James ‘Bucky’ Buchanan
Backstory: If we’re putting the appropriate Beltway spin on this, we’d have to say that there is something to being the best at being the worst. Depending on who’s making the list, Bucky often comes dead last in the ranking of former chief executives… and yes, that list includes George Dubya. Born in Pennsylvania in 1791, the Buckster served in just about every administrative/legislative position–from ambassador to senator to Secretary of State–until finally rising to his level of incompetence as the 15th prez of the Good Ol’ U. S. of A. His legacy probably wasn’t helped by the Civil War that followed his single term of office, nor the political giant whose shoes Buchanan could never fill–the Man from Springfield… and no, not Homer Simpson. While serving, Bucky was known mostly for his many failures and missed opportunities as the country became increasingly fractured and lurched ever closer to a war between the states. As a political leader, he was the sum of his shortcomings, but as a cultural symbol he might, in the long run, fare better. For you see, not only was he the only bachelor president, but he also might be the first homosexual chief executive. The evidence? His thirteen-year ever-so-close relationship with Frank Pierce’s VP, William Rufus King, a ‘live-together’ union that only ended with Bill’s death. President Andy Jackson, of $20 bill fame, called the two ‘Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy,’ which does very little to dispel the rumors. Bucky did court a woman in his youth; a Pennsylvania socialite who would later die mysteriously just after Buchanan broke off the engagement. But that was perhaps the only verifiable romantic liaison he ever had with a woman.
What we learn: History can be a harsh mistress, especially when you’re the guy holding the bag the moment the s**t hits the fan, or some such mixture of metaphors.