We're pretty sure that 99 percent of a politician's success lies in his or her ability to hide his or her true personality from the public. We all have personal failures and weaknesses, but a president will work so hard at crafting a specific public persona that we're shocked every time one gets caught getting blown by an intern.
With that in mind, here are some of the stranger facts about American presidents that almost never get mentioned in history class.
Lyndon Johnson took over as president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and today most people know him as the president who made Vietnam happen (he being the one who really escalated the conflict). He wasn't terribly popular and had his share of scandals.
That drink in his hand is pretty much straight Everclear.
But at the time, he did have a reputation for getting things done. When he wanted something passed, he'd badger the shit out of everybody to get it, so much so that people came to call his relentless lobbying "the Johnson Treatment." We bring that up because after reading this, you're going to picture something else entirely anytime someone threatens you with "the Johnson Treatment." Something much worse.But you didn't know ...
Johnson was a sexual beast, and also fond of (literally) waving his dick around.
"Ford's economics are the worst thing that's happened to this country since pantyhose ruined finger-fucking."
While other unfaithful presidents were satisfied with little affairs here and there, Johnson's bevy of babes was referred to by his male aides as a harem (he was said to be jealous of Kennedy's womanizing ways and wanted to top him). Johnson would make passes at secretaries, and it was known that any who accepted would be promoted to private secretary, two words that in this context should probably have air quotes around them anytime they are uttered. By the time he was done, virtually all of his secretaries, plus his two mistresses, got the Johnson Treatment.
He then tasked the Secret Service with keeping his philandering from his wife, but it obviously did not do a good job at that. His wife had full knowledge of everything and sometimes even supported it. At parties, he would make obvious passes at girls right in front of his wife. One of the girls who stayed over at his place got awakened in the middle of the night by Johnson holding a flashlight and saying, "Move over. This is your president."
Which goes down in history as the second-greatest pickup line ever, losing just barely to, "Hello, I'm an astronaut."
As for waving around his cock (a little extension of him that he had affectionately nicknamed "Jumbo"), he was said to piss in public whenever he felt like it, and if anyone dared confront him, he would whip his dick around and challenge the poor sap with, "Have you seen anything bigger than this?"
No wonder his wife was cool with it.
She wasn't down with the mullet, though.
Ulysses S. Grant was the epitome of American badassery, a hard-drinking bastard who before taking office had been responsible for over half of the Union victories in the Civil War. Less well known is that before that, Grant also demonstrated extreme heavy ballness in the Mexican-American War when he voluntarily rode his horse down a sniper-filled street just for the hell of it. Then he calmly smoked cigars while everyone was scared shitless and being bombarded by artillery shells.
That plume of smoke in the middle is Grant.
But you didn't know ...
Ulysses S. Grant was a big softie.
For one thing, despite all his military excellence and awesome battlefield experience, he freaked out at the sight of blood -- even rare steaks would creep him out.
On the left, something that freaked U.S. Grant the fuck out. On the right, his day job.
He was so shy that he wouldn't change or shower in front of his men. And if you're thinking that you don't particularly like showing your naked junk to other dudes either, remember that they were at war. Officers bathed by stripping and having their men pour water on them. It was the same for everybody -- there is no privacy in a huge camp with thousands of men. Everybody except for Grant, who hid in his tent.
In his defense, most of his men were incredibly gross
Speaking of hiding, Grant did the same thing at his daughter's wedding, even though the situation obviously did not require him to be naked. While everybody was out celebrating , Grant had a sudden onslaught of the wedding jitters and holed himself up in his room while crying hysterically.
Seriously, if the man didn't have shells exploding around him, he fell apart.
Above: less stressful than the average wedding.
Some of us know Gerald Ford only as the clownish, doofus president that Chevy Chase mocked in old-school Saturday Night Live episodes. Before that he was known for being was the first president in U.S. history who got the job by doing absolutely nothing, having been appointed vice president because of one scandal, and then appointed president due to another. He made the controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon, and he generally lives in history as a goofball who stumbled through a short, accidental presidency.
But you didn't know ...
Gerald Ford was Derek Zoolander.
That's pretty much "Blue Steel," right there.
Before he got into politics, he was a male model and even owned a modeling agency.
He wasn't just small-time, either. Here he is on the cover of Cosmopolitan:
Seriously. That's not a fake cover.
When Ford was in his 20s, he was modeling part-time for an agency owned by one John Robert Powers, who went on to become serious shit. During Ford's time there, he became roomies with one Harry Conover, who also was a model. Conover wanted to start his own modeling agency, but lacked the money. So Ford chipped in $1,000 and became a silent partner of the new Harry Conover Agency.
A decade later, Ford would marry a John Robert Powers model named Elizabeth Bloomer Warren, whom you may now know as Betty Ford. Or rather, you know the name of the addiction clinic she founded where countless models have wound up.
The Fords were less successful at rehabilitating the economy. Zing.