Presidential Hotness — Serious Ruminations on a Silly Subject

Earlier this week, the website Hottest Heads of State served up The Presidents of the United States In Order of Hotness.

It’s awful. It’s understandable, but it’s awful.

Stick with me here. As a fan of history, I could be offended by the shallowness of discussing the physical attributes of the aspirants to, and winners of, the presidency. But we’ve spent over five score and ten (that’s 110 years for the non-Lincoln fans) since the dawn of the Golden Age of Photojournalism, and we’ve had nightly television news for over 60 years. And do we really need to talk about 24-hour cable news coverage?

In an era when serious pollsters discuss whether they’d feel comfortable “going out for a beer” with a candidate for the presidency, certainly at some level, the aesthetic appeal of a presidential aspirant is an issue. Truly unphotogenic or untelegenic people probably stand a far lesser chance of attaining the presidency. Such is the shallowness of our modern republic.

This is why Scandal‘s Fitzgerald Grant is so believable as the object of the affections of Olivia Pope (and Mellie, and Paris Gellar between Liza Weill’s stints on Gilmore Girls and How To Get Away With Murder). Hell, when Buzzfeed wrote 16 Reasons We Love Fitzgerald Grant III, right at #1 was “First and foremost, he is smoking hot!” Well, duh.


Next, I could find the idea of judging anyone by physical attributes related to sexual appeal to be reprehensible. But, as a feminist, I can be tongue-in-cheek appreciative that in the case of these 43 office-holders (remember, Grover Cleveland held it twice, non-consecutively), we’re treating men as sex objects. Call me hypocritical, but I can live with that, especially since thirty-nine of them have gone on to the great beyond.

No, my issue with Hottest Heads of State’s ranking of the American presidents by hotness is that they got it so very wrong in so many ways!

  • Franklin Pierce as #1? I mean, this guy was a huge anti-abolitionist — and bigotry is not hot. Historians consider him one of the worst presidents in American history. Also not hot. But at best, how can they figure this face is the hottest of them all?


  • Meanwhile, poor, sweet Gerald Ford, who had a few nationally televised (intellectual and physical) bumbles was a perfectly nice, incredibly white bread guy, and while the blog acknowledges his youthful attractiveness, they rank him as 36th. I mean, I wouldn’t rank him in the top 5, but that close to the bottom? C’mon, does this face really make girls invent excuses to visit their sick grandmothers?


  • Ulysses S. Grant ranks 6th — whatever your political bent, can you really see this Grant ranking in hotness above our slender, faithful, six-pack-possessing, basketball-playing, perfect-teeth-smiling current world leader? Who really wishes to claim drunken, smelly, bearded Grant, pictured here in younger, pre-presidential years, as just outside the top 5?


  • I’m definitely no fan of the Bush dynasty, but even as a dispassionate observer, I can tell that there’s all kinds of cray-cray in saying man-child W is hotter than former CIA Director GHWB. Smart is sexy, and putting the war-mongering, pretzel-choking, malaproprist son at #10 and the flawed but stalwart war-hero father at #23 is just ridiculous. I mean, thinking of either as hot is difficult for me, but can they really believe this:


is hotter than this?:


There are many things that go into calculating the hotness of someone, notwithstanding the arguable impropriety of publicly judging someone’s sexual appeal at all. There’s physical stature and bearing, good hair and teeth, intellect and wit, ethics and valor. Unfortunately, we’ve got very little first- or even second-hand knowledge of most of these men, so we’re basing our opinions on static photos and subjectively-rendered paintings.

But Abigail Adams famously loved to romp through Cupid’s Grove with John (and don’t tell me that’s only the imaginings of 1776, because of I’ve read their letters!) and my presidential boyfriend does not deserve to be dead last! And you certainly can’t tell me that my beloved Mr. Adams deserves to be eight positions lower than Zachary Taylor!


All this aside, Hottest Heads of State is a funny blog, and I recommend people visit, if only to familiarize themselves with who the world leaders are, especially of smaller or less-known nations. Meanwhile, don’t expect me to join the Franklin Pierce fan club.

Published in: on February 23, 2015 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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