The Greatest, Fattest and Ugliest Presidents

In honor of President’s Day, Shooting From The Left will praise, critique, and mock our various Commanders-in-Chief. Enjoy!

Greatest Presidents: Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Without question, Lincoln was the greatest president of the 19th Century and Roosevelt was the greatest of the 20th century. Lincoln saved the Union from utter destruction through drastic measures. He used powers outside the Constitution such as suspending the writ of habeaus corpus and clamping down on free speech and press. However, these were necessary actions. Lincoln understood that in order to rescue the United States from a crisis, extreme measure had to take place.

Franklin Roosevelt not only led the nation through the Great Depression and World War II, he changed the face of American politics. Like Lincoln, Roosevelt used drastic measures in his New Deal legislation to help resuscitate a struggling American economy. Symbolically, his optimism and warmth helped Americans through a dark time. As a wartime leader, Roosevelt rallied the United States to fight and win a two front war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Politically, Roosevelt instituted the modern welfare state. He believed that government had an obligation to provide basic needs for its people. Social Security, Roosevelt’s greatest domestic achievement, has been the most popular and successful government program in American history. Even George W. Bush cannot destroy Roosevelt’s Social Secutiry program.

Fattest President: William Howard Taft. Taft redfined the way in which Presidents threw their weight around. He weighed in at 350 pounds and his last name has “fat” in it. This dude got stuck in a bathtub. Enough said.

Most Underappreciated President: Harry Truman. Born to modest roots, he climbed his way to the top of the political ladder. When Roosevelt died, Truman was thrown into the presidency ill prepared. However, he quickly showed the American people and the world how tough he was. When Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin cut off supply lines to the Allied zones of Berlin, Truman orchestrated an airlift to keep the city from the Russians. Along with his Secretary of State George Marshall, his administration sponsored the Marshall Plan to help Europe rebuild after World War II. Few presidents helped shape the world the way Truman did.

Craziest Facial Hair: Chester A. Arthur: Arthur’s mutton chops were a thing of beauty. He would have fit right in at Woodstock.

Most Overrated Presidents: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Kennedy’s assassination greatly enhanced his stature in the annals of history. His botched invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba fanned the flames of the Cold War. Also, the United States’ reaction to Soviet missiles in Cuba was completely overblown. The United States had missiles of its own in Turkey – a neighboring country to the Soviet Union. Most damning is Kennedy’s introduction of military advisors into Vietnam. Domestically, he did almost nothing for Civil Rights and refused to push any new social programs. Kennedy’s exalted place in American history is due to his untimely death as a young and vibrant man. When I see polls that put Reagan as our best president, I want to thow up. This is a man who kept 8-hour days, and who would regularly doze off in cabinet meetings. He presided over the biggest increase in our national debt, which many argue led to the recessions of George H.W. Bush’s administration. Reagan dismantled much of the Great Society and the New Deal. He sarcastically remarked, “We fought a war on poverty and poverty won.” The Iran-Contra scandal, where in exchange for hostages, Americans sold arms to Iran and funneled the profits to the illegal Contra War in Nicaragua. Reagan lied to the public when he said he was unaware of any wrongdoing within his administration. These were certainly impeachable acts.

Ugliest President: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Johnson hideousness was almost as bad as his Vietnam War policy. Nixon lost the 1960 presidential election because he was an ugly bastard.

Best Looking: John F. Kennedy. Good hair, nice smile. JFK was one dreamy prez!

Best Politician: Bill Clinton. I feel sorry for Bill Clinton. He presided over the greatest period of economic expansion in our nation’s history. Sadly, the politics of personal destruction were more important than helping our country. Every time I see the likes of Kenneth Starr on television, I promptly throw my shoe at the set. Starr and his team of Clinton haters tried everything they could to discredit the president. Whitewater? No wrong doing. Travelgate? Nothing. So they finally found out that Clinton fooled around with an intern. So what? Where the president puts his genitalia is his prerogative. The last time I checked, adultery was not an offense that warranted impeachment. Yes, Clinton lied and he shouldn’t have. What he should have said is “The President’s personal life is not the business of the American public.” Nonetheless, Clinton rose above the fray. In 1992, he came out of nowhere to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency. 1996, Clinton was Bob Dole’s daddy, schooling his senior citizen a** in the election. In the midst of the impeachment crisis, more Democrats were voted in than Republicans during the 1998 midterm elections. Clinton rose above everything. However, his greatest ability was his knack for commanding a crowd and pressing the flesh. His ability to connect with voters was a large reason Americans elected him President twice.

If it weren’t for his moral leprosy, Richard Nixon would have made my list as “Favorite Republican President” of the 20th century. Unenthusiastically, I give that nod to Dwight Eisenhower. Ike was one of the last moderate Republicans and basically let Roosevelt’s New Deal legacy continue. However, for a military general, Ike was pretty cowardly. He ever so reluctantly sent in the National Guard to desegregate Arkansas Central High School. Eisenhower was no friend of the Civil Rights movement.So we’ve had good presidents (FDR, Lincoln) and bad presidents (Bush I and II, Hoover). Funny how most of the bad presidents were Republicans. What will the future bring? Stay tuned.