Let me tell you how they used to do things back in the day. When our country first started electing presidents in 1789, candidates didn’t pick vice-presidential running mates and hit the ticket together. The vice president was the guy who got the second-most Electoral College votes in the presidential race.
For example, even though George Washington won his first two elections uncontested (he was basically the country’s biggest celebrity at the time because of his Revolutionary War feats), John Adams became his vice president because he had the second most Electoral College votes both times.
By the third election in 1796, when Federalist Adams won the election by a slight margin over Democratic-Republican Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson became the vice president even though he was of the opposing political party. Even Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, brought aboard Democrat Andrew Johnson for his second term, and Abe’s like the greatest president in the history of the world.
Eventually, however, party systems became more defined, philosophies between the two continued to widen, and American citizens started aligning themselves with these parties a little more passionately.
Enter 2008, where we’re all fighting over which presidential candidate is the one to lead us out of the crapstorm our country has become. For what I feel are very obvious reasons as a middle-class educator, I’m leaning heavily towards Obama, but I’ve got nothing against John McCain. I liked him in 2000 when he lost to Bush in the Republican primaries. I get that he brings a lot of experience to the table. That’s a good thing, I’ll admit it. Why not go ahead and say it—I like both candidates on some level.
It’s Sarah Palin who scares the hell out of me. She’s aloof and naïve (and believes dinosaurs roamed the earth 4,000 years ago, even though Science proves otherwise), and considering McCain could keel over any minute, I can’t imagine her as the Chief of Staff of our military. She’s no good as a potential president, and honestly neither is whitebread oldschool senator Joe Biden, who for some reason really reminds me of that creepy vice president from “24” who was always plotting against Jack Bauer.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Why not bring it back to the oldschool and stick the loser with the winner to form our president/vice president combo in ’08? Wouldn’t you think the nation could stomach Obama a lot more easily if McCain was his vice president? Same thing for the vice versa; wouldn’t Obama help keep McCain honest while the new Republican president did all he could to close out the war in Iraq, which clearly is McCain’s primary focus?
Most importantly, if some redneck yokel knocks off Obama, or if McCain keels over during a high-stress round of BINGO at the local Methodist church hall, we’ve got a competent guy to back things up. Not… (Gulp!)… Sarah Palin, smiling and winking at the helm of our great country.
You’re welcome to call me a moron for voting for Obama, and you can argue McCain’s case all you want. I’m used to it (oddly, most of my friends are voting Republican). It’s not going to change my mind. But how can you tell me that this idea isn’t a great solution to the issue of a split country? Why have a bipartisan system of government if both parties aren’t represented prominently in the executive branch? If it worked for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, then dammit, it can work for these guys, too.
I leave you today with some outstanding facts about presidents past. I promise you’re going to love this stuff. Some of these blew my mind. Make sure you all get out there and vote on Tuesday!
- There were more Episcopalian presidents than any other religion.
- Abraham Lincoln had no religious affiliation.
- Four of our presidents never actually ran for president (John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur)
- Gerald Ford was the only president to have run for president, but never actually get elected to the office.
- George Washington won his two terms as president unopposed. The only other president to win an election unopposed was James Monroe’s second term.
- Three pairs of presidents defeated each other over the course of their presidential careers: John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson in 1824, but then Jackson beat Adams in 1828. Martin Van Buren defeated William Henry Harrison in 1836, then Harrison defeated Van Buren in 1840. Finally, Benjamin Harrison defeated Grover Cleveland in 1888, then Harrison defeated Cleveland in 1892.
- Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve as president in two non-consecutive terms.
- Washington is the only president to have ever received 100% of the Electoral College votes.
- James Madison was the half first cousin twice removed of George Washington.
- Zachary Taylor was the second cousin of James Madison.
- Theodore Roosevelt was more closely related to Martin Van Buren than he was to Franklin Roosevelt. (Teddy was a third cousin twice removed to Van Buren and a fifth cousin to FDR).
- The Bush clan is distantly related to Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, and Gerald Ford.
- Five presidents allegedly have some mix of Caucasian and African blood. According to the U.S. law of their time, that would make them African-American. It’s hard to prove this, but if it’s true, the following are our five black presidents: Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding, and Dwight Eisenhower.
James Buchanan was the only bachelor president.
- Three presidents had children out of wedlock: Thomas Jefferson (famously with one of his slaves), Grover Cleveland, and Warren Harding.
- Only three presidents never had any children: James Madison, James Polk, and James Buchanan. Remind me not to name my son James. Apparently that leads to infertility and/or loneliness.
- Ronald Regan was the only president to get a divorce.
- John Quincy Adams was the only president who did not belong to any political party.
- Two presidents were accused of killing men outside of war; Andrew Jackson was a big duel guy, and George Washington was accused of murdering a French ambassador during peace time.
- The following presidents all owned slaves at some point in their lives: George Washington,
- Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, Zachary Taylor.
- Only ten of our 42 president had facial hair. Make that 43 after this next election, because neither Obama nor McCain has any facial hair (unless you count McCain’s crusty old man fuzz underneath his 72-year-old chin).