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The most boring US president


Awhile ago, I consulted some scienticians and concluded that Connecticut is the most boring US state. Erik mentioned Chester Arthur the other day, and I wondered, what POTUS is the Connecticut of presidents?

Let’s go to the tape.

The first five are all relative superstars, historically speaking, so they’re not worth discussing.

Martin Van Buren. This guy is an early contender. Can you name one thing about him? Did anything happen while he was president? Anyway, be certainly makes the first cut for me personally.

Harrison and Tyler don’t because Harrison is famous for dying seven minutes after taking the oath of office, and Tyler is famous, sort of, for succeeding him, Also “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” is a memorable slogan and a They Might Be Giants song.

James Polk did some stuff, and Zachary Taylor was a famousish general, plus his last words were truly memorable (“The nourishment is palatable.”). So they’re out.

Millard Fillmore. Could be a contender but the paradox here is that he’s sort of famous for being boring, which knocks him out I think.

Franklin Pierce. OK, very boring. But . . . he was genuinely incompetent in a way that helped ensure the Civil War would happen, plus he was a New England aristocrat so there’s some stuff named after him, including a law school, plus I think he’s George Bush’s great-something or the other, so I don’t think he makes the cut.

Buchanan. Nope. Anybody who can make a real run at Donald Trump for worst president is not boring.

Lincoln, Johnson, Grant . . . we don’t need to discuss these men.

Rutherford B. Hayes. Now we’re getting to some real contenders. Rutherford B. Hayes just SOUNDS incredibly boring. Plus what did he do again?

Garfield. If you’re assassinated by an anarchist you’re automatically interesting.

Chester A. Arthur. OK I’m putting my cards on the table. For me, this guy is the winner. Why? Because when Erik mentioned him in that post that made you so mad I suddenly realized a couple of things: If somebody had asked me in an unrelated context who Chester A. Arthur was, I think it might have taken me several seconds to remember that he was a president of the United States. Plus, unlike everybody else on this list, I could not tell you a SINGLE THING other than that about him. He’s a complete blank to me. He achieves Total Boredom as a historical figure for me. Your mileage may vary, hence this post.

Grover Cleveland. When the Curtiss Candy Company decided to rip off Babe Ruth by creating the Baby Ruth bar and not paying him anything for the naming rights, some lawyer came up with a story that it was really named after Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth. Fifty years later. Obviously somebody who has been both the 22nd and the 24th president is not boring. Also, “Ma, ma, where’s my paw? Gone to the White House ha ha ha.” Oh they had humor in those days, before Political Correctness ruined everything.

Benjamin Harrison. Really boring but he used to be on the $5 bill which knocks him out of contention probably. It’s a high bar. It does seem that no US president between Grant and Teddy Roosevelt did much of anything worth remembering though, except be a Gilded Age Republican and take bribes from robber barons.

McKinley. Assassination knocks you out of contention.

Teddy. No comment necessary

Taft. Famous for being really fat and also ending up on the SCOTUS after his term was over.

Wilson. Famous.

Harding. Really really boring. But died in office, plus Teapot Dome, which is what all scandals were compared to before Watergate. Did they call them ___dome, like we apparently can never stop doing with ___gate? It’s been 50 years now, OK boomer?

Calvin Coolidge. I believe it was Dorothy Parker who, when informed of Cal’s death, remarked “how can they tell?” So yeah, a real contender.

From Hoover on everybody is fairly interesting for various reasons, although I think objectively speaking Ford is super boring. The pardon thing probably disqualifies him though.

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