Hi everyone! It's time for another edition of your favorite Presidential History Series, "President's Korner"!
What, you say you've never heard of President's Korner? Well, that. Ends. NOW.
Today, we're going to take a look at a newly released study highlighted by the fine folks at the Pew Research Center — one of our country's main resources for studies about presidents. The study looked at which presidents were the most narcissistic and which presidents were the least narcissistic.
What the study found says a lot about the way you should think about leading your life. Or maybe it doesn't, who are we to tell you what to do?
The authors of the study discovered that Lyndon Johnson, one of our most served-after-JFK-was-killed presidents, was the most narcissistic by far. This rings true: everyone knows all the stories about how Lyndon Johnson used to have very loud, very sweary conversations with his aides while he was sitting on the toilet, and you have to think you are literally the greatest human being ever born in world history to be able to carry on like that.
So who was the most humble president? None other than Millard Fillmore, one of the many Whig presidents who presided over a divided America in the years before the Civil War. Among other things, Fillmore was an apprentice to a cloth-maker when he was young — a humbling job if ever there was one.
But here's the thing, aka TEEN LESSON TIME. You might think that being all humble means that Millard Fillmore was a great president. But he was a SUPER-awful president. Like, really bad. A survey a few years back named him the 5th-worst president in history. Here's what that survey said:
A largely ignored vice president, he got Taylor's attention when he told him he would support the Compromise of 1850 if the Senate came to a deadlock. Consisting of five separate acts (including the Fugitive Slave Law, compelling the federal government to return fugitive slaves to their masters), the compromise stood for everything Taylor opposed. When the ailing president died, his successor became an even more vigorous champion of the compromise measures. Fillmore's actions may have averted a national crisis and postponed the outbreak of the Civil War, but it was peace bought at an unconscionable price. Two decades after the notorious deal, the New York Times opined that it was Fillmore's "misfortune to see in slavery a political and not a moral question." Misfortune might now seem too kind a word.
OK, so, maybe super-humble's not the way to go. But what about LBJ???
Well, maybe super-narcissistic's not the best way either. Johnson got a lot done, but he also dragged America into the Vietnam War, which was an unbelievable moral and political disaster. The war made him so unpopular that he was forced to withdraw from his own re-election campaign.
What do we take away from all of this? Maybe that it doesn't really matter too much if you're a giant egomaniac or a shy wallflower. It's your actions that will determine whether you lead the country into triumph or tragedy.
Next time on President's Korner: What Happened To The Presidential Beard?