Monday, December 11, 2006

The Worst of Presidents or the Blurst of Presidents?

George W. Bush's presidency has caused many to consider him the worst president in American history. But I'd like to shine the spotlight on the eighth president of the U.S., Mr. William Henry Harrison.

You may remember Harrison from a jaunty tune in a Simpsons episode. It was the one where the kids have their Presidents' Day assembly, starring Ralph Wiggum as Washington. There is also a song highlighting some of the presidency's lesser lights....

We are the mediocre presidents!
You won't find our faces on dollars or on cents!
There's Taylor, there's Tyler, there's Fillmore and there's Hayes.
There's William Henry Harrison, ``I died in thirty days!''
We... are... the... adequate, forgettable, occasionally regrettable Caretaker presidents of the U-S-A!

One of the catchiest songs in Simpsons history, imo. Anyway, Harrison did in fact die 30 days after being inaugurated, thus making his presidency by far the shortest in history. Most historical studies that try to rank the presidents don't even include Harrison due to the brevity of his reign -- he gets the dreaded 'NA.'

The story of his death is kind of funny, in a 'he died' kind of way. Harrison died from pneumonia, which he caught while delivering his inaugural address. This 68-year-old, coatless and hatless man delivered a two-hour speech on a cold and rainy day, so it's no surprise that he caught the uber-sniffles. Say what you will about George W. Bush, but at least he waited over a year to almost suffer an ignominious death (choking on a pretzel), and he survived, dammit!

So three cheers for William Henry Harrison, the president who was literally too stupid to know when to come in out of the rain. In fact, you could say that it was almost like not knowing when to leave a foreign country that you invaded for fake reasons.....hmm, ok, well, maybe Bush is the worst president after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WHH does have one amazing (and, by that, I of course mean "kinda lame") distinction: it was the longest inaugural address in history (# of words and delivery time)--allegedly, it was edited for length, too. In your face, Lincoln!