43, but Cleveland gets to be two again so 44.

I don’t know who supplied The Oregonian picked up their page of presidential pics, with a factoid about each one underneath each one, but I have to say…

Maybe the task of finding a single factoid gets a little hazy for all of them?  The factoids are a little uneven in their import.  For instance, under Jefferson, we find “Wrote the Declearation of Independence.”  Skip over to Wilson, and we see “Kept a flock of sheep on the White House lawn.”  And Hayes?  “Held first Easter egg roll on White House Lawn”.  I don’t see the import of that in either the reverential building of the nation seen with Jefferson’s phrase, or the “passing of time” seen with, for istance, Taft noted as “first president to own a car.”

Each president who was assassinated seems trapped in that role — Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy recorded as “first”, “second”, “third”, and “fourth”.  They all seem to deserve better than this, don’t they?

Bush the first is figured as “first vice president elected since Van Buren”, a reason cited in 1987 and 1988 for why the odds were against him becoming president — though that was always a little misleading somehow, though less so than the Clinton line “first Democrat to win re-election since FDR” — true, though Truman and Johnson both were re-elected to full terms while serving president, which always stuck me as having the same “Verdict:  Kee” public show of validition as what’s suggested in the technical meaning of “re-elect”.  At any rate, these seem purely political in their meaning, and I’m left grasping back to something akin to Wilson keeping sheep in their back-yard.

Too bad there was no notable “first” to note about the news president.

Leave a Reply