Cracked Classic: The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time
As we all prepare to head out to the polls today with our guns, gripes, and garish dress, we thought this Cracked Classic was in order. We could take time to thank some of the presidents who passed bills that protect many of the freedoms we enjoy daily. Or we could spend the day celebrating the presidents who are decidedly more Action Movie Heroes than diplomats.
Anyway, guess which kind of president this website decided to focus on?
Special thanks to Daniel O'Brien, the OG writer of the piece and now reigning king of television.
When the 1828 election rolled around, a lot of people were terrified when they heard Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson was running. If you're wondering how a guy we're calling a bad ass got such a lame nickname, it's because he used to carry a hickory cane around and beat people senseless with it, and if you're wondering why he did that, it's because he was a fucking lunatic.
Former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Treasurey Albert Gallatin feared a Jackson presidency because of his "habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions." Or in other words, the man was a loose canon--17th Century Washigton's answer to Martin Riggs. Sure, he probably didn't have an irate black lieutenant to answer to, or a weary partner who was too old for this shit, but he most certainly had a death wish.
How do we know? Well, despite everyone's best efforts, Jackson was elected to the top office, and when he wasn't busy shaping the Presidency as we know it today, you could find him out back dueling. In case you haven't been to the 18th century lately, this unmanly sounding activity actually involves standing across from an armed man and shooting at him while he in turn shoots at you. The number of duels that Jackson took part in varies depending on what source you consult; some say 13, while others rank the number somewhere in the 100's, both of which are entirely too many times for a reasonable human being to stand in front of someone who is trying to kill them with a loaded gun.
On one occasion, he challenged a man named Charles Dickinson to a duel, (the reason behind it wasn't important, not to us and certainly not to Jackson), and Jackson was even kind enough to give Dickinson the first shot. We're gonna go ahead and repeat that: In a duel with pistols, Jackson politely volunteers to be shot at first. Dickinson happily obliged and shot Jackson, who proceeded to shake it off like it was a bee sting. When Jackson returned the favor, Dickinson was not so lucky, and that's why his face isn't on the twenty. The bullet, by the by, remained in Jackson's body for 19 years because, we assume, Jackson knew that time spent removing the bullets would just fall under the general category of "time not dueling," Jackson's least favorite category.
Greatest Display of BadassedryAndrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson's aides pulled him off the assassin.
The guns were inspected afterward and it was discovered that they were in perfect working order, leading some historians to believe that it was an odds-defying "miracle" that Jackson survived, while we're pretty sure that the bullets, like everyone else, were simply scared of Jackson.
Most Badass Quote"I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."
That's right. In a life rich with murdering people for little-to-no reason, Jackson's only regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people. People like Calhoun who, it should be noted, was Jackson's vice president.
John F Kennedy
Nowadays, John F. Kennedy is remembered mostly for getting shot in the head which, while admittedly badass, barely makes the top ten of badass things he's ever done. Plagued with a bad back his entire life, Kennedy was disqualified from service in the army. Instead of using this as an excuse to pursue the decidedly more sane strategy of staying the fuck away from explody things, Kennedy had his dad pull a few strings so he could sneak his way into the navy, where he eventually became a lieutenant. Just to get some perspective, Bill Clinton dodged the draft, Grover Cleveland paid someone else to go in his place when he was drafted, but Kennedy beat the system by forcing his way into the navy. Once there he handled himself like a gravel eating shit-miner, instead of the rich Boston pretty boy he actually was.
Today, he's got his own damned aircraft carrier named after him.
Wikimedia Commons: Brian C. Schaller
Upon leaving the Navy, he took up boning on a near full-time basis. Sure, he dabbled in being a Senator and a President or whatever, but his full-time job was Pimping. In fact, if boning-your-girlfriend-right-in-front-of-you was a business, you can bet your cuckolded ass that Kennedy would have been its District Manager.
While almost no two sources are in agreement as to just how much tail Kennedy snagged, historian John Richard Stephens says that "Kennedy confided with friends that he could only be satisfied with three women a day." It's amazing that, with all this boning, Kennedy didn't lose focus and make any colossal screw-ups while in office, and-...What? Bay of what? Moving on.
JFK's sexual conquests allegedly include Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jayne Mansfield, Angie Dickenson, Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan, famous burlesque stripper, and rap name pioneer Blaze Starr. There are even rumors that he also had sex with his insanely hot wife once in a while too.
Greatest Display of BadassedryIn August of 1943, while serving as skipper of the PT-109, Kennedy's boat was ripped in two by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy and his crew were tossed into the water and surrounded by flames. Kennedy, despite a chronic back injury and an even more chronic boning-induced-exhaustion, managed to swim four hours to safety while towing an injured crewman by the life jacket strap with his teeth. His fucking teeth!
Most Badass Quote"Jack could be shameless in his sexuality, simply pull girls' dresses up and so forth. He would corner them at White House dinner parties and ask them to step into the next room away from the noise, where they could hold a 'serious discussion.'"
That quote comes from Kennedy's closest friend, Lem Billings. For proof that you will never be as badass and pimpsational as Kennedy, go ahead and try that "Hey baby, let's go have a serious discussion" line on any girl and then come back and tell us how much sex you didn't have.
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams is, hands down, one of the most God awful ugly-assed presidents in American history but, well, the Predator was pretty hideous too, and no one will deny that he still kicks a fairly serious amount of ass. Also like the Predator, Adams was known as a shrewd negotiator and a strong advocate of outdoor boning. But we'll get to that a little bit later.
