A shock: Barack Obama isn't already in the top ten. A bigger shock? Our choice ranks #32?!?!)
He's not on any American currency, there are no monuments to him in Washington (though you can stay at a Bed and Breakfast named after him while visting). Most American History classes pretty much ignore his administration. He never even won an election.
But looking at him now, it's clear that America could use another Chester A. Arthur. Elevated to the Presidency upon the assassination of James Garfield, Arthur enacted policies that pissed off both Democrats and Republicans...
Heard of The Pendleton Act? Chester Arthur signed that law that...get this...actually required government appointees to show some level of competence before they get appointed. No more cronyism. While The Pendleton Act is still allegedly in effect, clearly our current administration doesn't pay much attention to it.
Arthur also enacted our nation's first immigration law:
The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and lunatics. Congress suspended Chinese immigration for ten years, later making the restriction permanent.
Now that's an immigration policy I can get behind. Not the part about the Chinese...but excluding paupers, criminals and lunatics. You poor? Sorry, you're not bringing your destitution here to leech off our social services. Criminal? Get your gang-bangin' ass back to El Salvador. Lunatic? If you came from a country that thinks that a child-molester is a prophet...
Got a little pork in that bill you got through Congress? You couldn't get that past Chet Arthur:
The extravagant expenditure of public money is an evil not to be measured by the value of that money to the people who are taxed for it.
Because Arthur decided to actually look out for the American people and failed to hire Republican cronies, Arthur didn't even get his party's nomination in the 1884 election. Not that he particularly wanted it. See...the dude was dying and wouldn't have even made it through the first year of his second term. And before you think I am being disrespectful for calling him "dude"...well, dude...his nickname was The Dude President.
My favorite author Samuel Clemens said this about my favorite Arthur:
I am but one in 55,000,000; still, in the opinion of this one-fifty-five millionth of the country's population, it would be hard to better President Arthur's administration.
Happy Presidents Day, Chester A. Arthur. Mt. Rushmore should have had space for ya...
Updated: Think Barack Obama has a questionable background? Check out this piece on the mystery man that was Chester Arthur: