11 February 2009 O-bam-ahhhhhhh

("ahhhhhhh" as in the sound you make after drinking lemonade, not what you would say if chased by an ax murderer or any other multitude of menacing characters.)

In early January a huge sigh of relief was released by... well... most of the world as President Bush thumbed it out of Washington and Barack Obama was sworn in (kinda) to office. We have a lot of hope for this guy — hell, that is what he campaigned on — but you can't do anything with just hope. Well, except hope more, I guess. We at Taste No Evil want to help out, and while we were passed over for a Cabinet seat (so far — we still have our fingers crossed! — which makes typing difficult) we still thought we would lend a hand and help the new guy get his footing. We thought about giving some advice, but advice this good doesn't come free, so instead we thought we would give him a piece of advice from each of our last 43 presidents and wait for our appointment to Secretary of Awesome to come in the mail to give him the good stuff.

Without further ado: take it from the top!

1. George Washington

Don't tell a lie

Don't get between France and Britain

Become only the second President to be inaugurated twice... done and done! Sometimes these "oaths" don't take the first time through; it is like the scanner at the supermarket, you don't want to get to 2010 and have an alarm go off while Obama is trying to walk through those sliding doors and suddenly to realize that the US hasn't had a president for the past two years. No, he didn't steal something, I swear! (Is that racist?) [Ed.: Yes.]

2. John Adams

John Adams said while he was vice president (one guess to whom): "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Congratulations, Mr. Biden!

Also: it is always in your best interest not to deal with France.

3. Thomas Jefferson

We would love to say that Obama is the first President to hook up with a black chick in the White House, and while history may suggest that he is the first... genealogists have a different idea. But who believes in science, anyway? (Answer: Jefferson)

4. James Madison

One president thus far has gotten the White House burned to the ground — and we are not saying that Obama is going to start a fire — BUT no one wants to be the second guy to do that. Once is history, twice is just silly. Make sure you unplug your toasters and curling irons (yes, he has multiples of both!) at night and don't leave candles burning while you sleep. It might be just the thing to get Michelle in the mood but come on! That is just common sense.

5. James Monroe

Proved (and proved again by George W. Bush) that anyone can get a doctrine named after them. Doctrines are like stars: with the right paper trail, anyone can claim to have one named after them (a doctrine doesn't cost $40 though — just your soul). Make sure you get a cool doctrine — Bush's doctrine has something to do with choking on a pretzel (also a form of torture), Clinton's had something to do with swallowing (no blue dress issue if that happens!), and the first Bush's had something to do with throwing up. We can do better!

6. John Quincy Adams

Was the first person to really bring the country together through a road and canal system (for some of our younger readers: a canal is a man-made river to be used for the movement of goods powered by a donkey named Sal). Lesson to learn: always have a donkey around... oh, and don't mess with Andrew Jackson.

7. Andrew Jackson

"Don't mess with Andrew Jackson" is still a good rule to live by.

8. Martin Van Buren

Van Buren was elected during the worst financial crisis of our country (at the time) caused by a pigheaded previous president; he continued that president's financial practices. We really don't see any lessons to learn from him except to get a cool double last name. Barack Van Obama... no, that just sounds like a moving company.

9. William Henry Harrison

Two things. (1.) Harrison kicked a lot of Indian (feather not dot) ass, making room for new territories for us whiteys to manifest destiny ourselves into. Maybe it is time to kick some Indian (dot not feather) ass again (kinda) and get some new land to exploit. I bet they would love some shiny beads or fire water... maybe we should just throw them an Oscar or two. [Ed.: Also racist.] (2.) Don't die in office (please) — at least not to pneumonia, which is a really lame way to go out.

10. John Tyler

I know, I totally thought that said John Taylor too!

11. James Knox Polk

Mexico is a pushover, take what you want from them and they really won't put up much of a fight. Also, as quoted from his MySpace page on the White House website: "Polk, leaving office with his health undermined from hard work, died in June 1849." Take-home lesson: don't work too hard!

12. Zachary Taylor

When you are at the top of your game after hits like Home Improvement and Man of the House, don't go back to college and the "real world." The real world sucks! Go do coke with Lindsay Lohan!

13. Millard Fillmore

We had a conservative drunk-driving duck as our president?

14. Franklin Pierce

A New Hampshire native and Bowdoin College graduate. What can't you learn from this guy? He is a man who almost did a lot of things but didn't. If only everyone could almost be that good!

15. James Buchanan

A big fan of the ostrich, The Buch Man (as his friends like to call him) avoided doing anything real while in office. He would suggest sticking your head into soft sand and covering your ass... two hands there, big guy.

16. Abraham Lincoln

Don't go to the theater. 'Nuf said.

17. Andrew Johnson

Mr. President, you can learn nothing from this man.

18. Ulysses S. Grant

Appoint someone with guts and brains to hold any hill you want held... and make sure they have bayonets. Bayonets are key. The South falls for the bayonet charge every time.

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

Having a unique name gives you a leg up... unless your middle name is Hussein... might we suggest Barack Rutherford Obama?

20. James Garfield

Loved lasagna and picking on his dumb dog. Make sure there is a cat in the Oval Office... hopefully voiced by Bill Murray. That man is a riot! Who gets pulled over for drunk driving in a golf cart? :P (Answer: Millard Fillmore)

21. Chester Arthur

Chester! We elected someone named Chester? The 1880's must have been a rocking time in the US of A.

22. Grover Cleveland

Following in a long line of puppets in the President's office, Grover was brought to us by the letters B, Q, @ and the number !. He also got married in office. Talk about a great pickup line! "Hey baby, I'm the president of America, want to come back to my place." (Note: it was not a typing error to not have a ? at the end of that sentence. It wasn't a question.)

23. Benjamin Harrison

We really don't think this guy did anything but be president and get a lot of people mad at him... I think as a rule, though, you can't be president and not have almost half the country mad at you for one reason or another (probably another).

24. Grover Cleveland

Who wouldn't elect a blue furry monster to office again? Barry: Biden may be a bit Muppet-like, but see if you can get that giant eagle, Sam, to run with you next time around. What is more presidential than a giant eagle? NOTHING! And you would be sure to get the 2–8 year voting block that is so crucial.

25. William McKinley

As a political move, get someone to name a mountain after you. Then you could get a cool nickname like "The Summit" or "Old Bald Top" ...or... well, something like that. Of course, then the mountain would have to be renamed to your nickname. It is a confusing process — forget we brought it up. So I guess what you can learn from McKinley is: any time you can destroy the entire Spanish fleet (or armada, as the Brits like to call it), make that happen!

26. Theodore Roosevelt

Rosey or Teddy, as his friends didn't call him, rode with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War and was one of the best self-promoters in American history. In his autobiography he claimed to have killed every big game animal known to man (except the polar bear, which Bush tried to make up for by killing all of them while he was in office). As a political move, we would not suggest killing more large, furry cuddly animals than you can help. His favorite quote, "speak softly but carry a big stick," could set us up for all sorts of suggestive jokes... but we are better than that!

27. William Howard Taft

Stay in shape... once you let yourself go in office, you really let go!

28. Woodrow Wilson

Promised to keep us out of World War I (just know as the World War at that point, as the second World War had only been predicted by Nostradamus and had not taken place), but then decided to join up because... well... we just kinda had to kick ass. Sometimes you gotta do the right thing and sometimes the right thing is bringing a big stick to the table, if you know what I mean.

29. Warren Harding

An admirer began to promote Harding for the 1920 Republican nomination because, he later explained, "He looked like a President." — wow, good thing that wasn't taken into consideration for Obama, he doesn't look anything like Teddy.

30. Calvin Coolidge

The only guy ever to be sworn into office while in Vermont was noted for his special type of political genius as follows: "The political genius of President Coolidge was his talent for effectively doing nothing." That is some good nothing! Another great thing about him is this awesome quote from his wife (pound dog time, Michelle): "A young woman sitting next to Coolidge at a dinner party confided to him she had bet she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, 'You lose.'" I always thought a president should just be seen and not heard.

31. Herbert Hoover

Famous for his ability to pick up dust and dirt, Hoover kept the White House meticulously clean — a good policy for anyone receiving guests, like NFL Champions the Pittsburg Steelers, or Bono.

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Take note of this guy! Pulled our country out of a pretty good Depression... OK, it was Great. He had the New Deal; we need a Newer Deal. Newer is better, ask GM.

33. Harry S Truman

Owned a haberdashery (yeah, we don't know what that is) before becoming vice president and dropping large bombs on small bad drivers who are really good at math (I know, terrible Asian joke, but they totally started it by bombing Pearl Harbor). [Ed.: Strike three.] Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do to end a war you may not have gotten yourself into — not that we are saying to use a nuke to destroy the Middle East — just remember that you have them.

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

"I like Ike!" WOW, who came up with that? Get that person a beer. Created an "atoms for peace" program — which was the loan of American uranium to "have-not" nations for peaceful purposes. Ummmm, yeah, hand up over here! Question. Who thought that was a good idea? Let's hold on to our uranium moving forward, ok?

35. John F. Kennedy

You know, maybe it's just me, but I don't understand why everyone thought he was so hot? And if Cuba EVER tries to pull crap like that again, we should bitchslap them into the Cayman Islands. And I can tell you one thing NOT to learn from him...

36. Lyndon Johnson

Married a woman with the name "Lady Bird". What was she? A cartoon character? (Answer: yes.) Get Michelle a cool nickname.

37. Richard Nixon

a.k.a. Tricky Dick. Don't record your phone calls, friendly conversations, political assassinations, or snuff films. Always good rules to live by, I think.

38. Gerald Ford

Ford looked a lot like the painting that comes to life in Ghost Busters II. ... Oh right, advice? Here's a piece of it that Ford followed, particularly in one case: forgiveness is a virtue.

39. James Carter

Jimbo! This peanut farmer is still kicking around and solving the world's problems. The big take-away from this though is that peanuts are trying to kill us and need to be stopped.

40. Ronald Reagan

Did this guy do anything that Republicans don't think is awesome? If he took a shit in a bag and called it foreign policy, the Republicans would be hoisting tent poles just at the thought of sniffing it. Reform the dialogue that is taking place in politics — this guy has us speaking the wrong language.

41. George H. W. Bush

The tree the apple fell from. Pals around with Bill Clinton. Best learn from him and keep Bill close by so he doesn't do anything silly.

42. William J. Clinton

If you are going to hook up with an intern, make sure she's worth it. That whole scandal thing wouldn't have happened if Monica was hot... there would just have been a lot more high fives. (Note: we are not condoning infidelity. We think that is totally a bummer and very hurtful to many people, but if you are going to do it, at least make it worth it! If she looks at the girl and says "OK, I can understand at least why it happened," that is a leg to stand on.) (Note: not a leg you can stand on in court or the Senate)

43. George W. Bush

Still hitting my head against the wall to forget that we made this mistake... twice. It was like our nation got drunk, hooked up with an ugly chick/dude on a Friday night, regretted it, then got drunk and did THE SAME THING on Saturday night. Just dumb. OK, breathe... breathe... Barry, take what this guy did and don't do that. Lesson learned.

OK, President Obama... go fix everything!