• Laurel Contributor

Presidential Side Hustles

by Donna Rhodes

All of our presidents had a side hustle. Some fared better than others.

America’s Presidents are a motley crew coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. Here are a few of the more interesting:

Andrew Jackson was a military courier at the age of 13. He certainly knew how to deliver.

Abe Lincoln was a licensed bartender. As a lawyer, he not only passed the bar, he owned one.

Andrew Johnson was a tailor. He may not have been our most memorable president, but he looked stunning.

James Garfield managed mules on the Erie Canal, which was great training for dealing with Congress.

Benjamin Harrison, a Court Courier, yelled for a living before his Presidency.

Grover Cleveland was an executioner. While serving as sheriff in Erie County, New York, he hanged two criminals. Don’t mess with Grover.

Warren Harding was a newspaperman. Before his scandalous presidential term, he had a sterling rep as editor (and owner at the age of 18) of The Morning Star, where fake news was unheard-of. Coolidge was a lawyer, a governor, and a toy-maker, crafting doll carriages for the Ludlow Toy Manufacturing Company in his free time. Maybe they called him Silent Cal because it was awkward to confess he made baby doll toys.

Herbert Hoover worked as a geologist and mining engineer, exploring gold fields in Western Australia. In politics, it’s useful to know how to dig yourself out of holes.

In case you wondered what Harry Truman had under his hat, it was a haberdashery in Kansas City. A recession put an end to that, so the next best thing was politics.

Lyndon Johnson was a shoe-shiner and a goat-herder. He knew how to hoof-it from the Congressional steps to the White House gates. Dick Nixon ran the Slippery Gulch Carnival Wheel of Fortune game booth and worked as a cotton pickin’ chicken plucker. I’ll say no more about that.

Gerald Ford was a darn good Yellowstone Park Ranger ,where he worked as an armed guard on the truck that fed the bears. And, yes, he was smarter than the average bear. Jimmy Carter, a Georgia peanut grower and nuclear engineer, did his best, but Washington was even nuttier than his farm.

Ronald Reagan was a circus worker (at age 14), a lifeguard, and an actor. When he wasn’t entertaining he was rescuing, two essential talents for the man in charge. Bill Clinton was a grocer and a comic book salesman. He knew the Essentials of Life: Snacks and Superheroes.

George W. Bush was an oilman and part owner of the Texas Rangers. At the turn of the 21st Century, if you understood oil and football, you were a shoe-in.

Which brings us to current times and a President who was a reality show host.

Look how far we’ve come.

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