How to “be presidential”

15th President of the United States James Buchanan


15th President of the United States James Buchanan

Want to be presidential? Start with James Buchanan (courtesy National Archives).

When a journalist says a candidate or even an actual President is or isn’t “being presidential” it’s a signal to all the other pundits. They are letting other journalists know that they are about to tell some partial-myth about on of their fave five presidents. These tales usually aggrandize a paternalist President daddy-ing the country in a time only that specific daddy-in-chief could have fixed our country’s boo-boo at that time. This faux threshold discounts the President as head of the government, head of state, commander in chief of the US armed forces and head of their political party and overvalues the president as a personality and a political brand.

Forget our “better angels of our nature” and all that. No need to do hard things the hard way! Being that any President is “presidential”, being presidential should be a Pass/Fail, lowest common denominator endeavor for the rest of us.

  1. Find the 4 worst ranked Presidents in history
  2. Make faces like their portraits and try and copy their speaking cadences
  3. Behave like they did as far as you can tell from historical accounts
  4. Anyone who fits their characteristics is indeed being “Presidential”
  5. Repeat process from step 1 with the next 4 highest rated presidents until you find enough Presidential characteristics to describe everything about yourself

Boom. Next thing you know: you are being Presidential! And you don’t have to thank me! Not compensating a black guy for his work is definitely presidential! Refer to the race/religion presidential triage below to get some ideas:

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