Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
Asker Anonymous Asks:
I saw a history channel documentary that said Jackie Kennedy had the military honor guard at JFK's funeral face his coffin instead of facing away because he looked lonely when they faced away. True?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

The story in the documentary could be true (I haven’t seen the one you’re referring to), but I’ve seen photos from FDR’s funeral and when FDR was lying in state in the White House where the military honor guard was facing in his casket. So, I don’t know if Jacqueline Kennedy asked for the honor guard to face towards the casket at a specific moment in the funeral services or while President Kennedy was lying in state, but like I said, it definitely wasn’t the first instance in which a military honor guard faced towards the casket of an individual. I’ll have to read up on military honor guard customs to find out more. It makes sense that an honor guard would face away from royalty, but not a President. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How old is too old to wear a hoodie?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Whatever age it is, that’s when I’m checking out.

Also, someone’s going to have to let me know.

I’m back home! Enjoying an adult beverage at my old hang — the Sheraton Grand in downtown Sacramento.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Who was our most complex President?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

That’s a very tough one, but I’m going to have to go with Richard Nixon.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think it's appropriate for presidents to return salutes at all? In commonwealth countries, the commander-in-chief (the Queen or her representative) only salutes while in uniform and wearing a headdress.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Absolutely.

It’s an important tradition and a visible measure of respect to our soldiers from the Commander-in-Chief. Unlike the Commonwealth nations or other countries, our CINC never wears a military uniform while in office, but the President should still return the salute.

I do think that President Obama made a bad move and should have been a bit more careful and respectful, but as The Daily Show brilliantly demonstrated tonight, Bush 43 made the same mistake during his Presidency (his half-assed salute was due to holding his dog rather than coffee, but still…). It didn’t look great, but Presidential appreciation for our military isn’t going to fall apart because of a shitty salute.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
You, Sir, are cute. Keep on keeping on.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Thank you…I’ll  do my best!

What do you think of the Hall of Presidents attraction at Disney World or Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Disney World in Orlando, and that’s a bummer because I’d love to check out the Hall of Presidents. I’ve been to Disneyland in Anaheim twice, but I was pretty young and don’t really remember whether I saw the Lincoln deal. I really need to make a road trip down to SoCal and check out the Lincoln event.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How old are you?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I am 34. In a weird coincidence, my birthday is actually Inauguration Day — January 20th, although there wasn’t a Presidential inauguration on the the day I was born (January 20, 1980). But there was a big event that day: the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
1 - What does your signature look like? 2- Which president has the coolest signature?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

1. Here’s what mine looks like:

2. As for my favorite Presidential signature, I know that some people will roll their eyes because I am known to be such a fan of LBJ, but even noting that bias, I think that Lyndon Johnson’s signature is really cool:

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If LBJ didn't go on his death spiral post-1968, do you think he could have snagged back the Democratic nomination in 1972 and beat Nixon? Or would he just be laughed out as a demented old man trying to regain power at every step of the way?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No, I don’t think anybody could have beaten Richard Nixon in 1972. The man won 49 out of 50 states. LBJ removed himself (as much as LBJ could ever removed himself) from the political process after leaving the Presidency. He would have needed a really good reason for jumping back into Presidential politics so quickly after getting out of politics — on a personal level and politically — and I don’t know that he would have had one. And while I think Johnson would have beaten Nixon if they had faced each other in 1968, I think Nixon would have beaten Johnson if the tables were turned in 1972 because incumbency is such a powerful weapon in Presidential politics. LBJ would have done better than George McGovern had done and Nixon wouldn’t have won 49 states, but I still think he would have lost.

Of course, it’s all a moot point anyway because LBJ was dying in 1972. Even if he had run and had been elected in November 1972, he’d have died in office. As it was, LBJ died two days after Inauguration Day 1973 — Nixon was sworn in for his second term on January 20th and LBJ died on January 22nd.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Can you write my letter of reccomendation?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I have written many letters of recommendation, but it’s usually helpful when I actually know the person who I am giving a recommendation. So, we’re already not off to a very good start.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If any state you lived in decided to leave the union and adapted the same political views you have, would you support it? (In the cases of Missouri and Texas, move back?)
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I would never move back to Texas. In fact, I have no interest in ever stepping foot in Texas again, so, no. I’m happy with being back home in California, so I wouldn’t see myself moving back to Missouri, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

But with all that said, the most important point is that I don’t think secession is ever a good thing for the country. The precedent of secession — even the peaceful secession of one state — would be very harmful for the rest of the country. And peaceful secession wouldn’t happen; the federal government wouldn’t allow it — that’s a precedent that we have seen before. The complications of secession are so numerous that I wouldn’t even know where to begin to list them.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think the Roosevelts might ever rise to politics again? It seems like most of them right now are in academia and the private sector.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

It’s a big family with an instantly-recognizable — even revered (by people in both parties) — name that would look very good on campaign signs and make quite a splash. I’m sure somebody from the Roosevelt family will eventually take a shot at a major office.