Wednesday, February 14, 2007

President's Day 2007

James A. Garfield

Because so many people don’t know the difference between a plural possessive and a singular possessive, I have chosen President’s day to be singular. Therefore, I have decided to choose the president I wish to honor each year. Last year, the President was Benjamin Franklin Pierce, famed politician and skilled army surgeon. This year, the honor goes to none other that James A. Garfield (1831-1881).

Among other things, Garfield is recognized as the last president to live in a log cabin, or eat the syrup, or maybe both. Kinda makes ya wonder who the last president will be who lived in a duplex.

Garfield was opposed to the political corruption that had been rampant during Reconstruction, and in under a year made people actually respect the office of the Presidency once again. For that alone he should be the most honored President of them all. But how soon we forget.

Originally from Ohio, he went to college in Massachusetts, learning, among other things, how to spell Massachusetts. He went on to become a classics professor at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (Ol’ WREI), which was a lot easier then because there were fewer classics, and he quickly became the president of that esteemed institution (now known as Hiram -- as in Hiram Walker -- College).

In 1859, Garfield became a Republican senator from Ohio, though back then the Republicans were more interested in actually governing our country than such things as gay marriage and stem cell research. In fact, the whole question of gays would not occur until the ‘90s, nearly ten years after Garfield’s death.

Garfield saw service for the Union Army during the Civil War, but was recalled to the Senate by Lincoln because it was a lot harder to find decent Senators than decent commanders. Given the history of the North’s commanders during the Civil War, that’s not saying much.

So in Congress Garfield stayed for the next 18 years. Then, in 1880, he was given the Republican nomination for the President pretty much as an after thought when the guy that Garfield was trying to get nominated (Pat Robertson, or something like that) didn’t get it. It was pretty much a case of, “Hey, how about you?” The rest is history, which can be said for anything.

Garfield mostly spent his Presidency bickering over who would run the Custom’s House, which to this day is still a highly prized job in Washington. Once that issue was settled (and I’m sure everybody remembers how from their grammar school days), Garfield spent the rest of his Presidency dying.

On July 2nd (the day before my sister’s birthday), 1882 (69 years before my sister’s birthday), Garfield was shot by a pissed attorney who didn’t get the government appointment that he’d hoped for from Garfield. Garfield managed to hang on until September 19, and was even treated by Alexander Graham Bell, who had better success with his telephone.

On becoming President after Garfield’s death, Grover Cleveland was reported to have said, “Wow, that was easy.” Cleveland later had a city in Ohio and a character on Sesame street named after him. Garfield managed to remain dead for the next 90 or so years, when he was reincarnated as a cartoon cat.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

You Can't Know the Players Without a Program

With the start of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, I find myself wondering: Who the heck was that kid who used to sit in front of me in the 5th grade? Not Richard. I know him. But that other kid. The one who Miss Forshee moved after she was sick of Richard and me talking all hour. Because, truly, he was a dick. Richard was a Dick, too, but not in that sense. And, you know, he just might be running for President. Not Richard, but the other dick. So I got to wondering just who might be running for president. Thank goodness for Wikipedia. Therefore, I give you the following Official Program. For simplicity's sake, I've given everybody a number, for the most part, I just started at the beginning and went down, except for Obama. I missed him the first time through. And the Republicans. Let's face it; they don't stand a chance anyway, when the best they can offer so far is Brownback.

Democratic Candidates

Officially Filed

#1 Senator Joseph Biden (from Delaware... wow... we’re in Delaware)

#2 Senator Christopher Dodd (from Connecticut... State Motto: "At least it’s easier to spell than Massachutsettes")

#3 Senator John Edwards (from North Carolina and no longer running with what’s his name)

#4 Senator Mike Gavel (from Alaska: State Motto: "Brrrrr.")

#5 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Ohio, which is easier to spell than Kucinich)

# 57 Senator Barack Obama (Illinois; official campaign song: “Back in Black”)

#6 Former Governor Tom Vilsack (Pennsylvania; official campaing motto: “Comon, guys, you remember me!”)

