Hi, Fellow Americans!
It is Presidents' Day, and for whatever reason, I have always loved, loved, looooved, why-don't-you-marry-them-would-have-been-an-appropriate-thing-to-say-to-me, LOVED the Presidents of the United States. When I was in second grade, I obsessed over Presidents the way most second graders obsess over Pokemon cards and pogs (I'm told the kids of today crave pogs).
I learned every single one of them and everything about them. I learned them in order. I learned them in reverse order. I learned them in order of height. In order of hairiness. In order of cuteness.
And I judged them.
Little did I know that 15 years later, this thing called "a blog" would get invented (I'm assuming for the sake of my story that blogs just got invented) and that I would have the forum to share my long-held personal rankings of my all-time favesies Presidents and why.
(DISCLAIMER: In order to keep this post upbeat and fun, I'm choosing to focus mostly on silly, random facts about the guys as opposed to things like "Unnecessary Wars Started" and "Genocides Responsible For." Sorry guys, my bad. It's the American way?)
OKAY. HERE WE GO. TEDDY STEINKELLNER'S ALL-TIME FAVORITE PRESIDENTS IN ORDER OF FAVORITENESS
CATEGORY I: TOO AWFUL TO RANK HIGHLY EVEN AS A JOKE
43. JAMES BUCHANAN
PRO: Gets fabulous points for being our nation's first "Bachelor" president. 1850s America may not have been ready, but I certainly am! Also, he looks kind of like John Lithgow with a secret.
CON: The blood of the Civil War is all over his soft, well-groomed hands.
42. RUTHERFORD B. HAYES
On the one hand, his lovely wife, "Lemonade Lucy," a staunch temperance advocate, used to serve appealing non-alcoholic drinks on the White House lawn! On the other hand, that sounds awful.
41. ANDREW JOHNSON
Screwed up all of the good things that Lincoln accomplished. And then almost got impeached. Andrew reminds me of Tommy Lee Jones in the Men in Black movies, only...something tells me he wouldn't have been quite as nice to Will Smith.
40. GEORGE W. BUSH
Yeah, I'd have a beer with the guy.
CATEGORY II: NAH, I'M NOT FEELING IT
39. RONALD REAGAN
The only President I have ever met! Fun story: I was like eight months old, and my family was at some sort of celebrity picnic (?) that the Gipper also happened to be attending. Hundreds of moms-holding-babies were crowding around Ronnie, trying to get one of them priceless President-and-baby pictures. But he didn't have time for any of them. So my mom, crazy genius that she is, bulldozed through the entire crowd, walked up to Ron Ron, and said, "Mr. President! Mr. President! Could you please take a picture with my son? His name is also Ronald."
What I'm trying to say is, anybody who falls for that crap doesn't deserve a very high ranking on my list.
38. CHESTER A. ARTHUR
Just a less fat, more boring William Howard Taft. I hold him majorly responsible for MY BOY James Garfield's death.
37. BENJAMIN HARRISON
Just a less killable, more boring version of his grandpappy, William Henry Harrison. (Important note: the more
mediocre the President, the more awesome the beard.)
36. MILLARD FILLMORE
Major negative points for reminding me of that Republican Duck.
(No, not the Aflac Duck. The other Republican Duck.)
35. ZACHARY TAYLOR
Old Rough and Ready died from cholera caused by eating cold milk and cherries on a hot day. Where that ranks on the WACK METER: pretty wack.
34. GEORGE H.W. BUSH
PRO: He attempted to fight drug abuse with the help of cartoon characters in my favorite childhood VHS.
CON: He hated on The Simpsons.
MAJOR CON: That little kinky look he gives Barbara at the end of the Cartoon All-Stars link. Eeeeww...
33. CALVIN COOLIDGE
Silent Cal seems like a dude who would tell me to shut up in a movie theater. You lose, Coolidge.
CATEGORY III: KINDA CHILL GUYS WHO LEAVE ME WANTING A LITTLE MORE
32. WILLIAM MCKINLEY
More like...William ButtChinley! AMIRIGHT?!?
