drawing, USpol but old, historical discussion of sexual orientation
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is James Buchanan, who watched the Civil War brew up with an impressive slack-jawed inaction.
According to some theories, he was gay. He was the only US President who never got married, and lived in Washington, DC with a man, US Senator from Alabama William Rufus King, for ten years.
However, it is also possible he was asexual, or uninterested in relationships with women for some other reason.
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Warren G. Harding, who is described as "an avid golfer whose administration was rife with corruption." Why does that sound familiar.
drawing, 19-century USpol
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Franklin Pierce, whose appeasement policies towards the slaveholding South in the name of national unity did not age well.
drawing, USpol adjacent
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is William Henry Harrison, who famously died after only a month in office.
Aged 68 at the time of his inauguration in 1841, he was at the time the oldest person ever to become president. This record stood for 140 years until Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in 1981 at age 69.
That record stood for 36 years until Donald Trump was inaugurated in 2017 at age 70.
And THAT record will have stood for four years next year, when Joe Biden will be inaugurated at age 78.
By 2040, the President will be 175 years old.
drawing, USpol but old
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Millard FIllmore, best known of course for inspiring the name of conservative political comic strip character Mallard Fillmore.
A member of the Whig Party, he was Zachary Taylor's Vice President and succeeded to the Presidency upon Taylor's death. However, nobody liked him, and he failed to get his Party's nomination when his term was up, making him the second-shortest-serving President who didn't die in office, after Gerald Ford.
He was the last President who was not a Republican or Democrat.
drawing, USpol but old, US slavery
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is John Tyler, the ur-example of why you shouldn't pick a Vice Presidential candidate to "balance the ticket."
Ostensibly a member of the anti-slavery Whig Party, Tyler, a slaveholder, was made William Harrison's running mate so that the ticket might have some appeal to Southerners. Then Harrison died a month after being inaugurated, making Tyler the first Vice President to succeed to the Presidency under Article II.
Aside from completely alienating his Party and being expelled from it, he is also known for getting the Republic of Texas admitted to the Union as a slave state through, basically, a loophole. While a treaty of annexation (treaties being the usual method of reaching agreements between nations) had been negotiated and agreed upon between Texas and the USA, the 2/3 vote in the US Senate required to ratify it just wasn't there. So the Tyler Administration came up with the idea of annexing Texas via a joint resolution of the Congresses of both nations, which only required a simple majority. And since there weren't no rule that said they COULDN'T do that, it was done.
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Herbert Hoover, who famously was in office when the Great Depression hit.
Why do severe economic downturns always seem to happen when Republicans are in office? 🤔
drawing, USpol but old
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Benjamin Harrison, grandson of former President William Harrison. Unlike his grandfather, he managed to survive for more than a month after his inauguration, even going so far as to live long enough to be defeated in a bid for re-election. Take that, Gramps!
He is also the only President whose predecessor and successor are the same person, existing as the center of a Grover Cleveland sandwich.
drawing, USpol, racism-adjacent
Next in my "Terrible US President" series is Chester Arthur, well-known for his epic moustache and sideburns.
He was initially elected as James Garfield's Vice President. When Garfield was shot and then lingered on death's door in and out of consciousness for months, Arthur found himself without the confidence to exercise executive authority while Garfield was still alive. This left a blank space where the chief executive authority of the United States should have been for eight months, and this event, along with the assassination of JFK in 1963, eventually led to the passage of the 25th Amendment, which implemented an official mechanism to remove power from a President who is mentally and/or physically incapable.
Arthur apparently preceded Obama as a candidate who was targeted by "birther" rumors, though he wasn't nearly as affected by them. When he was nominated for Vice President, his opponents first spread a rumor that he had actually been born in Ireland and hadn't come to the USA until he was 14. When that didn't take off, they tried switching Ireland for Canada. No dice.
I wonder why it worked a lot better on Obama. 🤔
Now that I'm through the bottom quartile of Presidents per the list I'm using, the next 11 Presidents have been promoted from "terrible" to "bad."
So, first in my "Bad President Series" is George W Bush, the second son of a President to become President (after John Q Adams).
He started the Iraq War, destabilizing the Middle East with disastrous consequences that linger to this very day; passed "No Child Left Behind," naively screwing up our education system even more than it was before; laid the groundwork for the 2008 financial crisis with his dumb tax policies; and, of course, showed off his amazing reflexes by dodging two shoes thrown at him by a reporter at a press conference that one time.
drawing, USpol but old, long
Next in my "Bad President Series" is Rutherford Hayes, the second President to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.
