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Next President's Rankings - Hitchcock Version
Alfred Hitchcock died on this day, and his scary legacy lives on. In his honor, we look at the next two presidents, which ended in a mysterious death.
Filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, died on this day, April 29, 1980, at 80. He was born just before the turn of the 20th century in jolly good England. This well-regarded writer and film director is considered the Master of Suspense. His most notable films include Psycho, Vertigo, Rear View, and a crazy movie about killer birds. Hitchcock would eventually become a United States citizen in 1955.
In honor of this scary film icon, we present our next two rankings of presidents that were equally scary as we make our way up the DPPR. Here we go!
37: Hebert Hoover
2017 Ranking: 38
2019 Ranking: 37
Term – March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
Bertie, as he was known by friends, by all accounts, was a nice man.
After World War I, we didn’t pay our military veterans the bonuses we promised them. The vets then arrived in DC, taking up camp across the Anacostia River. Protesting began, things began to get nasty, and a young Douglas McArthur led soldiers across the bridge to clear out the camp. It wasn’t good. Hoover didn't order it, but he supported it after the fact. Bad, Bertie. Bad.
The stock market crashed months after Hoover was inaugurated. The Depression was scary immediately. Hoover, however, was slow to recognize what was happening. Like a character in a Hitchcock film, Hoover was dead before he really got started. He just didn’t know it yet.
Why did I rank him here?
Last spring, as the pandemic began to rage, I grabbed a book on Hoover that I had purchased many years before. Herbert Hoover in the White House, by Charles Rappleye, is a very detailed and fair book. Huge pick me up during the entire uncertainty in the Spring of 2020. Bertie botched a Supreme Court nomination, mishandled the Fed, and thought the Red Cross could pull us out of the Depression. 37 is a generous ranking.
36: Zachary Taylor
2017 Ranking: 372019 Ranking: 36
Term – March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
The Taylor Administration passed the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty, which put finally put the U.S. on a path to permanent friendly relations with Britain. About 100 years later, as a thank you, they gave us Hitchcock.
Taylor was a Whig and Whigs were politically annoying at the time. The sequel to this show gets worse.
Taylor’s death is like a Hitchcock mystery. After attending a fundraiser, the president ate some cherries and milk, which sounds disgusting, developed stomach flu, and died almost immediately. I listened to an interesting podcast that suggested that at the time, Washington, DC, had a terrible water irrigation system, which was the culprit. However, the conspiracy theory that he was assassinated by poison gets more attention.
Why did I rank him here?
I read an autobiography on Taylor in 2010, written by Dwight D. Eisenhower’s son, John. Good book. Most of it involved Taylor’s military career because his presidency was so short. It's challenging to rank administrations that are so short. William Henry Harrison was ranked six spots below, primarily due to his one-month administration. Taylor's 16 months and not doing an enormously terrible job moves him up.
Thoughts? Taylor is almost a forgotten president, but everyone knows Hoover. Hitchcock made scary profitable, but these two only lead the country for five years total. What’s your favorite Hitchcock movie?