News & comments posted organically
Report spam & abuse home page

Salacious, slightly obscene slogans of past presidential campaigns

By Curt Anderson
February 11, 2020 12:33 am
Category: History
(5.0 from 1 vote)

The posted rules of the Post
Rate this article
(5=best, 0=poor)
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
0 Stars

1852: "We Polked You in '44,
We Shall Pierce You in '52."

Voters didn't know much about Democrat Franklin Pierce when he headed into the 1852 election, so Pierce decided to cast himself as the rightful heir to popular ex-president James K. Polk. The pun on their names seemed to have worked. At least it didn't hurt: Pierce decisively defeated his Whig opponent, Winfield Scott.

Pierce's presidency was an unhappy one. It started out in the worst way imaginable. His wife and their only son 11-year-old Benjamin were involved a train crash shortly before Pierce's inauguration. Their train car derailed and rolled down an embankment near Andover, Massachusetts. Young Benjamin was crushed to death, his body nearly decapitated. Both Pierce and his wife witnessed the gruesome event.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pierce drank heavily while president. Quite possibly because of his alcohol abuse, his presidency was unsuccessful. Pierce had expected to be renominated for a second term. However, his party had other ideas. Pierce's loss marked the only time in U.S. history that an elected president who was an active candidate for reelection was not nominated for a second term. He died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1869.

1856: We Po'ked 'em in '44,
We Pierced 'em in '52,
And we'll "Buck 'em" in '56.

James Buchanan evidently liked the Pierce's campaign slogan pun, and decided to recycle it by adding a third line referring to his nickname, "Buck". (See image below)

Buchanan was America's only bachelor president and many have speculated our only gay president.

Buchanan was known to have had one relationship with a woman. Buchanan became engaged to Ann Coleman, the 23-year-old daughter of a wealthy iron magnate. Supposedly the strain of work caused Buchanan to neglect his betrothed, Coleman broke off the engagement, and she died shortly thereafter of what her physician described as "hysterical convulsions." Rumors were that she had committed suicide. For Buchanan’s part, he later claimed that he entered politics as "a distraction from my great grief." Buchanan also claimed he could never love another woman, which apparently was true.

Years later, while the both were members of Congress, Buchanan and William Rufus de Vane King, another confirmed bachelor, shared a long-time, intimate friendship and quarters in Washington, DC. Buchanan called their relationship a "communion". Rufus was referred as his "better half," "his wife," and "Aunt Fancy." Upon King's appointment as minister to France, Buchanan wrote: "I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentleman, but have not succeeded with any of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners from me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection."

1920: Cox and Cocktails

"Cox and Cocktails" was a slur used by presidential candidate Warren Harding. (See image below) Harding was running against James M. Cox. As a US senator, Harding voted for the Eighteenth Amendment which imposed the prohibition of alcohol. As difficult as it may be to believe, Prohibition was actually popular 100 years ago. The implication of "Cox and Cocktails" was that Cox opposed prohibition. This was hypocritical on two levels.

Firstly, it was hypocritical because Harding was drinker. According to a White House staffer, Elizabeth Jaffray and others, Harding often enjoyed Scotch and soda while playing cards with his cronies. They were violating the 18th Amendment in the White House. Many of Harding's drinking and card playing buddies became embroiled in the infamous Teapot Dome bribery scandal.

Secondly, whatever his personal beliefs may have been, as Ohio governor Cox signed every piece of legislation on prohibition enforcement which passed the legislature. According to a contemporary biographer, Roger W. Babson, in Cox, The Man, "Cox stood for a less rigid prohibition program" than his radically dry opponent in a gubernatorial election.

In the 1920 election, Harding and his running mate, Calvin Coolidge, soundly defeated Cox and his running mate, young Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Cox was the only one of those four who never served as president. But life turned out well for Cox. He outlived Harding, Coolidge and Roosevelt and became a rich man.

After stepping down from public service, he concentrated on building a large media conglomerate, Cox Enterprises which exists to this day. Cox Enterprises, Inc. is a privately held global conglomerate headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, with approximately 55,000 employees and $21 billion in total revenue. Its major operating subsidiaries are Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. The company's major national brands include AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book and more.

