"CNN projects that Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States of America". Those words spoken by Wolfe Blitzer in the early morning hours of Wednesday November 9th shocked nearly everyone in the world. Many people wondered how we could elect a Twitter bully to the most prestigious and important office in the world.
Most people would call this disgusting bullying, our next President calls it Tuesday. (credit: twitter.com)
Many people referred to this as the nastiest presidential election of all time, and in the days since the election a lot of those same people have said that we have never had a President quite like Mr. Trump. Those people would be wrong, about both things. A quick perusal of American Presidential history will show you that absolutely nothing that happened here is new or even all that outrageous in comparison. Elections back in the day were nastier than the comments on a YouTube video about science and religion co-existing. We have had VP's slander their boss in office because they were about to be opponents. Lies were far easier to spread because fact checking was next to impossible. The elections aren't even the half of it, we've had mass murders in the White House, one President shot as many as 135 men in duels. We had a President spend almost all his time in office addicted to speed. We have had drunken parties of 20,000 people rampaging in the White House and Presidents brag non-stop about the size of their genitals. We won't even have time to get to Andrew Jackson's two ton wheel of cheese. Come with me and you'll see how there's nothing new about the 2016 election and the cartoon character we just chose to run the country.
They even got the font right! (credit: 20th Century Fox/ AP)
Let's begin our Journey with the absolute insanity we call the American Presidential election. In the past year we saw Donald Trump come up with nick-names for his opponents, Lying Ted Cruz and Crooked Hillary Clinton. He made fun of Marco Rubio's height and often referred to Ben Carson as "too low energy to be president"
If that face doesn't scream enthusiasm than I don't know what does (credit: ABC news)
Nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing, said this year can come close to the mud slinging of days gone by. In a Merriam-Webster profile they cite that Abe Lincoln's opponents called him "a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper, and the nightman." In 1864, a list was published of all of the insults that were printed about our "Honest Abe": “Filthy story-teller, Ignoramus Abe, Despot, Old scoundrel, big secessionist, perjurer, liar, robber, thief, swindler, braggart, tyrant, buffoon, fiend, usurper, butcher, monster, land-pirate, a long, lean, lank, lantern-jawed, high-cheeked-boned, spavined, rail-splitting stallion.” Trump's "nasty woman" is starting to sound more tame already.
Nutmeg dealers are, in fact, the root of all evil. (photo: McCormick.com)
Even the things said about President Lincoln pale in comparison to only the 4th presidential election. The election between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was arguably the most bitter in all of history and it was between two men who were once very close friends. Stranger still is at the time Jefferson was Adams Vice President. Jefferson spent a considerable amount of time insulting and going behind the back of the only man in the country with more power than him. Just listen to the sound clip below, it's a quote from James Callender, an influential journalist of the day and suspiciously on Jeffersons's payroll. Many historians attribute this quote to be from Jefferson himself.
"(Addams) Posseses a hideous hermaphroditical character"
You heard that correctly, that's the third President of our United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest political statements of all time, telling the American people that their current leader has both men's and women's genitalia. The actual article according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation read "Ye will judge without regard to the prattle of a president, the prattle of that strange compound of ignorance and ferocity, of deceit and weakness; without regard to that hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." It doesn't get much uglier than that!
But Gosh-darnit if the Donald didn't try. (credit: Business insider)
While that doesn't even begin to cover the horrible elections of the past, it's time we moved on to the men we decided on in those elections. Men like former general, actual mad man, and party animal Andrew Jackson, whose atrocities are well known and for the sake of keeping it light we'll gloss over them by saying that America would be much better off had he never existed. Andrew Jackson was a known party animal, he began the tradition of hosting an inaugural open house after he was sworn in. The party began as a gathering of politicians and notable celebrities of the day but, according to History.com "the crowd swelled to more than 20,000, turning the usually dignified White House into a boisterous mob scene."After the guests literally trashed the executive mansion the real chore was getting them to leave "to draw party-goers out of the building, servants set up washtubs full of juice and whiskey on the White House lawn." The Phrase "bathtubs full of whiskey", if you were unaware, is the least dignified thing to have ever been uttered in reference to a white house event (even the Clinton white house).
