A list of what Randall perceives will be the prettiest presidential middle names after the inauguration on January 20, 2021. Joe Robinette Biden (46th president-elect) will take the second slot bumping previous second-place holder Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president, back to third. Warren Gamaliel Harding, the 29th president, remains in first. Robinette is Biden's grandmother's maiden name.
The title text announces that Rutherford Birchard Hayes, the 19th president, remains at or near the bottom.
Overall, the ranking would not include every president, as many early presidents, such as George Washington and John Adams, lacked middle names. Some presidents were also more commonly known by their middle names as opposed to their first names, particularly John Calvin Coolidge, Stephen Grover Cleveland, Hiram Ulysses Grant, and Thomas Woodrow Wilson. In the case of Grant, the Senator who enrolled him at West Point messed up his full name as Ulysses Simpson Grant, hence he is widely known as Ulysses S. Grant with the spurious middle "S". Also, Harry S Truman's middle name was just the letter S and was not an initial of a name; Truman's parents could not agree on which of his grandfathers' names to give him, but luckily they both started with the letter. One president has even changed their entire name: Gerald Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., officially changing his name in 1935.
There is no evidence in the comic for how Randall’s list would deal with these cases.
The humor is based on the sheer oddity of ranking people by the perceived prettiness of their obscure middle names.
Raphael Gamaliel Warnock became a U.S. senator in January 2021, a hundred years and a week after former president Warren Gamaliel Harding left the Senate. Randall’s favourite presidential middle name is thus once again represented in government.
List of Presidents with middle names
(updated for 2021, as the comic)
(Ordered by middle name)
|| Presidential order
|James ABRAM Garfield
|Chester ALAN Arthur
|Lyndon BAINES Johnson
|Rutherford BIRCHARD Hayes
|John CALVIN Coolidge
|Herbert CLARK Hoover
|Dwight DAVID Eisenhower
|Franklin DELANO Roosevelt
|James ("Jimmy") EARL Carter
|John ("Jack") FITZGERALD Kennedy
|Warren GAMALIEL Harding
|Stephen GROVER Cleveland
|William HENRY Harrison
|George HERBERT WALKER Bush
|William HOWARD Taft
|Barack HUSSEIN Obama
|William JEFFERSON Clinton
|Donald JOHN Trump
|James KNOX Polk
|Richard MILHOUS Nixon
|John QUINCY Adams
|Joseph ("Joe") ROBINETTE Biden
|Gerald RUDOLPH Ford
|Harry S. Truman
|Hiram ULYSSES Grant (Ulysses SIMPSON Grant during his presidency)
|George WALKER Bush
|Ronald WILSON Reagan
|Thomas WOODROW Wilson
The Presidents without middle names — almost all of those before Grant, and a few a bit later — were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt.
- Presidential Middle Names Official Rankings
- (Updated for 2021)
- Gamaliel (Warren Harding)
- Robinette (Joe Biden) (NEW!)
- Delano (Franklin Roosevelt)
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I wonder where Hussein comes in in the official rankings. Orion205 (talk) 04:16, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- I got a few of my friends to help me rank all of the presidents' middle names semi-democratically. Hussein came in at 4th. It would have been third if I hadn't exercised my veto powers as official list-writer to give Robinette third place over their objections--22.214.171.124 00:32, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
Gamaliel sounds like an Elvish name...126.96.36.199 05:03, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- No, it's a highwayman. 188.8.131.52 10:54, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- I thought it sounds like an angel or daemon name. Barmar (talk) 02:14, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
- I would assume his parents were thinking about someone a bit nicer. Perhaps Raban Gamaliel, a famous Jewish sage, major contributor to the Talmud and Christian saint (in some churches). Shamino (talk) 13:57, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
For the record, this was his paternal grandmother's maiden name. RAGBRAIvet (talk) 09:18, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
My understanding of the title text is that Hayes was previously in 3rd position, but has been demoted to 4th and no longer appears in the top 3, not that he is at the bottom of the list.184.108.40.206 09:39, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- The title text literally says "The bottom of the list". How can you read that as not meaning "the bottom of the list"??? 220.127.116.11 10:44, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- Though I don't read it as this, you could take it as two separate statements:
- "The bottom of the list remains unchanged." <- there has been no shuffling at the 'worst' end.