With his father away from home most of the time busying himself with the rebel cause, Adams, at age eight, was the man of the house. As if ensuring the safety and prosperity of an entire house before you even hit puberty isn't daunting enough, Adams had to do it all during a fucking war. He, in fact, often talked about watching the battle of Bunker Hill from his front porch, constantly worried about being, as he wrote in his diary, "butchered in cold blood, or taken and carried...as hostages by any foraging or marauding detachment of British soldiers." Remember when you were eight and you worried about missing Pokemon? Yeah. If you're feeling, perhaps, a little wet right now, it's because the ghost of an eight year old John Quincy Adams is pissing all over you as you read this.
Adams also maintained a strict, Rocky-like regiment of constant exercise that included a swift swim across the Potomac every morning. Even at 58 years old, Adams could reportedly swim the width of the Potomac in an hour. Also, the nudity; Adams famously exercised and swam nude, presumably, in case he ever came across some emergency that needed immediate boning while out exercising.
Greatest Display of BadassedryAlso, since we're talking about ridiculous things that JQA did that have nothing to do with being president, he kept a pet alligator in the East Wing of the White House. That actually probably came in handy for some of that shrewd negotiating we mentioned earlier.
As for the outdoor boning? Well ...
Most Badass Quote"The art of making love, muffled up in furs, in the open air, with the thermometer at Zero, is a Yankee invention."
It's not too clear, but it sounds like Adams genuinely believed Americans invented having sex outside, a discovery he no-doubt believed he himself pioneered.
Plenty of people know George Washington as the father of our country, but few people know, (and this is, perhaps, more important), just how similar he was in behavior to the Incredible Hulk. Stay with us.
As described by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington "was naturally irritable" and when his temper "broke its bonds, he was most tremendous in his wrath." One time, in fact, he became "much inflamed got into one of those passions when he cannot command himself." Witnesses agreed that, after these sudden bursts of rage, Washington generally became calm and amiable again. Sound like anyone you know? Anyone, incredible, perhaps? (It's the Incredible Hulk.) The Iroquois Indians affectionately nicknamed Washington "Caunotaucarius," which translates to either "Town Destroyer" or "Devourer of Villages." We were really hoping it translated to "One Who, (When Angry), You Will Not Like" so we'd have more evidence for this whole Incredible Hulk thing, but "Town Destroyer" is pretty cool too, we guess.
Washington wasn't just a shirt-ripping comic book character waiting to happen, he was also an amazing general and, possibly, totally invincible. Washington was always at the frontlines in any of the many battles he took part in and there are countless stories of Washington returning from battle with bullet holes in his uniform, or without a horse, (it having been shot from under him), but he always remained unharmed. As a general, he believed, (like the always-screaming Leonidas), in the strength of small numbers. Typically both a loner and rebel, Washington preferred a small band of dedicated warriors over large armies any day of the week and he won plenty of battles when the odds were decidedly not in his favor. He once wrote that "Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all."
Though that isn't quite as catchy as "This is Sparta!" you'll have to agree that it's slightly more eloquent and certainly more recyclable, as it is more applicable to situations that may not explicitly involve Sparta.
Greatest Display of BadassedryMaking America.
Most Badass QuoteAfter another tough battle where Washington was miraculously not wounded, he wrote a letter to his brother detailing his experiences. He described being surrounded by bullets and death and concluded by saying "I heard the bullets whistle and, believe me, there is something charming to the sound of bullets." When he caught news of this, King George III reportedly remarked that Washington's attitude would change if he'd heard a few more. But King George III didn't win the war, so fuck him.
Checking Teddy Roosevelt's resume is like reading a How-To guide on ass-kicking manliness. He was a cattle rancher, a deputy sheriff, an explorer, a police commissioner, the assistant Secretary of the Navy, the governor of New York, and a war hero. Out of all of his jobs, hobbies and passions, Roosevelt always had a special spot in his heart for unadulterated violence. In 1898, Roosevelt formed the first U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, known as the Rough Riders. Most people already know of the Rough Riders and their historic charge up San Juan Hill, but few know that, since their horses had to be left behind, the Riders made this charge entirely on foot. You just could not stop this man from violencing the hell out of a San Juan Hill.
And don't think that Roosevelt lost his obsession with violence when he became president, or he might just come back from the dead and murder you, (and how do you kill a Teddy Roosevelt that's already dead!?!). He strolled through the White House with a pistol on his person at all times, though, with his black belt in jujitsu and his history as a champion boxer, it wasn't like he really needed it.
It wasn't just his war record or the fact that he knew several different ways to kill you that made Roosevelt such a badass. It wasn't even the fact that he kept a bear and a lion at the White House as pets, (though that certainly helps). Teddy Roosevelt was a badass of the people. Roosevelt received letters from army cavalrymen complaining about having to ride 25 miles a day for training and, in response, Teddy rode horseback for 100 miles, from sunrise to sunset, at 51 years old, effectively rescinding anyone's right to complain about anything, ever again.
Did we mention he had asthma growing up? He did, and after he beat asthma to death, he ate asthma's raw flesh and ran 100 straight miles off the energy it gave him.
Greatest Display of BadassedryWhile campaigning for a third term, Roosevelt was shot by a madman and, instead of treating the wound, delivered his campaign speech with the bleeding, undressed bullet hole in his chest. On the other end of the spectrum, reasons why certain members of the Cracked Editorial Staff have called in to work over the last year include:
"A stubbed toe."
"There's a spider near the door."