The King of the United States

Sure, we’d like to think that we didn’t or don’t have a Royal Family on this side of the pond.  There is surely not a monarchy here.  Or is there?

Let’s take a look at some of the blood lines of United States presidents.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, everyone’s favorite war-time president, has these cousins and distant cousins:  Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George Bush, George W. Bush, Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife, and Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister (Maybe why they got along so splendidly.)  We’ve had two sets of father-son presidents, and one grandfather-grandson combination.  Sounds like the presidency runs in the family.  I think that’s pretty amazing.  They are on each other’s family tree.  George Washington is related in some way to every other president.  You can work it out to see that Barack Obama is his 9th cousin six times removed.

In all fairness, if you run a family out that far with tree limbs, there is obviously going to be a lot of commonality.  Most of our ancestors came here from someplace, except the Native American population I would argue.

Here’s another thing I find interesting.  Did you know, for example, that George Washington had three brothers, two sisters, two half-brothers and two half-sisters, a total of nine siblings.  James Buchanan had 10 siblings, four brothers and six sisters.  Benjamin Harrison had six brothers, three sisters, and two half-sisters.  Jimmy Carter had one brother and two sisters.  We heard a lot about brother Billy and his beer, but you really don’t think about all those other presidential siblings.  What happened to them.  You’d think they would have accomplished something.  Why is there little or no historical record about all those famous siblings?

He wasn't that bad looking.

Did you know that James Buchanan was the only president who never married?  I didn’t either.  Maybe it’s not important, but might come in handy in a trivia game.

The average age of presidents of the United states is roughly 54.  The youngest was Herbert Hoover and the oldest was, come on now, you know this one…Ronald Reagan.  He was 69 going on, very shortly, 70.  The oldest living former president is George H. Bush, not “dubya,” who was born in 1924.  And the president who lived the longest was Gerald R. Ford, the guy who pardoned Richard M. Nixon.  He was 93.

So, where was I going with this?  Don’t know really, just thought is was fascinating, and it’s that time again when winter, spring, summer and fall is filled with conventions, television ads, fund-raising, debates, and finding out how little we have to work with when it comes to presidential contenders.  Barack Obama raised more money in a few days on the West Coast than all the other Republican candidates to date, combined.  Is $34 million a lot of money in a few days, and who’s counting that?

I have always understood that you as an individual can’t donate more than $2,500 to a primary candidate’s campaign fund.  (Not that I have ever donated even 25 cents to a presidential campaign and I do check “no” on my 1040.)  Once they are the party nominee and accept public funding, (That little box you check or don’t check on your tax return) they can no longer accept contributions to further their election.  You can donate up to $2,500 to their compliance fund, however, which is maintained to pay only for legal and accounting expenses incurred trying to comply with the campaign finance laws which are so complex that the number of loop-holes must be astounding.   I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess that most modern candidates don’t accept public funding and add up the millions by private donations.  I’m not even going to bother to look it up.

Okay, sit back and enjoy all the mudslinging, name calling, exposure of illicit affairs, and other tidbits of information about your favorite candidate you didn’t know or don’t care about.  It’s an election year, and the monarchy is mobilizing for a new king to ascend the throne or keep an old one for another four years.  And, in case you didn’t know, presidents weren’t limited to two terms until the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1951.  That’s why FDR won re-election to a third and fourth term.  Every other president only served a maximum of two, but that was by George Washington’s example.  Now if we could just get that passed in the House and the Senate.  WTF 





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One response to “The King of the United States

  1. If not a monarchy (your research was both interesting and impressive), we sure have an aristocracy. Regardless of how much in campaign donations, it takes millions of one’s own money to run for top offices, to say nothing of the impressive education and occupation credentials a candidate must have these days to be seriously considered one a good leader of all of us “average Americans.” E PLURIBUS UNUM indeed…

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