Today is Presidents Day and like the rest of the nation, I will be spending it fruitlessly waiting for the mail, equally fruitlessly attempting to enter the bank, then probably buying a Honda and finally some crap at Old Navy. During these sorties, I, like most of the nation, will be contemplating the 43 co-honorees of this national holiday, That’s 33 minutes and 29.4 seconds per President were it to be distributed evenly, and it is most certainly not divvied so.
If you go by birthplace, 21 states have sent a guy. If you choose to go by state of primary affiliation, that number drops to 18. Being born in the Carolinas doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Also, Bush women (hehe) tend to go into labor in the New England climes but a Texas address on one’s CV better appeals to the base. No matter, however you slice this oval pie, only one man calls Pennsylvania his home commonwealth. Yes, despite the ardent and serial attempts by Senators Spector and Santorum, James Buchanan remains the only President ever produced by Pennsylvania.
Was James Buchanan the worst president ever? Probably. Meet us after the jump to hear Adam explain why.
Just because he was the onlyest, doesn’t mean he didn’t make his mark. Though he served but one measly term, he still manages to make it to the top of a few lists. For instance He is often first and almost always on the podium whenever anyone compiles a Worst. Presidents. Ever. slideshow, consistently edging out the likes of William Henry, “fuck it, I’m too cool to wear a coat or hat for my two hour inaugural address, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Harrison, Warren “Gee, it’s been three days without an administration shattering, scandal of corruption, that’s the new record.” Harding, and Even George W. “Don’t tell nobody, but I’m pretty sure, we irreparably broke the United States and everything for which it stands but you elect a C student you get a C president” Bush. In fact, Jimmy B. was such shitty prez, he was the last Democrat elected to the office for 28 years. Oh, yeah, and also he did nothing special to preserve the union and such.
Buchanan, like Franklin “Flock of Seagulls Hair” Pierce before him was a northern Democrat who didn’t have too much of a problem with slavery. In fact, in his inaugural he specifically said it was really a matter for the states, and as the President of the United States, it was really none of his business. In fact, he was the chief author of the Ostend Manifesto which recommended the annexation of Cuba by “purchase or under certain conditions by force”. Future baseball implications aside, Cuba was a slaveholding island so that would be another slave state. He also recommended Kansas be admitted as a slave state, even after he saw that President Pierce’s hands off, “you guys settle this amongst yourselves” policy had created the Kansas-Nebraska war. He also urged northern states to chillax their fugitive slave laws, so southerners could come and get their property. Remember it was 1857, during his presidency when Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote the decision informing Dred Scott that he was pwned. (good times)
So yeah, not an awesome Commander in Chief. But he also resides atop other lists. James Buchanan was, it is pretty certain, America’s most fabulous president. The only “lifelong bachelor” to ever sleep in the big house, JB was never much for a-courtin’ When his only serious girlfriend Ann Caroline Coleman died of what her doctor called “death by hysteria” (mostly likely an overdose of laudanum) He found it convenient to claim he was so busted up that “I may sustain the shock of her death, but I feel that happiness has fled from me forever…Marry I could not, for my affections were buried in the grave.” So that solved that problem.
For 15 years while in DC, Jimmy lived with his boo, Alabama Sen. William Rufus King, which is what I should’ve named my dog. Some dismiss their co-habitation, which included sharing a bed as, just what dudes did back then, but harder to repudiate is this excerpt from a letter to a Mrs. Roosevelt in 1844 after King had left for France. Yeah you heard me, France. Buchanan wrote:
I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”
So, yeah, pretty gay. Which is awesome. Buchanan failed as president, and Some Republican Marfanic Railsplitter had to come clean up his, mess, preserve the union, make it onto a mountain in South Dakota and top off most of the lists of best Presidents. And he couldn’t have done it without James Buchanan; the worst president ever, but the best Pennsylvania has ever produced.
In honor of this great gay American, I humbly submit that the US treasury should begin to print up some $3 bills with you-know-who’s countenance.
– Adam Brodsky
Adam Brodsky, is, in no particular order, a World Record Holding Folksinger, Writer, Baseball fan, and Beer League First Baseman who hits for average. His Novel will be out when he fucking finishes it, so get off his back! You can follow him @adambrodsky