Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Big Lub" Taft: "Presidency? Meh."

Taft on a water buffalo in the Philippines. OMG ridic.
William Howard Taft was born in 1857 in Cincinnati (visit to Taft childhood home a must-do sometime while I live in Ohio). His father Alphonso not only had an awesome name, but also served as Secretary of War under U.S. Grant. The future President and Chief Justice was raised as a Unitarian, like some of my best friends (go fig), and was never really that into Jesus. It is interesting that he was able to be elected in this country, but I guess he had Teddy's endorsement/it was 100 years ago. Eventually, he went to fancy Yale, just like Rory Gilmore, and was was in Skull & Bones, which his father Alphonso had helped found in the 1930s. He was also in some frats and shit. Throughout his life, he was a member of various of fraternal/secret organizations. How patriarchal! In college, Taft's pals called him either "Big Lub" or "Old Bill." After graduation, he went to law school in Cincinnati, passed the Ohio bar, and became a lawyer and later a judge in the state of Ohio. During this time, he married his longtime sweetheart Helen, with whom he eventually had three children. William McKinley, the U.S. President most concerned with our "little brown brothers" in the Philippines, appointed Taft to be the first civilian Governor-General of the newly acquired colony of the Philippines. Apparently he was very popular. But what Taft really wanted to do was direct be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He had to turn down hist first SCOTUS offer, though, because he didn't feel his job was done in the South Pacific. You know how hard it is for brown people to self-rule. Taft later served as Secretary of War under our other favorite mustachioed president, Teddy Roosevelt, who became his political mentor. He did something in Japan during this time, also in Cuba, and helped supervise the beginning of the Panama Canal. Some shit went down involving career criminal Carl Panzram who later broke into Taft's house (post-presidency), stole a gun, and then killed a bunch of people with it. Totally getting that guy's autobio from the library! Anyhow, Teddy pretty much orchestrated Taft's 1908 electoral win against perpetual loser William Jennings Bryan by co-opting progressive political rhetoric. During his presidency, Big Lub managed to alienate everybody, especially through his ballsy antitrust activities. He also supported the passage of the 16th Amendment (income tax!) as well as the 17th (direct election of Senators!). Taft believed in "Dollar Diplomacy," which is classic Republicanism--investing in developing countries, esp. in Latin America (pavin' the way for Milton Friedmanites boo hiss). He believed in arbitration and world peace, but got tangled up in some shit in Nicaragua. Fucking Nicaragua. During his term of office, he had the opportunity to appoint six Supreme Court Justices (future colleagues?!). And also New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was real pissed about how Taft supposedly betrayed his legacy. He and another guy tried to wrest the Republican Party from Taft, but ultimately failed. Sr. Theodore formed his own Progressive/Bull Moose/Manly Man Party, dividing the Republicans, and they all lost to Woodrow Wilson.
Please Google image search "taft golf." Just do it. Trust me.
After he lost the election, Taft taught at Yale Law for a bit and spent a lot of time writing legal philosophy and agitating for peace. He was finally appointed to his dream job of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Warren G. And the 'Pedia tells us that he then said, "I do not remember that I was ever President." He helped shape the judiciary as we know it today by helping them choose their own docket and have their own building. So, good for that guy. A few last things: -Probs had sleep apnea just like my friend G-Funk. -Descendants are active in politics. -Apparently owned a cow named Mooley who became the White House pet. -He may or may not have gotten stuck in a bathtub in the WH. Let us consult these 15 year-old experts from YouTube on their opinions (awesome!):


  1. Taft is the most cartoony of the presidents, no?

  2. I love Taft. A true inspiration to fat f**ks everywhere.