AdamsStamp - Both the Pros and the Cons of Being a Bald US President

IF IT’S TRUE THAT ONLY SIX UNITED STATES PRESIDENTS HAVE HAD HAIR LOSS, WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT HOW WE SEE HAIR AND LEADERSHIP?

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, there was some discussion about the number of potential candidates with some degree of hair loss (Fred Thompson, Rudolph Giuliani, even John McCain). This prompted many commentators to point out that no bald man has been elected president of the United States since Dwight Eisenhower stepped down in 1961. (Gerald Ford was indeed a hair loss member, if not a total baldie, but he was appointed to the office rather than elected.)

As a matter of fact, only six men who have held the highest office have been what would really be considered bald. Below is a quick look, in chronological order of their dates of service, at the pros and cons of those hair-challenged brethren who have helmed the ship of state:

JOHN ADAMS (SERVED 1797-1801)
Con Pro
• Bossy, bossy, bossy • You think helping to found a new nation can be accomplished by pussyfooting around?
• Alien and Sedition Acts, of dubious constitutionality • You think helping to solidify a new nation can be accomplished by pussyfooting around?
• As Adams himself stated, as president, “I refused to suffer in silence. I sighed, sobbed, and groaned, and sometimes screeched and screamed. And I must confess to my shame and sorrow that I sometimes swore.” • Highly unlikely that Adams was very much swayed by “Ye Olde Qunnipiac Polle of Opinions and Such”
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (SERVED 1825-1829)
Con Pro
• Refused to attend inauguration of his successor, Andrew Jackson • Like father, like son — and at least, unlike John Adams Sr., this Adams wasn’t snubbing Thomas Jefferson!
• Really should have known better than to approve something with a name like “the Tariff of Abominations” • A real party animal — belonged to the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, Anti-Masonic and Whig parties
• Elected by the House of Representatives to live in the White House for 4 years • After presidency, elected to the House of Representatives, where they couldn’t get him to leave for 17 years
MARTIN VAN BUREN (SERVED 1837-1841)
Con Pro
• Only popular enough to serve one term as president • Popular enough to inspire the classic Seinfeldepisode known as “The Van Buren Boys”
• Died of pneumonia — albeit 20 years after leaving office • Better than the fate of his successor, William Henry Harrison, who caught pneumonia after refusing to wear a coat to his own inauguration and died 32 days later
• The Panic of 1837 and the Trail of Tears — not among the greatest moments of American history • Made outrageous sideburns into a personal fashion statement
JAMES A. GARFIELD (SERVED 1881)
Con Pro
• President for too short a time — 6 months — to do any real good • President for too short a time — 6 months — to do any real harm
• Garfield’s legitimate claim to be a descendant of a passenger on the Mayflower loses luster when one learns that said ancestor was later convicted of murder • Namesake of cartoon cat Garfield, who tends to murder only large trays of lasagna
• Took 36 ballots to win the Republican presidential nomination, which indicates that this was a man who either was incredibly determined  or just didn’t know how to take a hint • Subject of a song by Johnny Cash — and, no, it was not “A Boy Named Sue”
DWIGHT EISENHOWER (SERVED 1953-1961)
Con Pro
• Has come to symbolize a kind of kitschy 1950s naivete • Let that nice little Hawaii and that cute little Alaska join our little united family
• As a slogan, “I Like Ike” is, shall we say, a bit simpleminded? • “I Like Ike” is far better than his competitor’s “All the Way with Adlai,” which just can’t be said without a knowing smirk and a meaningful leer
• An obsessive golfer, he was always driving, driving, driving on the range • The rest of us wouldn’t be driving, driving, driving without his Interstate Highway System
GERALD FORD (SERVED 1974-1977)
Con Pro
• Tendency to trip and fall, which at times became embarrassing • Hey, at least he didn’t throw up on the Japanese prime minister
• Not possessed of the most dynamic personality • Not such a big flaw when you look at Spiro Agnew’s personality
• During his term, nation endured worst economic conditions since the Great Depression … • … But that late 1970s downturn doesn’t look quite so bad when compared with the recession of 2008-2010, does it?