ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN is a non-fiction book (1974) and film (1976) by and about journalists Woodward and Bernstein, and their investigation of Watergate for the Washington Post.
12/08/09 | Film

All the President’s Men

by Michael Fowler

Gerund P. Adamson — Served 1789, January 20, 12:00 – 2:30PM

Colonel Gerund Parnassus Adamson, known in George Washington’s day as ‘The Remote Ancestor of His Country’, was the initial selection of the first Continental Congress in 1781. For his sense of whimsy, the 69 electors much preferred him to ‘The Father of His County’, the humorless, wooden-toothed Washington. As a nose-less syphilitic, Adamson wore a brass proboscis, which went over a lot better with the ladies than Washington’s oaken bicuspids. However, Adamson’s first act as chief executive was to declare himself Sun God and order the construction of a giant stone pyramid to house his mortal remains. Learning of this, the Congress nullified the election. At the suggestion of Jefferson, who enjoyed a laugh as much as anyone but who kept an eye on posterity, the entire Adamson presidency, all two and a half hours of it, was struck from the Congressional record.

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Mohammed Q. Arqbar — Served 1850, long enough to be sworn in

Mohammed Quincy Arqbar, a native of Persia, was sworn in as Chief Executive after waylaying the true president-elect, Millard Fillmore, and taking the oath of office in his stead. The country would like to forget this blotch on its governmental proceedings, and largely has. Suspicions of Arqbar’s not being the real Fillmore—or even a native born American—arose as early as his inaugural oath, which the faux president-elect recited entirely in Farsi. After a little embarrassed laughter, Secret Service men took Arqbar aside, threw him in irons, and moments later shot him. Only then did they identify Arqbar as a usually harmless crank, and claim that shooting him was the idea of the outgoing Secretary of War, George ‘Bullet’ Crawford. History revisionists took care of the rest, and today not even the cleverest schoolboy knows of Arqbar’s short-lived and doomed presidency. To the extent that he is remembered, it is for his religious intolerance and for introducing kebabs to the White House kitchen.

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Salmon S. Calhoun — Served 1865, April 15 – April 19

Salmon Sisyphus Calhoun ascended to the presidency immediately following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Congress, in turmoil following Lincoln’s death, and thinking to prolong the spirit of slain president’s Emancipation Proclamation, almost unanimously appointed Calhoun, Lincoln’s favorite African American, to the presidency. Thus Salmon Calhoun became the first ex-slave to hold the office of President of the United States. In a few days, Congress came to its senses and voted to revoke the presidency of the politically inexperienced Calhoun, but not before he had federally endowed 65 Negro Colleges across the country and appointed his mother, Bessie Calhoun, as Secretary of White Guilt, making her the first woman of color and the first woman of any sort to hold a cabinet position. Calhoun is also remembered for proclaiming February of each year as White History Month, to abhor the ancestral roots of the country’s oppressive Caucasians.

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Colossus S. Jones — Served 1875, all day June 1

Colossus Sampson Jones was unceremoniously and unofficially appointed president by then Commander-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant, when one day Grant was too ill from a hangover to get out of bed and assume his seat in the Oval Office. The General told his trusted friend Jones, “What the hell, I appoint you President today. You can’t do a worse job that I’m doing.” By combing his lengthy beard up over his face and impersonating a drunk, Jones deceived everyone. The next day, Grant felt better and again assumed his rightful place as Commander-in-Chief. Among Jones’ noteworthy accomplishments during his brief term in office are the establishment of the U.S. Coast Guard, the beginning of diplomatic relations with India, balancing the budget, the invention of the electric streetcar, declaring war on the Ottoman Empire, and appointing two Calvinists to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Orifice E. Spellman – Served 1879, for a few minutes

Orifice Elastic Spellman assumed office in 1879 under a bizarre deception. First disguising himself as William Wheeler, Vice President to then President Rutherford Hayes, he then abducted Hayes and stuffed him in a large oaken wardrobe on board a ship bound for France. Finally, he claimed that unknown foreign assailants had shot Hayes to death, so that he, Vice President Wheeler, had succeeded to the presidency. Spellman, who strongly resembled Wheeler, was immediately sworn in by Congress, and became acting President for twelve minutes. At the end of that time the real Vice President appeared, unlocked the wardrobe containing President Hayes before the ship sailed, and all was set to rights. Spellman was convicted of impersonating a government official, and hanged.

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Cartridge H. Wilkins — Served 1925, for three and a half hours

Cartridge Horatio Wilkins was elected in 1925. His presidency may not be household knowledge, but then who has heard of Chester A. Arthur? Sworn in at noon, Wilkins was impeached by 3:30 the same day for accepting bribes, conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government, spying for a foreign power, wire-tapping members of Congress, perjury, cross-dressing, failing to delete his expletives, and fondling the Japanese Prime Minister on the White House lawn. Wilkins resigned before he could be removed from office, and later became the President of Guatemala. In that office he had the distinction of throwing up on the Japanese Prime Minister right after fondling him.

The Great Slamdini — Served 1953, for a brief spell

The Great Slamdini is another U.S. President missing from the history books. Crisscrossing the nation by railroad on the campaign trail in 1953, he mesmerized the masses with his speeches. Calling himself a ‘magician’, he promised to charm all world leaders into singing a pact of perpetual peace, and all industry captains into promoting a worker’s utopia. While addressing the cheering crowds, he made doves fly out of his hat and cards disappear. He was elected by a landslide, but was at once accused by Senator McCarthy of practicing witchcraft. He resigned before the Senate could impeach him, and used his powers to erase all memory of himself and his cabinet of knife-throwers and fire-eaters. Only after his death this year did the spell lift and his story begin to emerge.

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Jimmy John Ronald — Served 1974, for two weeks

Following the resignation of Richard Nixon August 9, 1974, Jimmy John Ronald was appointed acting president by Congress while the job was explained to Gerald Ford. Although he understood that he was to be president only for a week or two, or until Ford passed a written test, Ronald at once promised to curb inflation by a small amount and to create upwards of a dozen new jobs. “I will save the taxpayers about a hundred dollars a year”, he bragged. He was sincere, but failed to make good on such pledges in only two weeks since no one knew who he was. History has largely forgotten him, and Ford didn’t remember to thank him either. But he did pardon him.

Al Gore — Served concurrently with George W. Bush, 2000-2004

Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. is of course a familiar name, but Gore has the distinction of having served in a remarkable twin-presidency along with his political rival, Republican George W. Bush. Gore was elected in 2000 by a clear majority of voters, but the U.S. Supreme Court appointed Bush president. To resolve this contretemps, the self-effacing Gore announced that it was “time for me to go”, leaving the other president to steer the nation. In the meantime Gore has grown his face to become a globetrotting prophet of doom in the form of global warming, a forecast seconded by such world-renowned scientists as Sean Penn. In 2007 the Hollywood branch of the Democratic Party bestowed upon him an academy award in the category of Best Feature-length False Alarm by a Man with Double Chins. Since this triumph Gore has pondered another bid for the U.S. presidency, with a platform of once again serving concurrently with a Republican C student. But this time Gore will take the reins himself, it is hoped for the greening of the world.