At first, I thought if would be easy fun to blog about America’s last fourteen Presidents. These guys have driven America back and forth across the Conservative-Liberal spectrum, committing numerous injustices and immoralisms along the way. Oh well. I’ve done much Wiki-peeking in an effort to keep things straight. Comments from you the reader would be greatly appreciated. These guys are real lightning rods: we love to love, or, more often, love to hate them. I remember Baine’s granddaddy, after shaking LBJ’s hand at Baine’s first wedding reception, washing his hand off in his water glass.

HERBERT HOOVER (’29 – ’33), on duty when the stock market crashed, was defeated in ’32 because of the continuing depression, along with his strong support of prohibition.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (’33 -’45) is considered the country’s third greatest president (behind Washington and Lincoln). During his first 100 days, in a gigantic swing to the Left, he established the Social Security system, pushed through a major job relief bill, passed a recovery bill for economic growth and reform and regulation of banks. After the First European War, America wanted nothing to do with another one, but, unfortunately, this isolationism just encouraged the Fascist Axis to expand their living space at the expense of their neighbors. After the Germans had taken all of Europe, the Japanese half of China, and the Italians Northern Africa, Americans realized that their oceans wouldn’t protect them any more. First, FDR turned America into the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’, and then led America into the world-wide war against them darned Fascists. Surprisingly, the war did wonders for our economy, and we also beat the Nazis and Russians to developing the Atomic Bomb. Upon FDR’s death, …

HARRY TRUMAN (‘45 – ‘53) ended the war with Japan by dropping a couple A-bombs. He established the Truman Doctrine to control Communism, along with the Marshall Plan to revitalize Europe, founded NATO, and responded militarily when North Korea invaded the South.

DWIGHT D EISENHOWER (‘53 – ‘61) slowed the Korean War way down by threatening to drop the Big One on the North. IKE, however, got caught with his pants down in the Great Russian Space Race, began the Interstate Highway System, and introduced desegregation legislation.

JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY (’61 – ’63) was a young, exciting, fresh, Catholic, who held awesome televised press conferences, stood up to the Russians when they tried to install nuclear missiles in Cuba (the closest we‘ve been to creating a nuclear winter), and promised Americans would get to the moon and back in that decade (and oh, what a decade it was!). JFK’s constant philandering was kept under wraps long after his death, and even Marilyn’s Happy Birthday song wasn’t circulated until the Internet came along.

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON (‘63 – ‘69), veteran of the House and Senate, was a very persuasive politician who was able to get his ‘Great Society’ (an extension of FDR’s New Deal) legislation through Congress easily: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Medicare, Medicaid, and declared “War on Poverty’. Unfortunately, LBJ found himself mired in a disastrous Asian Land War, raising troop levels in Vietnam from 16,000 to 550,000 men. The Vietnam War draft helped split the culture down the middle, stirring up the Turbulent Sixties (58,000 Americans killed [Southern small-town boys over-represented] and a couple million Vietnamese).

RICHARD NIXON (‘69 – ‘74) served a complicated six years: he wound the Vietnam War first up, and then down, founded the EPA, used Ping Pong to establish diplomatic relations with China, leading to the biggest ideological surrender of the Century: a billion Chinese traded their Red Books in for Big Macs. When his dirty tricks squad bungled a break-in at the DNC Watergate offices, potty-mouthed Dick spent years trying to cover it up, ending up being the only President ever forced to surrender the office.

GERALD R FORD (‘74 – ‘77) finished Tricky Dick’s second term.

JIMMY CARTER (‘77 – ‘81), a Georgian peanut farmer, first took grief for carrying his own suit bag off Air Force One, but suffered greatly for being such an ineffective Washington Outsider. Also, events were stacked up against him. The dollar was rapidly inflating, the Arab Oil embargo pushed the price of gas way up, with many shortages, the Iranians took fifty of our Embassy staff hostage, and kept them for 444 days, and then Mt Saint Helens blew its top off! What’s odd is that the day after he left office, the Iranians released the hostages … what’s up with that, Ronnie?

RONALD REAGAN (‘81 – ‘89) Ollie North must have had something to do with it, because, twice later, Ollie clandestinely sold Iranians missiles (defying the arms embargo), and used the profits from the sales to bankroll (in defiance of the Boland Amendment) the Contras, who were fighting against Nicaragua’s socialist President, Daniel Ortega. Ronnie was such a sweet talker, and made it all look so easy. He went to Berlin, stood in front of the Wall, and shouted: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” and the wall came’a tumbling down, along with the whole of the Soviet Union. Being a veteran screen actor, Ronnie came out with the best and worst lines. His best: “The most terrifying nine words in the English language are: We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.” Ronnie did NOT say: “If you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all” but did say: “You know, a tree is a tree; how many more do you need to look at?” To his credit, Ronnie wrote most of his own speeches. During his two terms, Ronnie never mentioned AIDS, which was ravaging the gay community.

GEORGE HW BUSH (’89 – ’93) After high school, George signed on as the youngest pilot in the Navy, and flew 58 combat missions in the South Pacific. He’s one of the guys in the picture on the front of a WWII game box. George continued running the country while the Soviet Union continued to collapse. After Iraq invaded Oil-rich Kuwait, Bush launched a five-day air and ground war against Saddam, driving the Iraqis out of Kuwait. George was criticized during a ’92 debate with Bill Clinton, for looking at his watch.

BILL CLINTON (’93 – ’01) did something that hadn’t been done before and hasn’t since — he ran a budget surplus for the last three years of his presidency. However, because of his fooling around with Monica Lewinsky, he was impeached by the Senate (“It depends upon what the meaning of the word is, is”) and nearly got kicked out of office. Since then, Bill’s been doing real good (best out-of-office President since Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his later work).

GEORGE W. BUSH (‘01 – ‘09) receives a lot of undeserved crap for acting like such an idiot; but I’m obviously prejudiced, because he was in my high school Spanish class and probably gave me my nickname (haven’t had a chance to ask him about that). All these Presidents are decent, above-average guys, undeserving of the vast amounts of criticism they receive. George gave friends nicknames not necessarily to control them, but to be their buddies. Calling Karl Rove Turd Blossom doesn’t sound that friendly on the surface, but obviously they are close. (Something about the rounded pudginess of Karl‘s features makes the nickname a true aroma.) Someone recently said, one of George’s best lines, during the height of the Great Financial Meltdown, was something like: “We’ve got to do something about the Economy!” George was definitely a Caretaker President, letting Karl and Dick run things, while taking care of his Texan Company buddies. But after the first Gulf War, who besides Halliburton could be asked to put out the 700 oil well fires burning in Kuwait, and who, besides the same Halliburton, was in a better position to be awarded all those billions of no-bid contracts for all that Iraqi construction? And how was a guy supposed to haul thousands of bundles of hundred dollar bill bribe money, other than in tractor-trailers? And it does stand to reason that if Saddam used chemical WMDs against his own people ten years ago, he still had some of that stuff lying around in a palace somewhere. But George is feeling better now, out of office, and did a darn good painting of Barney, though he messed up on his tail.

BARACK OBAMA (‘09 – ‘17) led America out of the Great Recession, enacted a comprehensive universal health care plan, allowed for openly Gay soldiers, ended the War in Iraq, directed the death of Osama Bin Laden, supported same-sex marriage, favors the use of drones to selectively target terrorists world-wide, and is winding down the war in Afghanistan.