The Quill

The Student News Site of BASIS Independent Silicon Valley

The Quill

The Quill

How to Memorize the Presidents in 46 Simple Steps Part 3

This is the third and final installment of this extremely dumb series. If you haven’t had the chance to read the first two, you don’t have to in order to understand this one. But for reference, here they are.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Step 31: Herbert Hoover: This guy’s presidency is literally the embodiment of a trainwreck. His campaign promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Then, the Great Depression happened, and 13 million Americans lost their jobs. He also supported Prohibition, which most Americans hated (ask your drunk uncle…). In fact, his first opponent, Al Smith, ran on a campaign of “make your wet dreams come true.” (…what that means)

Step 32: Franklin Delano Roosevelt: 1932 wasn’t his first time running in a national campaign. He ran as James Cox’s running mate in the election of 1920. (Remember that one, with the dumbest candidate names ever? If you don’t remember, refer back to the previous part). He dominated American politics, to the point where in 1944, (running for his fourth term!) Americans were like: “He only won by 333 electoral votes? He must be getting old and unpopular!” FDR did end up passing away less than a year later, so the critics might have gotten that first part right.

Step 33: Harry Truman: In 1948, everyone thought that there was no way this guy was gonna get re-elected over New York governor Thomas Dewey, so the Chicago Tribune decided to put out this headline. 

Source of Image: Flickr: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN! 

To see how that turned out, try searching up the Dewey administration.

Step 34: Dwight Eisenhower: In 1953, Eisenhower backed a successful military coup in Iran. In 1954, Eisenhower backed a military overthrow of Guatemala’s democracy. Then, as he was leaving office in 1961, he warned in his farewell address of a dire threat: the “military industrial complex,” a state where the military becomes more powerful than the democratic government. So now, we all remember him as the guy who strongly, unequivocally, and sincerely wanted to protect democracy across the world from authoritarianism and (*cough*) military dictatorships. 

Step 35: Richard Nixon: If only he had put on makeup correctly…

Okay, for real though.

Step 35: John F. Kennedy: Kennedy and his family has one of the most depressing, and apparently most cursed (in a literal, not in a Gen Z language sense) life in history. First was the Curse of Tecumseh (refer to Christopher Xu’s fascinating article on this topic), which basically cursed every president who was elected in a year ending in zero to die in office. Then, it was the Chappaquiddick Incident, occurring five years after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, which apparently kicked off when his brother, Ted, drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island and killed the passenger behind him. A few months later, his other brother, Bobby, was assassinated as well. Ted survived until the Obama administration, though, and never lost his Senate seat, so that’s kind of a happy ending (if you ignore Bobby Kennedy Jr.).

Step 36: Lyndon Johnson: Johnson liked using this pressure tactic where he would lean over the person he was trying to intimidate (height isn’t just useful for sports!).

Image from: Flickr 

My guess is his deodorant was more terrifying than he himself was. He was a Southern Democrat who opposed giving civil rights to African Americans. But as president, he signed the Civil Rights Act, making him popular enough to win re-election by a landslide. So for all the 9th graders out there who will eventually read inspirational quotes from President Johnson in AP Gov this year, just remember that he didn’t mean a word of it.

Step 37: Richard Nixon: I’m sure most of you know a lot about Nixon already, so I’m going to discuss him from a Chinese person’s perspective: Nixon was 20th-century America’s best president! My father was born in the midst of his monumental visit to China! Nixon and Kissinger are heroes and visionaries! Even Xi Jinping felt the need to pay his respects to Henry Kissinger immediately after he died! And this is a man who took three weeks to congratulate Biden for his victory! So next time you dare insult either of these great men, know that 1.4 billion Chinese people are staring down your backs.

Step 38: Gerald Ford: If you thought Trump’s election to the presidency was improbable, look back at this guy! He was made vice president because his predecessor, Spiro Agnew resigned due to corruption charges. Then, he became president (I wonder how?). In 1975, a lady by the name of Lynette Fromme tried to convince the San Francisco city government to fight the collapse of California Redwood Trees. When that failed, she thought the logical next step was to…point a gun at President Ford. Obviously, that didn’t end well, for the assassin or the trees.  

Step 39: Jimmy Carter: His real name isn’t actually Jimmy, but he chose to use it anyway at his inauguration. I personally don’t think that name conveys much authority. Imagine America trying to punish a country for bad behavior being like, “Jimmy will come after you for this!” Even Grenada would be like: “Ooooo, I’m definitely so scared.” (And half of you probably don’t even know where that is). But in all seriousness, Carter’s real name is ‘James Earl,’ which sounds like Darth Vader or the guy who shot MLK. So, on second thought, I guess ‘Jimmy’ is better. 

Sep 40: Ronald Reagan: It would be inappropriate for me to make a joke about Reagan since he had so many of his own great ones. So here’s some I pulled from a video on the internet. 

Reagan to his wife after getting shot: “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Reagan in his 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale, after being asked whether he was too old to be president: “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

That last one was so harsh, his opponent Walter Mondale reportedly cried behind his laughter because he knew he had just lost the election.

He also named his Space Defense Initiative “Star Wars.” You may not agree with this man’s policies, but he had a great sense of humor.

Step 41: George H.W. Bush: He grew up really rich, so he had a difficult time sympathizing with normal people. Here are two examples, pulled directly from Mr. Hansen himself. 

One time, on the campaign trail, Bush once went to a grocery store to pretend he was a common man.  But he was like “Ooooo, conveyor belt, this must be the newest technology!” His campaign staff literally started panicking, and everyone around was like “when was the last time you went to a supermarket?”

Another time, when Bush was delivering a speech, his advisors wrote “Message, I care” below his script in order to remind him to sound sympathetic to voters. But he didn’t realize and accidentally read that message out loud. Clearly, he didn’t care too much.

Step 42: Bill Clinton: China also really loves this guy, even after his little incident where he…lied under oath. (I have no intention of bringing my dumb joke count to 4) But to be honest, he’s probably the least controversial American politician China’s government actually liked. The only point that George H.W. Bush had over him when they ran against each other in 1992 is the fact that he dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, while Bush served as a pilot in WWII at the age of 17. The great neoconservative Pat Buchanan made sure to emphasize this point in his ‘Culture War’ Speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, along with gay hippies and crossdressers in Madison Square Garden. 

The presidents series ends here. For reference, the presidents I didn’t mention are…

  1. Al Gore
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Bernie Sanders

And our sitting president…

  1. Jeb Bush

As I was born under the presidency of Mr. 43, I recognize that many of his and later presidents’ policies are still up for general political debate. Thus, I feel uncomfortable joking about them, as it may touch upon sensitive political topics. I apologize to the few of you who enjoyed the series that I cut it early, and I also sincerely thank all of the people who absolutely hated this series but made it here, to the end, anyway. Thank you all, and expect more dumb, badly written history content in the future!

Bonus! Find these people in the text using only their picture!

Hint: none of them are presidents! (Note for Brady: Please try to input these pictures in, though they are not crucial for the article)

Image from:                                       

Image from:

Image from:                                                 

Image from: Flickr

Image from: Basis Independent Silicon Valley Website


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *