Surrender to the Next Round of Presidential Rankings
Nazi Germany surrendered on this day. Eventually, each president surrenders the office. Let’s dive into the next two presidential rankings where circumstances forced them to surrender before each man
On May 7, 1945, Nazi General Alfred Jodl walked into a small red brick schoolhouse in Reims, France. It was a partly cloudy day early in the morning. The cool breeze was a precursor for the years ahead. Jodl was set to meet with the Supreme Commander of All Things Great, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Shortly after some cordial exchanges, he signed Germany's unconditional surrender and effectively ended World War II. I believe Ike’s next order was for everyone to take the rest of the day off.
Today’s milestone event brings us to our next round of presidential rankings – along with another new theme: the art of the surrender. To surrender means to give something up, and although the presidency isn't beachfront property along the Mediterranean Sea, it's a big deal.
Let’s take a look at the next two rankings and the men who surrendered the White House. Either because of the votes from his political party, or perhaps he did something illegal, and wanted to get out of dodge before he was thrown out.
35: Millard Fillmore
2017 Ranking: 36
2019 Ranking: 35
Term – July 9, 1850 – Surrendered the White House on March 4, 1853
Fillmore executed the office of president without personal feelings getting in the way. That must be looked upon as good. He also brokered a bunch of peace treaties from Europe to South America.
Okay, having gotten the “good” part out of the way, Fillmore was on the bad end of bad ideas. The Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise Act of 1850, was passed under his administration. If you have seen the movie 12 Years a Slave, you are a braver person than I.
Fillmore’s record on slavery was straightforward. He thought it was evil. He then said that there was nothing he could do to fight this sin because of the government's existence. So, instead, he passed the previously mentioned bill, enforced it, and somehow, he made a bad thing much worse.
Why did I rank him here?
I do sorta feel bad for Millard. I read an autobiography of the man in 2012 and feel sorry for him. His wife died weeks after he surrendered the White House, his daughter a short time after that. He couldn’t land a job. He lost the nomination in 1852 to General Winfred Scott, who I think starred in the movie Cocoon. Fillmore is The Last of Whigs, which a movie that will never be made. Even if it was a real flick, Millard probably wouldn't have been cast.
34: Richard Nixon
2017 Ranking: 37
2019 Ranking: 36
Term – January 20, 1969 – Surrendered the White House on August 9, 1974
If you read my piece on Nixon, you know he created some good things, like the Environmental Protection Agency, because having oxygen is a good thing.
In that same piece, you know how he secured the White House for a second time. It was bad. Also, I’ll throw in Henry Kissinger. That was execrable.
Nixon was paranoid. You know who else was paranoid? Hitler. Nixon wasn’t Hitler, obviously, but I must tie in the theme here. During the Watergate investigation, Nixon was suspicious and recalcitrant. Not good qualities to have for someone who oversees so much. Hitler was the same way before he excused himself from the May 7th meeting. Again, not saying that Nixon was Hitler. I'm not. I'm not trying to, at least.
Why did I rank him here?
If you get caught doing something illegal, and your best recourse is to simply resign, you must be in the lowest tier of any self-respecting, made-up presidential power rankings. What’s incredible to think in 2021 was that the ruling party, Nixon’s own, was the one to take him down back then and provide him a soft landing.
This has proven to be a terrible precedent. Nixon had good foreign affair wins, as I mentioned earlier. But you wipe that all out if you end up sitting out your glory days telling everyone you did nothing wrong because you were the president.
What have you surrendered lately? I surrendered to ever-growing a beard. I did it last summer, for the first time ever. I plan to draft an essay about the experience. It happened in the past, so technically, it's history. Let’s talk about my beard growing experience below!