6 Weirdly Specific Things That Screw All 2nd Term Presidents

Here's the truth about a two-term president: He or she is destined for disappointment the moment they're reelected. The first term is a weekend spa getaway compared to the pain in the ass that is the second four years. That's when all the shit that could possibly hit the fan does, and it doesn't happen by coincidence.

Here are a few reasons why no U.S. president should ever want a second term ...

#6. They Just Screwed Over Their Party by Winning

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You'd think that winning a second term in the White House ensures a smooth ride into a secure legacy as the single greatest person in American history. You get to keep your parking privileges (and launch codes) and your first act of office is four more years of epic parties at your sick mansion.

It's like your senior year in high school: You've put in plenty of time proving how awesome you are; the rest is just a formality, albeit one that should rightfully involve lots of keg stands and hand jobs ...

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Future leaders of the free world.

Unfortunately for most second-term presidents, they aren't really going to like a lot of the people showing up to their party. That's because incumbent parties almost always lose seats in Congress during midterm years, which tend to hit two-term presidents especially hard. Like, historically hard. It's a phenomenon political scientists call the six-year itch, which, coincidentally, is also an apt description for herpes.

Thomas Jefferson is the only U.S. president in history whose party gained House and Senate seats during his sixth year in office, and all but one president since Woodrow Wilson lost seats in both the House and Senate their second term. The lone wolf? Of course: Bill Clinton, whose Democratic Party benefited immensely from his brewing impeachment, which actually boosted his approval numbers by 10 points among voters who understood that, in all truth, blow jobs are pretty great.

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Bulletproof.

Still, nearly getting bounced from a sweet gig isn't exactly good news for any president, especially if you consider ...

#5. Most Presidential Scandals Take Two Terms to Get Juicy

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While being president for just one term is a surefire sign something went wrong, the truth is, most presidential scandals focus on fiascoes from the first term that just took a few years to gain traction.

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"But they didn't get us, did they? High-five!"

Nearly every president in modern history suffered a second term remarkably worse than his first. FDR's New Deal hit major roadblocks and the Great Depression came roaring back like parents had stopped vaccinating their kids against it.

Harry S. Truman's second stint was embroiled in an IRS scandal and unpopularity after the firing of General Douglas MacArthur, who wanted to drop enough nukes on China that the radioactive glow would turn it into a giant black-light poster.

Eisenhower got wrapped up in a scandal caused by a wool jacket.

Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Monica, and George W. Bush had enough to earn him a free scandal with the purchase of a large fountain drink.


With a complimentary order of birdshot to the face.

Obama hasn't fared much better, either. There have been scandals involving the IRS, CIA, Pentagon, Guantanamo Bay, Department of Veterans Affairs, and even with those silly bastards at the Secret Service, who've been treating their jobs like they're in a wacky workplace sitcom.

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*Fart sound. Pratfall. American flag cries. Uproarious audience laughter*

If the second term is that bad, why even bother? In fact, losing is actually for the best, because ...

#4. Losing Reelection Is So Much Better for Your Health

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By now, it should be pretty clear that being president takes a hell of a toll on the body. By the time their suit jackets are hanged from the rafters, all two-term presidents have aged enough to look like they just returned from a trip through the other side of a black hole.

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George W. Bush, circa 2007.

On the flip side, losing reelection is the best thing for any president more interested in living a ripe, full life than appearing on U.S. currency. Jimmy Carter is living proof. He currently enjoys the longest retirement of any U.S. president, despite being most famous for having his clock cleaned by Ronald Reagan. And for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Doesn't look a day over dead.

In terms of lengthy retirees, Carter is followed by fellow one-termer Herbert Hoover. Despite presiding over the Wall Street crash of 1929, Hoover died in 1964, 31 years after his administration. The guy most famous for doing nothing during the tumultuous end of the Roaring '20s outlived the Kennedy administration and lived long enough to be one of the first people to shake an angry fist at hippies.

So, how did all the other presidents fare? Five of the six longest-living presidents in history were one-termers, as were all seven presidents to enjoy the longest retirements. Even William Howard Taft (one term; born in 1857) got to outlive Teddy Roosevelt (two terms; born in 1858) by more than a decade, and Teddy was basically your great grandparents' version of the T-1000.

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