Source: Go Now
Barack Obama is the 44th U.S. president, which means there were countless presidents before him. So before we embark on this new four-year journey, which unbiased media reports tell me will be characterized by everyone’s dreams coming true and an end to all bad things, let’s look back at the presidents who came before Obama:
1: George Washington: He did not really chop down a cherry tree and tell his father the truth. This was a tale created by writer Mason Weems, who wrote a book that glorified the first president. The Bush administration is actively trying to hire him. Faulty intelligence led them to believe he is still alive.
2. John Adams: A key opponent to the Stamp Act who presided over the Alien and Sedition acts. He was also the cousin of Samuel Adams, who had a beer named after him. Guess which one more Americans admire.
3. Thomas Jefferson: The longtime bachelor once said “many and great are the comforts of the single state.” He did eventually marry, though, to a woman twice as rich as him. He’d have my vote.
4. James Madison: Napoleon Bonaparte was making short rulers all the rage. The U.S. followed suit by electing its own pocket-sized president. The shortest and smallest president was said to be the first to wear long pants rather than knee breeches. How do we know he wasn’t just wearing Jefferson’s oversized hand-me-downs?
5. James Monroe: When he ran for his second term, no one was named as an official candidate opposed to the popular Monroe. He received all but one electoral vote. That vote came from Florida, for Pat Buchanan.
6: John Quincy Adams: His election was unlike others because none of the candidates declared a party. He ran against independents Andrew Jackson, William Crawford, Henry Clay and Ralph Nader, who has run in every election since.
7: Andrew Jackson: He was a prisoner of war and killed a man in a duel. He’s like a combination of John McCain and Dirty Harry. The forceful leader vetoed more bills than anyone else, survived an assassination attempt, and his favorite hobby was cockfighting. If the presidents were in a yearbook, Jackson would be voted most likely to punch you in the face.
8: Martin Van Buren: The origin of the word “OK” is believed to come from Van Buren, who was nicknamed Old Kinderhook. He married Hannah Hoes, a relative of Van Buren’s mother — not OK, dude.
9. William Henry Harrison: Was more dead in the first 30 days than any other U.S. president, unless you count brain-dead.
10. John Tyler: Claimed to be the reason Texas became a state. But in an even greater achievement for a dude, he was 54 when he married his second first lady, a 24-year-old. This is the last time I’m going to tell you this, kids: BECOME PRESIDENT.
11. James Polk: The first “dark horse” president was remembered for keeping all of his campaign promises, at least according to Mason Weems.
12. Zachary Taylor: Once said, “It would be judicious to act with magnanimity toward a prostrate foe.” Which proves he had access to both the phrase “Don’t kick a man when he’s down” and a thesaurus.
13. Millard Fillmore: Inherited the presidency after Taylor’s death and ran for re-election with the Know-Nothing Party. He was predictably defeated by the candidate from the Nothing is Outside the Realm of Our Experience Party.
14. Franklin Pierce: I honestly forgot that this guy was president.
15. James Buchanan: His presidency featured economic recession and several states seceding from the union. Fact: On his way out, he said, “I at least meant well for my country.”
16. Abraham Lincoln: Loved the theater.
17. Andrew Johnson: The first president to be impeached didn’t feel too bad about it, considering the way the previous guy was removed from office.
18. Ulysses S. Grant: President when the 15th Amendment passed, saying no one could deny anyone the right to vote based on race. Sex, of course, but not race. He also created the first national park in 1872 — distant relatives of Rod Blagojevich immediately tried to close it.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes: His election opponent Samuel Tilden won the popular vote. Hayes, a Republican, needed only one electoral vote from three Republican-controlled states to win the presidency. If you know our electoral system well, you can probably guess that democracy prevailed and a fair election was able to proceed. I’m kidding, of course. Actually, many Democratic ballots were ruled invalid and Hayes entered the White House with the nickname “His Fraudulency.”
20. James A. Garfield: Was shot by Charles Guiteau in July 1881, but didn’t die until two months later. Doctors had the ability to save him, but his health plan at the time only covered bullets that didn’t come from an assassin.
