Friday, January 12, 2018

Presidents of the United States – "Lump" (1995)

She’s lump
She’s lump
She’s lump
She might be dead

In the previous 2 or 3 lines, you learned that President Trump is and always has been a teetotaler, while Barack Obama prefers beer but will drink just about anything.

What about the other Presidents?  What did they drink?

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According to Mark Will-Weber, the author of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking,  Abraham Lincoln was the president other than President Trump who drank the least.

Presidents Hayes, Taft, (Benjamin) Harrison, and Coolidge also were light drinkers.

All of those men were Republicans.  (Is that mere coincidence?  I think not.)

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Americans who lived two hundred years ago drank about three times as much alcohol per capita as current-day Americans.  So it’s no surprise that most of our early Presidents were fairly serious drinkers.

George Washington made whiskey at Mount Vernon, but didn’t drink it himself.  The “Father of His Country” preferred a dark, sweet porter made by a Philadelphia brewer and Madeira – a potent fortified wine from Portugal that contains quite a bit more alcohol than regular wine.  

According to one of his biographers, Washington often drank three glasses of Madeira in the course of an evening.  (A visitor to Mount Vernon in 1785 reported that Washington got “quite merry” after knocking back a few glasses of wine.)

John Adams had Puritan roots, but he enjoyed rum, whiskey, Madeira, sherry, beer (especially that Philadelphia porter that Washington also favored) and hard cider.  From the time he was a 16-year-old Harvard student, Adams started off his days with a generous tot of hard cider, which he described as “refreshing and salubrious.”

Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of French wine.  He bought so much of it, in fact, that he almost bankrupted himself.

James Madison and James Monroe were champagne aficionados.  The story goes that Monroe’s agent ordered 1200 bottles of Burgundy and Champagne and charged it to an account intended to buy new furniture for the White House (which the British had burned down in 1814). 

By contrast, Andrew Jackson wasn’t a fancy-pants French wine drinker.  He preferred whiskey, as did Martin Van Buren.

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Franklin Pierce, who died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 65, was reportedly our drunkest President.  But Andrew Johnson gave him a run for his money.  (Johnson even showed up drunk for his 1865 vice-presidential inauguration.)

Franklin Pierce bobblehead
James Garfield was first and foremost a beer drinker, as was Grover Cleveland.  (Cleveland and a friend once pledged to limit their consumption to four beers a day.  They were able to stick to that pledge, but only by switching to somewhat more capacious beer steins.)

Teddy Roosevelt was a fan of mint juleps.  He got the mint for his favorite libation from the White House garden.

Franklin D. Roosevelt drank a variety of cocktails – martinis, Manhattans, and something called a “Bermuda Rum Swizzle” (basically rum with lime juice and orange juice). 

Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, was a bourbon drinker.  In fact, he often knocked down a shot of bourbon when he rose in the morning.  

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JFK drank like the Ivy Leaguer he was – daiquiris, Bloody Marys, and Heinekens (which was the choice of beer snobs back in the day).

LBJ loved Scotch.  He would drink it out of a plastic cup while he drove visitors around his Texas ranch.  When his cup was empty, he would hand it to a Secret Service agent, who would refill it for him.

Richard Nixon liked expensive Bordeaux wine.  He served cheaper stuff to his guests, instructing his staff to wrap towels around the bottles as they poured it so the labels couldn’t be seen.

President Nixon and Soviet leader
Brezhnev getting hammered
Not surprisingly, Jimmy Carter wasn’t a big drinker.  When he attended a summit meeting with Soviet leaders, he sipped from a glass of white wine when the obligatory toasts were made instead of downing shots of vodka like the Russians.

Bill Clinton seems to have been more interested in junk food than alcohol, but he reportedly drank “Snakebites” – half hard cider, half lager – when he attended Oxford University in England.

The younger George Bush drank a lot when he was young, but went on the wagon long before he became President.

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Most of the bands from Seattle that were popular in the 1990s – e.g., Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarten, and Alice in Chains recorded songs that were depressing as all get out. 

But the music of the Presidents of the United States, which has been described as “carefree” and “happy-go-lucky,” was very different.

Here’s the official music video for “Lump,” which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola’s son Roman (who also directed music videos for Green Day, Daft Punk, Moby, Fatboy Slim, the Strokes, and the Vines):

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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