31. GERALD FORD
He gets all this credit for being the "most athletic" president just because he played some pigskin at Michigan, but 1. football was so easy back then -- I've seen the preview for Leatherheads, 2. Gerald was kind of an uncoordinated doof -- I've seen Chevy Chase on SNL, and 3. his birthname was Leslie.
LATER, BRAH. DON'T PARDON NIXON NEXT TIME.
30. JIMMY CARTER
For the record, I think he looked kinda cuddly in his sweater that everyone hated.
29. FRANKLIN PIERCE
Wins the Billy Crudup award for looking like Billy Crudup and for being the prettiest hunk of manmeat that you ever saw.
CATEGORY IV: UNDERWHELMING MEN FOR WHOM I HAVE A SOFT SPOT
28. HERBERT HOOVER
I'm ranking this unabashed failure way too highly simply because we both went to Stanford. What can I say, I enjoy the man's Nipple Tower.
27. JAMES K. POLK
In the Presidents Song that all elementary schools sing, when you get to "Polk," you get to poke the kid next to you in the arm. So, yeah, pretty cool legacy.
26. JOHN TYLER
FIFTEEN KIDS. JOHN TYLER HAD FIFTEEN KIDS. Truly, he is the Antonio Cromartie of the Presidency.
25. GROVER CLEVELAND
Trivia time! Grover is the guy on the $1000 dollar bill. So next time you hear a rapper say he's "gunna make it rain Grovers," which is something rappers frequently do, you'll know exactly what's going on. You are welcome.
24. ULYSSES S. GRANT
Great Civil War General who didn't care that much about his own troops dying. Big rummy. Changed his name from "Hiram Ulysses Grant" so as to avoid the initials "HUG." Look, I gotta hand it to him. All of those things say "swag" to me.
23. RICHARD NIXON
He could have been a great president, if it weren't for that dang Forrest Gump always getting in his way!
CATEGORY V: LEGIT
22. JAMES MONROE
They had these Founding Fathers Pez Dispensers at Bed Bath & Beyond, and my sister Emma and I got in a mini-fight over who got to have the James Monroe Pez. I won by noogie-ing the crap out of her. I feel like James Monroe, as the man behind the equally big brotherly Monroe Doctrine, would have been proud.
21. WOODROW WILSON
Was President of Princeton. Looked like the Planters Peanut. Wore glasses. NERD PRESIDENT.
20. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
I wish he were on Facebook, so I could "like" him.
19. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
He was well-known for skinny-dipping in the Potomac on early mornings. No person who liked to be naked has ever had a bad personality, right?
18. BILL CLINTON
Nevermind. This is probably a naked guy with a bad personality.
17. JAMES MADISON
All right, this guy was 5'4'', he loaned out his wife to be Thomas Jefferson's First Lady, and he enjoyed sporting a do-rag. FIRST. PIMP. PRESIDENT.
CATEGORY VI: ALL-STARS
16. GEORGE WASHINGTON
Weren't his teeth made of cow butt or whatever? I cannot tell a lie: gross.
15. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON
He was President for just 32 days, thereby earning his nickname, "The Junior High Relationship President."
14. BARACK OBAMA
The jury's still out on him, and by "jury's still out," I mean, "how many more awesome things will he do like that
time he dapped that janitor or that time he destroyed Rajon Rondo's confidence or that time he went all Tebow or that time he goofed around with his best bros Vlad, Silvio, and Hu? Wow, Barack really reduces me to "Friends" episode titles.
13. JOHN F. KENNEDY
As one of eight people in the world who watched every episode of "The Kennedys" (the others being my dad, Greg Kinnear, Greg Kinnear's friend, noted historian Robert Dallek, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Suri), I can say with full confidence that JFK would have been the best evah if all of those games of touch football on Cape Cod/all of those nights with Marilyn hadn't ruined his back.
12. WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT
Hey, did you know three-hundred-plus pound President William Howard Taft once got stuck in a bathtub?