The election of 1876 was a horror show that was rife with electoral fraud, including local Democrats tricking illiterate Republican voters into voting for their candidate by printing the Republican symbol on Democratic ballots.* Democrats also engaged in rampant voter suppression, interfered with the selection of electors, and bypassed outgoing (but still in power) local Republican government.
Because of all that, 20 electoral votes were hotly disputed, with Democrat Samuel Tilden (the winner of the popular vote) one electoral vote shy of the number needed to win. There being no Constitutional mechanism to deal with this situation, Congress created an "Electoral Commission" to decide the fate of the 20 disputed votes.
The Commission heard arguments from representatives of both candidates in the manner of a court (even deliberating in the Supreme Court Chamber), and then voted entirely along Party lines to award all 20 disputed votes to Hayes.
Congressional Democrats attempted to filibuster their approval of the decision, which they did until they reached an informal agreement known as the Compromise of 1877, under which Democrats in Congress dropped the filibuster in exchange for a promise from Republicans to end Reconstruction, which they ultimately did.
Supporters of Tilden believed that his Presidency had been stolen, and Rutherford Hayes was derided as an illegitimate President (one of his derisive nicknames was apparently "Rutherfraud," which is just delightful).
Ending Reconstruction was an absolute nightmare decision that had extreme consequences affecting race relations in the United States that reverberate to this very day.
*Back then, ballots were printed by the Parties, not the government, which gets a yikes
drawing, USpol but old, taxes, racism
Next in my "Bad President Series" is Calvin Coolidge, shown here giving his famous "Look at me! I have a baseball!" speech.
As Warren Harding's Vice President, Coolidge ascended to the Presidency when Harding died suddenly of a heart attack; however, he was elected President in his own right the next year.
Coolidge presided over the beginnings of the Roaring Twenties, a period of rapid economic growth that Coolidge more or less supported by staying out of the way of it. However, he also supported a policy of lowering taxes (which he was successful at), on the theory of his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, that lowering taxes somehow increases government revenue (trickle-down economics is older than I thought). This, of course, helped lay the groundwork for the Crash of '29.
Somewhat uniquely for his time, Coolidge by all accounts had no racial prejudices to speak of, and he often spoke of his belief in racial equality. He pushed for a law to make lynching a federal crime, but was blocked in Congress (lynching finally became a federal crime in 2020, nearly 100 years later); he signed an act making all American Indians, even those living on reservations, citizens of the USA; and even delivered a commencement address at HBCU Howard University. If he was inactive in calling for more civil rights legislation, perhaps it was an admission of the inability for such laws to pass Congress, even if it was cowardly.
drawing, USpol but old, long
Next in my "Bad President Series" is Zachary Taylor, perhaps the least inspiring "success" story in history.
He had no interest in politics, no real fully-formed political ideals, and no political ambitions... however he was a popular war hero, having served as a major general in the US-Mexico War, so the Whig Party decided to cash in on his name by convincing him to run for President as a Whig even though he didn't wanna.
He became the first US President to hold the office without ever having held any prior elected office (even George Washington had been elected to Colonial Virginian government prior to the Revolution), and that, of course, has always turned out great ever since.
He took little interest in governing even after taking office, despite holding the Presidency in the turbulent pre-Civil War years, apparently satisfied to let Congress do what it wanted.
His Administration's only major accomplishment was the ratification of the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty with the UK, which settled disputes arising from the US wanting to build a Atlantic-Pacific canal through British claims in Nicaragua... something which, of course, never happened.
Taylor died only 16 months into his Presidency of stomach disease, and will always be remembered as the President who gave the least amount of shit about his job.
Next in my "Bad President Series" is Richard Nixon, a famously egocentric and paranoid man who was driven by his own insecurities and need for petty revenge.
So, basically like Trump if he were smart.
Nixon famously cut a deal with his Vice President, Gerald Ford, for Ford to grant him a blanket pardon after he resigned. Less well-known is that Nixon seriously considered pardoning himself instead, but ultimately decided against it.
We may soon get to see how such an action ends up going.
drawing, Garfield & Garfield
Bonus drawing: Garfield the cat cosplaying as Garfield the President, with Pooky as Vice President Arthur.
re: drawing, Garfield & Garfield
i had an idea to draw odie cosplaying as president garfield's assassin charles guiteau, then i was like "garrison, no, stop it."
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!