It is President′s Day 2012, so it is a good time to recall some odd presidential facts, as well as take a look at some recent new ratings of past presidents. While most people are familiar with old wise tales about George Washington and the cherry tree, or Abraham Lincoln and the log cabin, fewer people may know which president was known for swimming nude in the Potomac River? Or who was our heaviest president? Which was known as a book worm for being the speed-reading president? A new Gallup survey finds that Ronald Reagan is the most popular president since the end of World War Two. A new book rates Calvin Coolidge as the best since World War One.
Speaking of Calvin Coolidge, he was known as the president who liked Vaseline rubs. Born on the 4th of July in 1872, Coolidge was the only president to be sworn into office by his father after the sudden death of Warren Harding in 1923. In case you were wondering, John Quincy Adams was known for his naked plunges into the Potomac River. William Howard Taft, who was once stuck in a bathtub, was our heaviest president. Jimmy Carter was a speed reader.
Steven Hayward′s new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents, rates all of the presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Hayward uses a very simple standard for his rating system. ″Does the President take seriously his oath of office to ″preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?″″ For this reason, Hayward grades every Democrat president in the past 100 years, except for Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy with a big fat ′F′ for failure, including Barack Obama! Coolidge gets an A+ whereas Reagan only gets an A-. George W. Bush gets a B+ while his father rates only a flat B, mainly because of the senior′s Supreme Court picks.
Naturally, many people will use President′s Day 2012 to trash their least favorite leaders in history. Trivia like the odd presidential facts help others embrace their favorites like which president was swimming nude in the Potomac River or who was the heaviest president? While it is true that Abraham Lincoln was raised in a log cabin, George Washington did not cut down a cherry tree. We can point to surveys like those by Gallup which show Ronald Reagan being the most popular president since World War Two. Or books like Steven Hayward′s that rate Calvin Coolidge the best since World War One. Like them or not, our presidents are part of our history. To know them is to know ourselves.