Monday, February 19, 2018

Let’s Make Presidents’ Day Great Again

I used to actually like Presidents’ Day, one of those nothing little days you may or many not have off, when you may or may not buy a couch or a car on sale, and when – back in the day, when it was George Washington’s Birthday, rather than generic any-and-all presidents day, you ate something with a cherry on it. (GW, according to myth, having chopped down a cherry tree and then owned up to his father, telling him “I cannot tell a lie.” Ah, those were the days when it was possible to imagine having a president who could not tell a lie. Or could only tell an occasional, fingers-crossed-behind-the-back lie. As opposed to the incumbent, who averages over 5 lies per day.)

These days, it’s kind of hard to be in a celebratory mood.

I didn’t have high hopes for Trump, but I did think there was a glimmer of a possibility that he’d demonstrate some modicum of competence and decency. Hah, I say hah, hah. The only thing I’m looking forward to with respect to DJT is that he exits the teleprompter. And that when he departs, he takes Mike “Pious Toady” Pence and Paul “See How Close the Name R-Y-A-N Is To A-Y-N R-A-N-D?” Ryan with him. I’m also fast forwarding to the next time historians play “rank the presidents”, and we’ll see if Trump ends up ranked even lower than Warren Harding, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan.

There was a ranking last year, which I wrote about in my last year’s Prez Day post. As I noted at the time, the top of the list was predictable:

The Big Three (as historian Douglas Brinkley calls them) are no surprise. Lincoln and FDR are my two personal favorites, which is kind of like saying that my favorite movies are Casablanca and The Godfather.

When the next rankings come out, and Trump lands it the thud he so majorly deserves, and if the Tweet-Meister is still tweeting, I’m sure he’ll be going nuts about historians as Fake News, Deep States, East Coast Elites who hate America. Either that, or he’ll find some historian with a degree from Trump U who will decree Trump the Greatest President Evah. After all, Trump did claim that Orrin Hatch blew some presidential ranking smoke up his butt:

“He actually once said I’m the greatest president in the history of our country.”

As it turns out, this wasn’t exactly what Hatch said. (Was this one of the 2,000 lies Trump told during his first year in office? It hurts my head too much to go through the full list.)

Ah, Presidents…

I’m a sucker for those quizzes, even when they’re dead wrong. (No, I don’t live in Hawaii.) The one I took most recently asked all sorts of dopey multiple choice questions and then spits out which US president you are. I got a good answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But I suspect that there are only a handful of presidents that come out as answers, and that no one is told that they’re Millard Fillmore or Zachary Taylor. Maybe there’s a clinker or two in there – Richard Nixon – but I’m guessing most people are told they’re Ronald Reagan, JFK, Abe Lincoln, Ike, et a few als. Still, I’m just as happy that I didn’t end up as Reagan.

I do wonder what does with all the data they amass from these quizzes. They know I like to read. That my favorite season is fall (at least I think that’s the answer I always give; maybe it’s swing – I go back and forth). But when I’m asked a question on my favorite dance and my real answer is none of the above (waltz? cha-cha?). Or who my favorite superhero is. (I put in Superman because a) I watched it as a kid; b) in the movie, Christopher Reeves was pretty cute.) I really don’t have a superhero.

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