"Bathtubs full of juice and Whisky"
Now Jackson may have been such a great party thrower because of his backstory, he was a revolutionary war prisoner at the age of 14 and he never had more than a year or two of schooling. Now we know that worthless education plus a POW at 14 level of emotional baggage equals "bathtubs full of whiskey", let that be a warning to you all. Sometime between Jackson's' time at the worst summer camp ever and his hedonistic inaugural ball he earned his nickname "old hickory". This is a matter of historical debate and may or may not be because of his hickory cane he was known for beating people with. While he was President an attempt was made on his life; the account according to History.com "Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter, approached Jackson as he left a congressional funeral held in the House chamber of the Capitol building and shot at him, but his gun misfired. A furious 67-year-old Jackson confronted his attacker, clubbing Lawrence several times with his walking cane. During the scuffle, Lawrence managed to pull out a second loaded pistol and pulled the trigger, but it also misfired." Now I don't have any historians to back me up on this but I think the bullets were just afraid of the man, seeing as there was a 1-125,000 chance of both guns misfiring. He, however proved on many occasions that he was not afraid of any bullets being hurled his way. Our 7th president loved dueling, he often actively sought out duels. The subject is widely debated yet we know that he was in anywhere between 13 and 135 duels, winning every single one of them. You'll note that 135 people is about 135 too many people for a United states President to have shot (outside of wartime). Most of the duels were a matter of his wife's honor and while all of them were in fact legal that doesn't make them any less insane. He killed one man in a duel but only after that man shot Jackson square in the chest, inches from his heart. Jackson would die with two bullets buried in his body having never bothered to remove them.
The other Presidents never even shot anyone on accident.
Andrew Jackson was not only a violence loving party animal, he was an eclectic type of insane. The Flat Earth Society even claims him as one of their own, citing that he halted expeditions to far off lands for fear of them falling off the edge of the planet. I'm spending quite a bit of time on Andrew Jackson but that's only because he nearly out-crazies nearly everyone by a mile. When asked if he had any regrets as president he said "(that) I didn’t shoot Henry Clay and I didn’t hang John C. Calhoun.” In case you didn't know John C. Calhoun was Jackson's Vice President. Jackson's two regrets was not having killed just two more people. The man was even hostile to correct spelling saying “It’s a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.” Trump in all of his charm could never get away misspelling, the haters and losers simply wouldn't have it. [quotes from mental floss]
This is John C Calhoun and in Jackson's defense he probably thought Calhoun was a zombie. (photo: cracked.com)
While he wasn't quite the rage monster/flat earther that Andrew Jackson was, our 6th president and old hickory's predecessor was quite the basket of crazy in his own right. JQA wasn't even elected and the electoral college had no majority, so the vote went to congress and he was chosen over our dear friend Andrew Jackson. Jackson then campaigned the rest of his days to abolish the electoral college as he did win the popular vote (sound familiar?). Adams soon made congress regret that decision at every turn. He proved to be almost nothing like his learned father and approved federal money for something that sounds a bit like the plot of a science fiction novel, because it is. According to Smithsonian Magazine "John Cleves Symmes, Jr., an American army officer, was traveling around the country on the lecture circuit proclaiming his theory of a Hollow Earth, one that envisioned the planet as several solid concentric spheres, according to a circular he published. Symmes was asking for "one hundred brave companions, well equipped, to start from Siberia in the fall season, with Reindeer and slays, on the ice of the frozen sea…" with plans to slip between those concentric spheres, which he believed were open at the poles '12 or 16 degrees.'" This idea was voted down unanimously by the House of Representatives and then immediately approved by the madman at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The President of the United States of America wanted to drill and find the mole people in the tiny earth that lives inside the big earth, but hey, at least he didn't think it's flat. Fortunately the plans fell through before any money was spent, but this is just another example of the kind of crazy we have had as the most powerful man in the free world. Adams also kept an actual alligator in the east room of the white house, although Herbert Hoover kept two there for awhile.
