and John McCain will appear on the same stage for the first time this campaign Saturday, at the very posh Saddleback
Church for a gathering sponsored by “TheCall
,” a collection of people who are in favour of Christian principles and opposed to leaving a space after the word “The.” No one is expecting any profound policy statements: instead, it is more than likely going to be Obama
and McCain trying to look more marketable to the shotguns and pickups crowd. Morality-wise, Americans want their leaders to be upright Christians, just like every upright Christian president that came before.
Let’s have a look at the moral standards Barack and John have to live up to, President by President:
George Washington: Grew pot. Sure, it was “hemp,” but he distinctly states in his diary that he separated the male from the female plants. There is only one reason to do that: ask your dealer about it.
John Adams: Spent nine years away from his wife in Europe, so could be considered a bad husband.
Thomas Jefferson: Legally owned his mistress, Sally Hemings.
James Madison: Fairly clean record, but at 5’4″ unelectable by today’s standards. Also, clearly un-American by today’s standards: “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
James Monroe: Notoriously silent on matters of religion. Never made any public statements on religion, and none of his friends and family recall him discussing the matter. Thought of by many as a Deist: one who believes in God but refusing to be bound by standard Christian dogma.
John Quincy Adams: Enjoyed dueling. Drank like a fish. As Minister To Russia, allegedly kept an American servant girl as a personal plaything for the Czar.
Andrew Jackson: Leading advocate of a policy called “Indian removal,” motivated in part by the discovery of gold on Cherokee land, resulting in the death of about 4,000 Native Americans during the “Trail Of Tears” incident. Married his wife before she was technically divorced.
Martin Van Buren: Proposed to a woman in her mid-20s (granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson) not long after the death of his first wife.
William Henry Harrison: Only served for a little over a month, so no time for shenanigans. However, literally didn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain, leading to his death by pneumonia.
John Tyler: Married a 22 year old “long time friend” mere months after the death of his first wife. Subject to an impeachment vote for misuse of veto powers.
James Polk: Fairly clean. Ongoing issues with kidney stones, resulting in (among other things) surgery that left him infertile. A classic candidate for painkiller addiction, in modern terms.
Zachary Taylor: Ignored orders as a general in the Mexican War. A northerner who owned slaves on his Southern property. Corrupt cabinet. Drank a lot.
Millard Fillmore: Scandal free, but painfully boring and uncharismatic. Thus, unelectable by today’s standards.
Franklin Pierce: Raging drunk. Accused of cowardice under fire as a general. Ran over an old lady with his carriage. Died of cirrhosis.
James Buchanan: Never married, but spent an awful lot of time with Senator William Rufus King. Lived with King (whom Andrew Jackson called “Miss Nancy”) for over two decades.
Abraham Lincoln: Poorly educated. Prone to depression. May have had syphilis. Married a crazy woman.
Andrew Johnson: Couldn’t read or write until he was 18, when his wife taught him. Was subject to two impeachment attempts.
Ulysses S. Grant: Roaring drunk, by many accounts, for the bulk of the Civil War and his Presidency. Major financial scandals during his term.
Rutherford B. Hayes: “A third rate nonentity, whose only recommendation is that he is obnoxious to no one,” according to a contemporary. Thus, unelectable by modern standards.
James Garfield: (Not to be confused with the gluttonous cat of the same name) Involved in the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal, sole bidder for many important railway contracts… kind of like Halliburton today. Had a fling with a married woman.
Chester A. Arthur: Forced to resign from his job at a customs house due to a financial scandal. May have covered up having been born in Canada, and thus would be disqualified from becoming President.
Grover Cleveland: His fling with Maria C. Halpin is resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child. Had Maria committed to an insane asylum, and their child was sent to an orphanage.
William McKinley: Involved in a major personal financial scandal, but was bailed out by his friends.
Theodore Roosevelt: Generally clean, but implicated in the Panama Canal Scandal. Daughter Alice was a notorious party girl.
William Howard Taft: Generally clean, but seriously overweight and a notoriously loud snorer. Thus, unelectable by current standards.
Woodrow Wilson: One wife died, and was engaged to another in less than a year.
Warren Harding: Two confirmed mistresses. The Republican Party bought off one (the wife of a friend) for $20,000 and a free trip to Japan. The other one gave birth to Harding’s illegitimate daughter.
Calvin Coolidge: Generally clean. Was probably too busy gutting Federal control over the economy, thus setting the stage for The Depression.
Herbert Hoover: Generally scandal free, but oversaw the “Mexican Repatriation,” which saw about half a million Mexicans and Mexican Americans “repatriated” via forced migration. Thus, still electable (if you’re a Republican).
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Started an affair with his wife’s 22 year old secretary. Broke it off later when his wife found out. They started up again later.
Harry S. Truman: Generally clean, but did bump a wounded WW II veteran from his flight home, so Truman could get home sooner.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: nearly ditched his wife for a 24 year old.
John F. Kennedy: Marilyn Monroe. Judith Exner. Blaze Starr. Mary Pinshot Meyer. Probably others.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Alleged longtime affair with Alice Glass, girlfriend of a newspaper publisher. Supposedly only broke it off because of her opposition to Vietnam.
Richard Nixon: Watergate. Also, Watergate. And let’s not forget Watergate.
Gerald Ford: Pardoned Nixon. What, that isn’t bad enough for you?
Jimmy Carter: Had a drunk brother. If you’ve made it this far down the list, Jimmy’s probably looking pretty good right about now.
Ronald Reagan: Cheated on Wife Number One with Wife Number Two. Also, Iran-Contra, among others.
George Bush The First: Alleged long-term affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald.
Bill Clinton: Gennifer Flowers. Paula Jones. Monica Lewinsky.
George Bush The Second: will probably be sobered up enough by now, after his triumphant appearance drunk at the Beijing Olympics, to continue being the moral paragon that “Values Voters” elected last time.
Now, you were saying something about how a President has to be pious and upright…?