Something to think about on Presidents' Day: Next year at this time, we will be adding a new name to that list of forty-something who have served before. It's not a simple popularity contest, certainly. Becoming the Leader of the Free World carries a certain weight, some gravitas. Like the kind you get from leading the free world. So how should we pick? Certainly we would like to think about how, moving forward, these gentlemen or ladies might fare at selling mattresses in a week-long sale that will blow the doors of the competition. After four to eight years leading the free world, you need something to fall back on: mattresses.
How to pick, then? Former senators, sitting governors, brain surgeons and billionaire megalomaniacs. So many choices. So little time. Why not by the number of syllables in the candidate's last name? Our first president had three. Washington was good enough to be father of our country as well as both a state and a District of Columbia. It may have been the powdered wig. It could have been the wooden teeth, but I think that those three syllables may have set a trend. From Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama, there have been twelve presidents with this distinction. Two of them were Roosevelts, but that seems to reaffirm my theory.
If you really want to be a Free World Leader? Two-syllables is your way to go. Twenty-two of those bad boys. I can say that without any current hesitation, since they have all been boys. And I'm using "bad" in that hip, kind of urban slang way. Like Michael Jackson, who was never President of the United States, but he was bad. Abraham Lincoln was also pretty bad in his own right. He kind of leads the way in both mattress sales and currency, right behind George.
And speaking of Georges, there are eight previous commanders in chief that have just the one syllable for a last name. Two of them were of the Bush clan. Ulysses S. Grant gets extra points for his initials, which is why he shows up on the fifty. Taft and Polk have something to do with tariffs and Ford will always be remembered for that first season of Saturday Night Live. Pierce and Hayes? I think they had a TV show made about them on ABC back in the eighties.
Who's messing up the curve for everyone else? Dwight David Eisenhower. Which I suppose makes it a double shame that we won't have Carly Fiorina to kick around anymore.