21. Chester A. Arthur: Nicknamed “Elegant Arthur” because he was known to change his outfit several times a day. He had 15 personal groomers for his mustache alone.
22. Grover Cleveland: We’ll get to him later.
23. Benjamin Harrison: He was the first to have electricity in the White House and the first to have his voice recorded, a momentous occasion that he marked with his most notable quote, “Oh my God, is that what I really sound like?”
24. Grover Cleveland: See, here he is.
25. William McKinley: Passed the Gold Standard, which meant the dollar was backed by gold, versus what it is backed by today. (Hint: It’s worth about as much as what it’s backed by.)
26. Theodore Roosevelt: Survived an assassination attempt because he had a 50-page speech in his pocket that slowed the bullet down. For other examples of this phenomenon, see every Hollywood movie ever made where the main character is shot.
27. William Howard Taft: The fattest president in U.S. history once got stuck in the White House bathtub. His cabinet included Secretary of State Philander Knox, Ho Hos, Twinkies, cupcakes, Twizzlers ...
28. Woodrow Wilson: Made Mother’s Day a national holiday and was president when women were given the right to vote. And all I got my mother was a card. Way to set the bar too high.
29. Warren G. Harding: During prohibition, he served alcohol at weekly poker games. Was brought down by scandals from members of his administration famously saying, “I have no trouble with my enemies ... But my friends ... they’re the ones who keep me walking the floors at night.” So, let me get this straight, he was surprised that people who would drink and gamble — both of which were illegal — inside the White House also turned out to be untrustworthy?
30. Calvin Coolidge: Fact: A woman once bet “Silent Cal” she could get three words out of him. His response: “You lose.” His actual campaign motto “Keep Cool with Coolidge” was either written by an eighth-grade student council campaign manager or he really cared about global warming.
31. Herbert Hoover: The richest president during the nation’s poorest time. Hoover refused to accept his own salary, a move that all 535 members of Congress responded to immediately, and without hesitation, by asking if they could then give themselves raises.
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The press at the time agreed not to photograph FDR in his wheelchair. In a similar measure, the modern media has agreed only to photograph Obama while he’s walking on water.
33. Harry Truman: “Give ‘em hell Harry” is best known for dropping “little boy” and “fat man” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But, when Madison and Taft’s bodies had no effect, he decided to drop actual atomic bombs.
34. Dwight Eisenhower: He believed in the “domino theory” of communism, which meant that if one Southeast Asian country fell to communism, the others would follow in 30 minutes or less or their communism was free. How many years did this avid golfer serve as president? Foouuuuuuur! OK, actually, eight.
35. John F. Kennedy: Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot and killed President Kennedy. You heard right, he only “acted” alone. Kennedy is responsible for the space race to the moon and the Civil Rights Act, which are separate, but equal, moments in history.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson: Led the nation through two wars: Vietnam and his own “war on poverty.” The latter of which was far more successful because none of them were armed.
37. Dick Nixon: Improved relations with the USSR and China, ended the military draft, established the Environmental Protection Agency, and signed the Clean Air Act and the Nuclear Weapon Non-Proliferation Treaty. But all this doesn’t overshadow his biggest mistake — making Columbus Day a national holiday. I mean, seriously, the guy found America by accident.
38. Gerald Ford: Pardoned Nixon, I assume for the Columbus Day thing.
39. Jimmy Carter: He spent his post-presidency building for homes for Habitat for Humanity. You’ll recognize those as the only homes that aren’t actively being foreclosed on.
40. Ronald Reagan: He was never actually president. He’s just that damn good an actor.
41. George H.W. Bush: Was known for three things: The phrase “read my lips, no new taxes,” his ventriloquism and raising taxes.
42. Bill Clinton: First Baby Boomer president and very likely responsible for his own personal baby boom.
43. George W. Bush: Brought global relief for AIDS victims, saving thousands of lives in Africa. Some said he was the greatest U.S. president for Africa and the fight against AIDS in history. (See, sometimes we can be nice.)
Sources: “U.S. Presidents Factbook,” “The Everything American President’s Book” and a bunch of lies I made up.