George W. Bush may be a lot of things.
Unpopular. The focal point of criticism for America’s diminished standing around the world. The guy responsible for our lackluster response to Hurricane Katrina. And, of course, there’s all the funny stuff, too.
But this is a President who is looking for a place in history and could use a little help (he probably wouldn’t be thrilled with "The Last White One").
That’s where we come in. Presidential legacies are funny things, and while the media tosses around accusations like "Worst President Ever," let’s remember that at least one commander-in-chief was so dull that the White House decided to spice things up by describing his wife’s prodigious bosom in the second sentence of his official bio. And that guy helped write the Constitution, for crying out loud.
What I’m saying is, Bush has some skills. The man can duck a shoe better than any President we’ve ever had. And not just one shoe, two shoes! The New York Post’s headline yesterday was "Lame Duck," and while we appreciate the wit, that’s not an accurate assessment. That was a GREAT duck! W displayed the kind of high speed, quality ducking ability that says "I’ve been out hunting with Dick Cheney."
While "Great Shoe-Ducker" might not be up there with "Old Rail Splitter," or "Great Communicator," it’s a start. It’s a pointless exercise to rank all the presidents on their shoe ducking prowess, as most of them would have been terrible at it. William Henry Harrison for example, died of pneumonia only a month into office, and wouldn’t have been able to get out of the way of a slow moving soup spoon. Nonetheless, we are happy to present the top five shoe-ducking presidents of all time.
5: Abraham Lincoln
History tells us that Lincoln may have been slow to react
to things flying towards his head. Despite this, if he could hold our
nation together in a time of a great civil war, he could probably duck a shoe. Also, that stovepipe hat of his could cause a thrower to aim a little too high. He might get the hat knocked off, but he’d avoid it for sure.
4: George H.W. Bush.
Like father, like son. While the old man might not be as spry as his boy, let’s not forget, George Bush the first was a combat fighter pilot, the captain of the Yale baseball team and to this day jumps out of airplanes for fun. While Saddam Hussein was still running Iraq, he instructed a portrait of Bush the elder be built into a palace floor, so that everyone would walk on it with their shoes, something that we all learned this week is a pretty big insult in that country. Guess who’s still standing?
3: Gerald Ford
While widely lampooned for his clumsiness, the 38th President of the United States was actually a fine athlete and played for the University of Michigan football team. If anyone dared throw a shoe at Gerald Ford, it may have hit him, but I’d give even odds that he would have picked it up and run it back for a score.
2: John F. Kennedy
He was in fine shape and famous for his family touch football games, so like Ford, he could have easily handled any incoming shoes with aplomb. But it’s the 1960 incident, when Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev famously brandished a shoe at a meeting of the United Nations in an attempt to intimidate the world that improves Kennedy’s standing. Not only didn’t the Russian leader throw his shoe at JFK, but he also backed down in the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s one thing to duck the shoe, and another to get the other guy to not throw it.
1: George W. Bush
Can there be any doubt? Let’s have another look. I mean, you could even ask him a question about this, and you know what he’ll do. That’s right. He’ll duck it.