Yesterday was Presidents Day 2021, so naturally, it’s the perfect time for the next installment of our “The Dumbest Thing Every President Has Done” series. We have a new president since the last time I did one of these, but it’s still too soon to assess what the actual dumbest thing 45 did in office. You’ll have to bear with me a while longer while I ponder the evidence on that one. So let’s begin with our next crop of past presidents’ blunders. This will be our all-star presidents segment.
Abraham Lincoln: One of our two reasons for Presidents Day, (Lincoln and Washington were born one day and many years apart in early February. Aquarius season, y’all.) Honest Abe was a fairly intelligent man, but he certainly had some stupid moments. The most obvious one is hiring George MacLellan to lead the Union’s effort in the Civil War, but it’s kinda hard for me to think of a dumber moment in his presidency than being shot by John Wilkes Booth during the play Our American Cousin. You might think that’s harsh, but if I were to use a modern analogue, imagine if Obama was gunned down by Dave Franco during a screening of The Hangover. Do you get it now?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: FDR changed the presidency and the country immensely, mostly for the good. It would be easy for me to just say, “all the racism,” but I’m not going to let myself off like that. Instead, I present a very specific racist moment; FDR didn’t congratulate Jesse Owens after winning gold at the 1936 Olympics.
Barack Obama: The tan suit? No. The coffee salute? Absolutely not. Barry’s dumbest moment was not using the leverage he had during the financial crisis at the beginning of his first term. Instead of a new “New Deal”, we got a bailout for Wall Street and no lessons learned.
Theodore Roosevelt: There are plenty of ways you can criticize Teddy, but like his nephew, he did a ton to change the landscape of America, in many ways for the better. In one major way, however, he made the country and the world, way worse. Teddy Roosevelt arguably made America way more imperialist than it had ever been before, and if empires are all doomed to fall, he put us in the precarious position we have found ourselves in the post-cold war era. Did we really need to hang on to the Philippines for that long?