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It’s Time For Some Good Ole’ Fashioned Presidential Scandals

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While our current president has escaped any direct implications in any of the current events going on across the country, he could find himself a member of a not so small club of past presidents who have not exactly governed by the book.

Our Founding “Fathers?”

The greatness of our country is often attributed to those great men who sacrificed all they had so we can live in freedom. While they were sacrificing so much they were also being what most of us are — just people with flaws.

Though Thomas Jefferson refuted the rumors at the time, the modern miracle of DNA testing has shown that there might have been a possible involvement between Jefferson and one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. He allegedly fathered at least one of her children and possibly all of them. And you thought Washington was the “father” of our country.

Morals? We Don’t Need No Stinking Morals!!

Thanks to John F. Kennedy and William J. Clinton strong moral character is no longer required to be president. But back in the days of President Andrew Jackson, morals were a very big deal, as Jackson discovered when he married Rachel Robards. Only one small problem, her divorce from her previous husband had not been finalized when they married. Once the divorce was final they remarried but it was front page news for weeks.

If There Is A Buck To Be Made

Long before former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was trying to sell senate seats, Ulysses S. Grant was wheeling and dealing from the Oval Office. Grant was careful to keep a safe distance from graft and corruption and used his presidential power to keep Orville Babcock, his private secretary, and William Belknap, his Secretary of War, (yes they called it that back then), from going to jail for their involvement in several reconstruction deals and gold market manipulation. Almost sounds like our current Wall Street guys. Grants presidency tops most lists as the most scandalous in American History.

Teapot Dome Scandal

Until the Watergate Scandal during the Nixon administration, the Teapot Dome Scandal was number one in American History. If they don’t still teach it in school they should. Albert B. Fall, President Warren Harding’s Sec. of the Interior, accepted private oil company bribes for low priced oil from Naval petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyoming and other locations without putting them out to bid. Fall was eventually convicted.

Election Fraud?

What happens when the vote is so close that both men declare victory? One has won the popular vote yet loses. Bush-Gore 2000 you say? Nope. This would be the 1876 election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. The race was extremely close but neither candidate had the required 185 electoral votes to be able to declare victory.

And both men were declaring victory in the same three states. Rumors were flying on both sides about the vote count and election fraud. Whatever will Washington do to solve this dilemma?

The answer is simple. A bipartisan electoral commission was set up and by a vote of 8 to 7 Rutherford B. Hayes became the President of the United States. Ya gotta love those “bipartisan commissions.”

Some Final Thoughts

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the old saying goes. Almost every president in modern history has had some type of scandal attached to his presidency. Kennedy had the Bay of Pigs, Johnson the Vietnam War, Nixon had Watergate, Carter had the economy, Reagan had Iran–Contra, Clinton had Lewinsky, and Bush had waterboarding.

America, as much as we would like it to be, is not a perfect country. Expecting our leaders to be perfect would be a tall order. Each election we seem to find more chinks in the armor of our heroes and we tape them up and look the other way.

The truth has always been in short supply at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We have actually evolved to the point of paying people to create “talking points.” Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear just one un-homogenized thought from Washington — by anyone?

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