Bad Fourth of July Hangovers and Presidential Rankings
Zachary Taylor partied hard on July 4, 1850, and paid for it dearly today, July 9th. We take his passing as an opportunity to give out new presidential rankings!
Did you have a fun Fourth of July? I know I did. We had a bunch of people come to our house on the Hill throughout the day. We ate burgers and brats and washed them down with various beers. We made sure we stayed hydrated by drinking lots of water, including Bud Light and sparkling. Around 9:00, we headed over to the side of the Capitol to watch the fireworks celebrating our break from Jolly Ole England.
On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended a fundraising event celebrating the construction of the Washington Monument. He had a generous amount of cherries and iced milk. He devoured it like I did when I woofed down three burgers (supposedly) and two brats (prove it).
Interestingly, our 12th president and I didn’t feel well days after.
Today, on July 9, I’m still alive. The same could not be said for Taylor, who passed away on this day from complications from his partying. He was 65. I’m 45. It’s amazing the symmetry, isn’t it?
Management went over the lesson considering C-Span releasing their presidential rankings and noticed we hadn’t produced one in over a month. Come on, Chris!
Let’s get to it!
27: James Garfield
2017 Ranking: 24
2019 Ranking: 24
Term – March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
Garfield was a reformer. He believed the spoils system – appointing people of the winning party into government positions was a corrupt practice, which he sought to stamp out. Yes, his reforms were focused on the Post Office. Yes, I understand jokes don’t work as well when you point them out, no matter how clever.
There’s not much here. Garfield’s inauguration speech was panned. That’s all I got until I read more.
Um - Okay:
Garfield nominated Stanley Matthews to the Supreme Court twice. The first time, the Senate pulled a McConnell and didn’t act on the nomination. But Garfield was undeterred, did it again, and Matthews secured the nomination.
Why is this important? Matthews was another progressive on the court. He wrote the opinion in the Yick Wo vs. Hopkins case that laws administered in a prejudicial manner violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which has the equal protection clause. I’m quite positive there is a Law & Order episode on this.
Why did I rank him here?
Garfield is the embodiment of the “what if” presidency. President for only four months, his rise to the Chief Executive showed great promise. His drive to reform civil service is why his assassin assassinated him on the steps of the train station on a July Saturday morning.
26: Gerald Ford
2017 Ranking: 25
2019 Ranking: 28
Term – August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
He wasn’t Richard Nixon.
Look – when pardoning your predecessor is the most well-known antidote of your administration, it’s not great. At the time, people fell into two evenly divided camps – either forgiving Nixon healed a country or letting him set a bad precedent. I fall into the latter.
Um - Okay:
Ford nominated John Paul Stevens to the court. We like Stevens. He provided the majority opinion on Hamdam vs. Rumsfeld, which was a case that basically said the President couldn’t create military commissions and usurp the authority of the Supreme Court to hear cases brought by Gitmo detainees. I just saw a Law & Order episode on this.
Why did I rank him here?
Ford had a golden retriever named Liberty while he was in the White House. That’s a huge plus. Ford is a fascinating historical figure as he is the only person never elected Vice President or President. I’m delighted it was Ford who holds this distinction and not, say, Francis Underwood.
What’s your favorite Law & Order episode? I like the one where a crossdresser kept killing his lovers; the latest one was a poor deaf man. All that dude did was scream during his testimony.