Unofficial, but has exploratory committee

#7 Governor Bill Richardson (New Mexico; has same birthday as me, which would be cool)

#8 Senator Hillary Clinton (New York, Arkansas, Chicago, I’m not picky; Official campaign motto: “Bill who?”)

Potential Noteable Candidates Without Exploratory Committees

#9 General Wesley Clark (Official motto: “No, really, I’m probably not maybe going to run.”)

#10 Al “You’ve Got to be Kidding Me” Gore

#11 Al “You’ve Really Got to be Kidding Me” Sharpton

#12 Governor Kathleen Sebelius (Kansas; official motto: “Eisenhower was not a fluke!”)

Those Guys who Are Definitely Not Running (Yeah, Right)

#13 John “Thank God” Kerry, #14 Mark Warner, #15 Russ Feingold, #16 Howard “Yee Haa!” Dean, #17 Tom “I’m not a wiener dog” Daschle, and # 19 Evan Bayh

And Now for the Republicans

#44 Senator Sam Brownback (Kansas: Official motto: “Jesus loves me, and maybe you, too.”)

#45 Representative Duncan Hunter (California: Official motto: “My name says it all.”)

Potential Candidates with Exploratory Committees

#46 Former Governor Jim Gilmore (Virginia; didn’t they execute that guy in Utah in ’76?)

#47 Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (New York; Official motto: “Cashing in on my 15 minutes of fame.”)

#48 Former Governor Mike Huckabee (Arkansas; Official motto: “You elected Clinton, why not me?”)

#49 Senator John McCain (Arizona: Official motto: “No, really, I’m probably going to run.”)

#50 Representative Ron Paul (Pensylvania; Official motto: "Who?")

# 51 Former Governor Mitt Romney (Massachusettes; Official motto: “Who says it’s that hard to spell?”)

#52 Representative Tom Tancredo (Colorado; Officially needs a motto)

#53 Former Governor Tommy Thompson (Wisconsin, also known for cheese)

Potential Candidates Without Exploratory Committees

#54 Former Everything Newt Gingrich (Considering running with Al Sharpton)

#55 Senator Chuck Hagel (Nebraska, it’s not just the home of corn)

#56 Former Governor George Pataki (New York, where no one has a normal name)

Those Guys who Are Definitely Not Running (Only if there is a God)

#20 George Allen, #21 Jeb “Thanks A Lot W” Bush, #22 Dick “Dick” Cheney, #23 Bill “Sounds Like Fist” Frist, #24 Condoleezza “I’m Not A Guy!” Rice, #25 Mark Stanford, and #26 Rick Santorium (not sanitarium)

They’re Running but We Really Don’t Know What Their Party is, Not Like it’s Really Going to Matter Anyway

#27 Michael Charles Smith and #28 Richard Michal Smith (are these the same guy?)

Constitution Party (see the above category)

#29 James Gilchrist (California)

Green Party

#30 Kat Swift (Texas; doesn’t stand a chance, but don’t you love the name?)

#31 Ralph Nader (Who knows; unofficially willing to officially waste our time yet again)

Libertarian Party (not afraid to waste our time yet again)

#32 Steve Kubby (California; sounds like chubby)

#33 George Phillies (Massachusettes; shouldn't he be from Pennsylvania?)

#34 Christine Smith (Colorado; Not related to either Michael or Richard)

#35 Doug Stanhope (Arizona; the only hope he has is in his name)

#36 Robert “Whiney the Pooh” Milnes (New Jersey)

Prohibition (I’m not kidding) Party

#37 Gene Amondson (Washington; I'll drink to that)

And Everybody Else

Actively pursuing or interested in candidacy, though for the life of me I don’t know why

#38 Steve Adams (Kentucky), #39 Bob Hargis (Oklahoma), #40 Daniel Imperato (Florida), #41 David A Koch (Utah), #42 Ken Goldsetein, and #43 Charles T. Maxham (New Jersey)

Don't worry if you can't remember everybody. This is bound to change by the time I hit "Publish Post."