- "Poor Rutherford Birchard Hayes." <- alas! For he has been shuffled out of the top three!
- Looking at the entire list of middle names with an arbitrary eye for 'Prettiness', I would definitely put "Birchard" in the bottom half, probably bottom handful, possibly indeed the bottom slot. But then I'd do much the same for "Fitzgerald" too. (That's on a 'prettiest' scale that is pleasant/ugly, not a decorative/plain axis, just so you know. And does contain subjectivities like Werty22's interpretation of "Delano".) 18.104.22.168 14:27, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- The list also literally only includes the top three, so my initial interpretation of the title text was that Hayes was previously in the 2nd position but is now off the list... perhaps due to a re-evaluation of the 'prettiness' of "Birchard". This would leave the bottom of the list (i.e. No. 3) unchanged.
- I interpret "the list" as being the complete ranking, and he's just showing the top of the leaderboard. Since I think that Burchard could hardly be #4. Too bad this isn't a continuation of a series that he updates every time we elect a new POTUS, so we could see what it actually was previously. Barmar (talk) 02:14, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
I think someone needs to do a survey; maybe run a bracket or something, to see if public opinion matches Randall's list. Angel (talk) 11:33, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- This is a great idea.
Anyone anything meaningful to add? I think we can remove the incomplete-tag, no? Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 12:21, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- I "completed" it. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:38, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
I just wanted to say that Delano in Spanish sounds like "del ano" which means "from the anus". Not sure that was intended, but it's pretty funny. Werty22 (talk) 13:00, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
Does anyone else think Randall's jumping the gun a bit? I mean, I acknowledge that President-Elect Biden becoming President next month is by far more likely than any other scenario, but it still feels wrong to assume it's going to happen. (Also, I believe "Quincy", "Ulysses", and "Baines" should round out the current top five.) Mathmannix (talk) 13:55, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- lol 22.214.171.124 20:00, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- Since it's not yet 2021, yet the title says "Updated for 2021", I see this as a seeing-into-the-future piece, along one particular timeline. John.Adriaan (talk) 01:56, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
I figured it was important to add Harry Truman, since he does in fact have a middle name, even though it is only one letter long. Easwaran (talk) 18:23, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- That probably makes his the coolest, even if it's not the prettiest. Shamino (talk) 18:30, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
Should this comic be added to the "rankings" category? Hamjudo (talk) 20:44, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
Just riffing on the idea of middle names. My father, Sam, had no middle name but routinely filled in forms that asked for a middle name with the letter E. He reasoned that made sense since people often called him Sammy, and he could never resist an opportunity to tell a joke. On the other hand, my middle initial is J and my middle name is Jay. Go figure. Rtanenbaum (talk) 21:56, 3 December 2020 (UTC)
- My father also had no middle name, but used A whenever a form insisted on needing a middle initial. I don't remember why, and he's not around any more to ask. Barmar (talk) 02:14, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
- When working at a particular job where various industry memberships and subscriptions were expected to be partaken of, for 'networking' reasons, I took the opportunity (lacking any 'middle' name) of registering as "Firstname A Lastname", "Firstname B Lastname", etc, per occasion. It was interesting to track and correlate what other unsolicited junk turned up with clear indication of where my details had come from. Mostly as personal entertainment, admitedly. 126.96.36.199 02:48, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
Surely Bush does not have a middle name, or do we apply the rule for calculating medians and average the two giving Berwal. 188.8.131.52
- Why would that not be Bertwal? (Although Berwal is prettier.) And wouldn't a single Bush middle name be Walker? That is the middle of the three internal names of the two Presidents Bush. (George Herbert Walker Bush + George Walker Bush => Herbert Walker Walker => Walker)DaBunny42 (talk) 13:08, 4 December 2020 (UTC)