10. James Buchanan
Considered by many the worst president ever and was a huge cause of the Civil War, history has not treated Buchanan well (despite saying ‘history will vindicate my memory’). So how did he make this list? Well, he was the only bachelor president ever. That is sort of cool. Even as president, women always ‘swiped left’ on his Tinder profile. I guess I can sort of relate to this guy. Yeah, he was inept and sort of a loser, so he needs this ranking more than other presidents. Don’t worry Mr. Buchanan, the Spew vindicates you, even if all other historians don’t.
9. Benjamin Harrison
Another president considered by many to be on the lame side, Benjamin Harrison has two major distinctions:
1) He disrupted the consecutive terms of Grover Cleveland, a man I despise to this very day
2) He was the last bearded president
Hipsters all across America look towards the day where a white man with a beard can once again become president. There is hope for this, and it is in the form of our 23rd president. Fun fact: a rare photo of Harrison bare-armed shows a sleeve of tattoos, each having personal meaning and are really cool.
8. Millard Fillmore
A man named ‘Millard’ existed? And he actually became president? I know, crazy huh? Other than having a disproportional amount of ‘l’s in his name, he is also known as the last Whig party president. He was so bad as a president, he literally ruined an entire political party. He was like the last dodo and Phil Dunphy rolled into one. He later tried to start another political party named the Thoupee party, but America washed their hair of that party quickly.
7. James Polk
Known as ‘Young Hickory’ (a sobriquet that makes as much sense as ‘Old Hickory’), Polk is the main reason why we have Texas. Now some may see that as a bad thing, but without Texas there would be no San Antonio Spurs, no Big 12 Conference, and no more movies about the Alamo. Polk flexed some American muscle, kicked out those pesky Mexicans from our land that we rightfully stole from Native Americans, and did this in only 1 term. Why not another? Because he didn’t need 4 more years to kick ass.
6. Lyndon Johnson
Lyndon Johnson, or as I like to call him ‘LBJ’ (I think the ‘B’ stands for ‘Badass’) passed more legislation that you can shake a stick at. And if there is one thing I know, you can shake a stick at a lot of legislation. He is known for passing legislation on civil rights, on gun control, on the space program, and on attacking Vietnam. But what I like the most about LBJ is he was known to be as mean as a snake, tactful as an ambassador, sly as a fox, and as cagey as the brown cagey-puffin of Peru. To bottom line it, he got things done by hook or by crook. Mostly by crook, but sometimes by hook as well. honestly, I don’t know what that means.
5. Thomas Jefferson
Pre-presidential years, Jefferson with pen and paper, single-handedly declared us independent from England; something that took Gandhi years to do. So obviously Jefferson has to be on this list even if he did nothing as the head of state. But he also bought Louisiana and other territory for like a nickel from Napoleon (way to take advantage of a war monger Tommy!). Jefferson literally doubled the size of America without any war or death. Pretty cool, huh? So how do we commemorate him? By putting him on a shitty, rarely printed $2 bill. What kind of deal is that? And who is on the $50? That incompetent gassy general Ulysses Grant who was even a worse president. BOOOO!!!!!
4. Woodrow Wilson
Probably the most under-rated president ever, Wilson is accredited for reintroducing the State of the Union, 8-hour work days (instead of the previous 23 hour work day), single-handedly winning WWI by not even doing much, and starting the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (later to become the League of Nations, later re branded as the United Nations). He also is the only president with a PhD; he taught and was president at Princeton. When you look at the history of where our presidents come from, they are all lawyers or generals. Yet in reality this is a job for a thinker; someone who is logical and can successfully deduce cause-and-effect factors. That is what Wilson was, and we haven’t had many of that ilk since.
3. Franklin Roosevelt
Talk about a kick-ass president who ironically wasn’t even physically capable of kicking, FDR (not to be confused with ‘False Discovery Rate’) was involved in just about every major American event in the 20th century (of course he was president for about 80% of that time). Digging us out of the Great Depression? FDR. Creating jobs and stimulating the economy via government intervention? FDR. Bank regulation? FDR. Social Security? FDR. WWII? FDR. Conceptualizing the rate of type I error in null hypothesis testing when conducting multiple comparisons? FDR. Well, the other FDR to be fair.
There is even more FDR did, too much for me to write. He was the closest thing America had to a king. Even if you don’t like big government, can you admit the government is needed at times to help out when Capitalism fails the common man? Can we at least make that deal……that New Deal?
2. Abraham Lincoln
Is there anyone better than Lincoln? Well, maybe one other, but Lincoln should be 1a. He is a true inspiration for anyone; not born into wealth, self-educated, lost many elections yet still had the tenacity to continue, was a civil rights leader for not just African Americans but for Natives (at least by those times he was considered that), and fought vampires in his off time. Oh yeah, one more thing….he united the Nation!! Yeah South, put that in your pipe and smoke it. You can’t secede the United States, so stop fighting the war, put away your hateful flag, and eat the crow that Lincoln served you raw.
Like FDR, there are tons of things to be said about this guy, much of which Daniel Day-Lewis covered a few years ago. I would like to put him at #1, but there is one blemish on the record; he married an absolute psycho. Probably why he is on the penny and not the quarter.
1. George Washington
First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen. I love me some George Washington. He is the icon and legend of America to this very day; he is our Jebediah Springfield. Being the first president of the United States, he set the standards for what the duties and responsibilities are for this seemingly made-up position. He promoted a strong sense of nationalism throughout the land (which was key because remember, this is a brand new country that had plenty of people still pining to be Brits), established relationships with other countries across the pond (including England ironically), and although being a slave owner, he was the only Founding Father to free them after his death and passed the Slave Trade Act to limit the Atlantic slave trade (some historians say he never publicly challenged slavery due to the fact he didn’t want to provoke a divide in an already volatile and fragile country fresh off a revolution).
But to me, the most important thing he ever did was not become king. He was pretty much universally elected to become the first leader of this new nation, and he could have very well used his army (remember he was a general) to just rule like a tyrant. But he didn’t. He did the opposite. He eschewed the extra power that was readily given to him by the populous and wanted his position as ‘president’ to be monitored. He will go down as the only president ever to really not want to be president.
Maybe the people who are most deserving of power want it the least due to the fact they understanding its effect the most. Ironic he is my #1 president of all time, huh?