (Warren G. Harding).” Oh, the ignominy!
An annex to that institution is the “Dewey, Cheatem and Howe” School of fungible ethics. Past students include “Rutherfraud (Rutherford B. Hayes),” “Polk the Mendacious (James K. Polk),” “The Great Pretender (Barack Obama),” and class (and country) President “Bull#%&! Johnson (Lyndon Baines Johnson).”
Some have suggested that anyone who tries to run for our Nation’s top office must have a screw loose. The punditry, as always, prefers to be a little less tactful. Consider “Mad Tom (Thomas Jefferson),” “The Madman of Massachusetts (John Quincy Adams),” “The Drunkard (Franklin Pierce),” “Mr. Malaprop (William Howard Taft)” and “Wobbly Warren (Warren G. Harding”).
So, whether your favorite President is “Martin Van Ruin (Martin Van Buren)” or “President Malaise (Jimmy Carter),”
rest assured that no matter how high they come to be revered, there is always someone, somewhere, ready to take them down a couple of notches.