Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We're talkin' 'bout Taft -- and Millard Fillmore

Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

Yes, Wedge-heads, today is a heavy, heavy day.

Why’s that, you ask?

Because today marks the 82nd deathiversary of William Howard Taft, our 27th – and, uhh, largest – president. Elected in 1908, “Uncle Jumbo,” as he was known, supervised construction of the Panama Canal and, after he left
the White House, became the tenth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But that’s not why I love him. Oh, no. I love William Howard Taft because he gave us perhaps the wackiest bit of Presidential slapstick in our nation’s slapstick-rich history. You see, one night, so the legend goes, Big Bill – who weighed in at 332 pounds -- was splashing around in the Presidential tub with the Presidential rubber duckie, and when he was done he tried to get out and ... that's right. He couldn't. He got stuck in the White House bathtub. It’s said that it took six men and a gallon of butter to dislodge him. So, in remembrance of our most portly Potus, I’ve written a little ditty in his honor, to the tune of the theme from “Shaft.”

Cue the Isaac Hayes!

Who’s the morbidly obese Head of State
Who won the election of ’08?
Taft! Ya damn right.

Who’s the Presidential rub-a-dub
Who got stuck in the White House tub?
Taft! Can you dig it?

Who’s the fat cat who can’t get out
When there’s water all about?
Taft! Right on.

They say this cat Taft is a fat commander in ---
Shut your mouth!
But I’m talkin’ about Taft
Then we can dig it!
He’s a roly-poly man
But no one extricates him but his plumber
Bill Taft!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “WHAT ABOUT MILLARD?”

Yeah, you got me. Millard Fillmore, our 13th president, also croaked on this date, in 1874.

Perhaps our most irrelevant president, Millard Fillmore is best known (at least by me!) for successfully negotiating a treaty with Peru for the use of -- wait for it -- guano.

So move over, Uncle Jumbo. You’re going to have to share today with Millard Fillmore, the bird poop president. So, for all you Fillmorons out there, this bad Millard Fillmore poem is for you:

You ended up a Know-Nothing,
After starting out a Whig
But about Millard Fillmore
Now no one gives a fig.
Still, your picture hangs in the White House hall
Though you’re Presidential detritus
But you’d never have gotten there at all
If not for Zach Taylor’s gastroenteritis.

When it comes to mediocrity
Millard, you’re number one
You’re less memorable than Franklin Pierce
Who, while Prez, got nothing done
John Tyler and James Buchanan
Bow to your mediocre ways
And when measuring accomplishments
You’re no Rutherford B. Hayes

Compared to you Cal Coolidge was full of pep,
and Grover Cleveland was the bomb
At least Andrew Johnson was a roaring drunk
and Ford got shot at by Squeaky Fromme.
Warren Harding had the teapot dome
and gambled away the White House china
Martin Van Buren had awesome muttonchops
Why, even Benjamin Harrison was finer.

Herbert Hoover was not mediocre, he was bad
And so he cannot challenge you
And if Hoover was the worst president
Then Bush Junior smells like number two
That leaves just one inconsequential gent
To battle you, mano-a-mano,
But even Chester Alan Arthur can’t
Knock you off your pile of guano.