YES, I DID KNOW THAT, YOU SUPERFICIAL AND HATEFUL BOOK OF PRESIDENTIAL FACTS. HE WAS ALSO A CRUSADING REFORMER AND BRILLIANT LEGAL MIND.
Never judge a book by its fat, fat cover.
11. THOMAS JEFFERSON
10. JOHN ADAMS
My favorite episode was when he told Cory and Topanga that he'd always loved them, after all.
CATEGORY VII: I JUST LIKE HIM
9. WARREN G. HARDING
I know he embarrassed the nation with a cavalcade of embarrassing scandals. I know he lost all of the White House China in a game of poker. I know he spent less time drafting policy than he did attending Bacchanalian orgies with his buds.
But I like him, okay? I like his well-defined jawline and his manly eyebrows. I like him. I like him! Daddy, I love him!
CATEGORY VIII: FRANCHISE PLAYERS
8. FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
Won World War II (with a little help from 20 million Russians). Rejiggered the economy (with a little help from World War II). Successfully got through three-plus terms without everyone realizing he was in a wheelchair (with a little help from everyone in America twiddling their thumbs and whistling and pretending like FDR wasn't in a wheelchair).
7. JAMES A. GARFIELD
I'm not rational about this guy, who was President for only six months and spent three of them in bed with doctors moving a bullet around his intestines with tubes and unwashed hands. But I just read this book about him, and it convinced me that Garfield would have been an all-time legendary Prez the same way that Corey Haim's E! True Hollywood Storyconvinced me that he could have been Actor of the Millennium.
6. HARRY S TRUMAN
Harry Truman went from being a failed haberdasher at the age of 35 to becoming the POTUS. Let's go over that
again. This dude was a haberdasher -- like someone who sells buttons and ribbons and crap -- LIKE THE GUY FROM CAPS FOR SALE -- AND HE FAILED AT THAT -- and he became President.
5. MARTIN VAN BUREN
He was always my favorite as a kid. First, he was President #8 and that was my favorite number. Also, he is responsible for the rise of the phrase "O.K." (his hometown was "Old Kinderhook) and I LOVE saying "O.K." And plus he had sweet mutton chops and I had sweet mutton chops. Kindred spirits!
4. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Okay, actually he was my favorite as a kid. In fact, Teddy Roosevelt was the reason seven-year-old Teddy Steinkellner self-identified as a Republican because he was a Republican and I thought it was cool that we were both named Teddy and also because the symbol for the G.O.P. is the elephant and that's my favorite animal! I wonder if little reactionary wunderkind Jonathan Krohn chose conservatism for similar reasons...
CATEGORY IX: BADASSES
3. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
The People's number 1, my number 3.
PROS: beard, hat, witticisms, slavery abolishment, and gay Presidents are my favorite kind of Presidents.
CON: Sorry Abe, it's hard to see how great you are behind all that UGLY.
2. ANDREW JACKSON
The Fitty Cent of the White House. Old Hickory served his entire Presidency with a bullet lodged close to his heart, and it was said that the several other bullets and fragments scattered throughout his bod "rattled like a bag of marbles."
Also, his Inaugural Ball was opened to the general public, and it got so wild with all of the thousands of commoners in the hallways that it featured several kegstands and everyone screaming "FRESHMAN! FRESHMAN! DO SOMETHING CRAZY! DO SOMETHING CRAZY!"
Also, there's an emo rock Broadway musical about him and it's really fun!
But nay, he cannot be number one. That honor, the much-coveted title of my Favorite President in the History of Ever or at Least Until Obama Does Another Cool Thing, belongs to...
1. LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON
Subject of the best books ever? Check.
Suck-uppiest suck-up that ever sucked up? Check.
Silly audio recording of him asking his tailor to make bigger trousers for his "bunghole"? Check.
Proclivity for peeing on his Secret Service agents and then quoting Bobby Brown? Check.
GOOD LORD, WHAT ARE THIS MAN'S WEAKNESSES?
Well, there was that one time he tried to kill my dad with that whole Vietnam War thing.