Makes you wonder if there are several smaller heads layered underneath that gigantic dome of his (photo:uspresidentialhistory.com)
Let's fast forward a bit to modern times with your pal and mine, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was a wildly popular president who did some wildly controversial things, some of which were relatively harmless, others nearly crippled the whole western world. Stories of his affairs are well known, sleeping with at least 13 different women during his presidency, none of whom he was married to. Somewhat lesser known are the stories surrounding his afflictions and more specifically their treatment. Kennedy suffered from Addison's disease, and according to a profile from New York Magazine the disease was fatal until cortisone was discovered as a treatment right around the time Kennedy received his diagnosis in 1947. He was also known to have the occasional venereal disease (see 13 affairs above). On top of all that "He suffered from terrible, recurring back pain, had a herniated disc removed in 1944, and underwent risky spinal-fusion surgery in 1957. He was prone to infection; just one example, in June 1961, amid a showdown with the Soviet Union over Berlin, Kennedy suffered a fever that hit 105 degrees and required cold sponge baths to cool down." All that, and we were worried Hillary might not be in her best health. To treat all of the pain his conditions brought him he was given a personal doctor named Max Jacobson. Max, to his clients, was known as "Doctor Feelgood" because of his signature cocktail of steroids and painkillers. His signature however was his amphetamine injections. He would teach patients to inject themselves and even prescribe them their own needles. JFK began these feelgood treatments just before his first debate with Richard Nixon. Kennedy became very good friends with Max and even brought him along on international trips. Kennedy's meeting with Nikita Khrushchev was a national embarrassment and ended up being very good for the Soviets, this is largely believed to be because of the irregularly large dose of amphetamines Jacobson gave Kennedy that morning. Kennedy quickly became dependent on these shots of speed to even function, and after being warned that the shots were no good for him he said "I don't care if it's horse piss it's the only thing that works" Kennedy's presidency was marked by aggressive decisions and an at times foolish approach to dealing with Cuba. He was ambitious and a fervent speaker. Aggression and foolhardiness are common with a speed addiction. Another world leader made his name with the help of an amphetamine habit, Adolf Hitler. Ironically Kennedy had been weaned off the feelgood shots and started exercising his back to strengthen it rather than just medicate it, and was likely in his best health the day he was assassinated.
Not even his chiseled jaw could save him then. (photo: inside government)
What followed Kennedy's death was a nightmare far worse than a womanizing drug addict, a Texan named Lyndon Baines Johnson. For the sake of this article we'll again ignore his more well known negative impact on American politics. We're going to show you a side of LBJ you'll wish you'd never seen and show you the level of creepy that has sat behind the resolute desk. Johnson lacked the suaveness that his predecessor possessed although, according to a Mental Floss profile on the man, he may have had even more affairs. He often kept score saying of Kennedy's conquests "I've had more women on accident than he's ever had on purpose". He even had a buzzer for the Secret Service to press to warn him when his wife was coming. That's hardly even the most disgusting thing about him, he once urinated on a Secret Serviceman protecting him saying "that's right son it's my prerogative." The leader of the free world and founder of NPR and PBS peed on a man sworn to protect him just because he could. In the profile it's written "His favorite power ploy seemed to be dragging people into the bathroom with him—forcing them to continue their conversations with the president as he used the toilet." The staffers he brought into the bathroom weren't always men either, on many occasions he made women dictate his words whilst he moved his presidential bowels. There are dozens of stories of LBJ showing off his penis, which he nicknamed Jumbo, to anyone dumb enough to look down. One unconfirmed story has him even showing off to a room full of reporters in an attempt to intimidate them. The same man who started medicare and the Vietnam war was also a penis wagging crazy person who made people watch him defecate. I can't even include his most insane quotes but I can recommend that you Google "creepy LBJ" and just let yourself be both horrified and entertained for hours.
Ladies and Gents the most uncomfortable man of all time (photo: daily beast)
Other leaders with some seriously moronic scandals and cover-ups include, FDR's polio, Nixon's Watergate tapes, Reagan's Iran Contra deal and, Clinton's affairs and the lies surrounding them. All of that to say, we will be okay. Most of these stories are humorous and quite innocuous now but in there time many of them, had they been known, would have outraged the American people and caused a frenzy. In their day some of these things had the potential to wreck the nation, and in Kennedy's case, the entire free world as we know it. We have today the most powerful research and journalism tool in the history of the world. The internet has changed everything including what we know about the most prominent people in our society. Donald Trump is no different than these men, although some would have you believe he is worse. Many people are afraid of him and he is still 6 weeks away from office at the time of this writing. America is a resilient nation, our constitution is the oldest still in use. One man can only do so much harm in 4 short years and if we hold him accountable then no real harm can come. 2016 is not the worst year ever nor will Donald Trump be the worst president ever. He is not a monster nor were any of these men, short of maybe Andrew Jackson. We have gotten through dozens of time in the past just as we will in the future. It is in the nature of mankind to be at odds with its' leaders, that's not new nor is anything else about politics in 2016.