1928: Vote for Al Smith and make your wet dreams come true.
In 1928, the battle over Prohibition pitted the "Wets" versus the "Drys". Smith and the Democrats favored the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. The more sober Republicans opposed repeal. (See image below)

It seems unlikely that the coiners of Smith's slogan were aware of the alternate meaning and intentionally used it as a suggestive double entendre in a presidential campaign. But it seems that Smith's advertising team should have known. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the first known use of term "wet dream" to mean nocturnal emission was in 1851.

1948: Dew-it-with Dewey
In 1948, the Governor of New York, Thomas E Dewey, put "Dew-it-with-Dewey," on a t-shirt which may be the earliest recorded printed shirt. (See image below) The Smithsonian museum has the t-shirt its collection.

Maybe the "Dew it" line was a unconscious overreaction to a cutting remark attributed to witty socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, in the 1944 election. She mocked Dewey as "the little man on the wedding cake" alluding to his neat mustache and dapper dress. It was ridicule he could never shake.

In 1948 Dewey ran a cautious, vague campaign because of his experience as a presidential candidate in 1944. He lost to FDR in a partisan, mudslinging affair. Speech after speech was filled with empty statements of the obvious, such as the famous quote: "You know that your future is still ahead of you." An editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal summed it up:
No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.

The pollsters and pundits were practically universal in their predictions of a Dewey victory. The election ended with Harry Truman jubilantly holding up a Chicago newspaper emblazoned with the now-legendary and erroneous headline: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.

Cited and related links:

The views and claims expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of Not every statement made here can be assumed to be a fact.

Be the first to comment on this article.

Cookies Consent Policy & Privacy Statement. All Rights Reserved. SelectSmart® is a registered trademark. | Contact | Advertise on | This site is for sale!

From our contributors:
Display Order:
Dump Trump!
by Curt Anderson     May 17, 2020 7:52 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by Donna (1 comments) [12068 views]

Revisiting Dr. Anita Hill versus Justice Clarence Thomas
by Curt Anderson     May 21, 2020 5:17 pm (Rating: 0.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1116 views]

1,000 Former Federal Prosecutors and DOJ Officials Oppose Dismissal of Flynn Case
by Curt Anderson     May 20, 2020 9:16 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1320 views]

SCOTUS: health regulations imposed by states are not unconstitutional
by Curt Anderson     May 19, 2020 9:42 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1603 views]

Tara Reade escalates claim in Megyn Kelly interview: He said I want to f--k you!
by Curt Anderson     May 9, 2020 2:02 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [9826 views]

I Believe Her? You probably do sometimes, but not all of the time.
by Curt Anderson     May 5, 2020 11:05 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [4468 views]

Dr. Bright: Trump pressured me to approve unproven, unsafe chloroquine drugs
by Curt Anderson     May 5, 2020 4:00 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [279 views]

If the presumptive nominee dies during the campaign, who becomes the presidential nominee?
by Curt Anderson     May 1, 2020 4:24 pm (Rating: 0.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [4553 views]

Here is the proof: President Donald Trump is a moron
by Curt Anderson     April 26, 2020 5:40 pm (Rating: 0.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [5629 views]

Dissecting the Latest From The Ongoing Tara Reade Sexual Assault Allegations
by Curt Anderson     April 25, 2020 12:19 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1080 views]

Emma 2020 Movie Review – “An Afternoon Sweet”
by 123movies     April 23, 2020 5:05 am (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [2768 views]

Rep. Val Demings for Vice President
by Curt Anderson     March 30, 2020 6:57 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by Curt Anderson (1 comments) [4186 views]

How do Joe Biden's poll numbers compare to Hillary Clinton's?
by Curt Anderson     April 19, 2020 1:35 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1081 views]

Presidential versus parliamentary form of government
by Curt Anderson     April 17, 2020 7:06 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1927 views]

The Coronavirus pandemic is a lucky break for Joe Biden
by Curt Anderson     April 15, 2020 5:18 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1855 views]

Are Republicans facing a mass extinction?
by Curt Anderson     April 14, 2020 12:18 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [1337 views]

Sanders' campaign post mortem: Stubborn adherence to false beliefs prove fatal
by Curt Anderson     April 9, 2020 2:16 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by Curt Anderson (1 comments) [3558 views]

Now ex-acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, naively and stupidly trashes popular captain to sailors
by Curt Anderson     April 8, 2020 10:19 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [168 views]

Snake oil salesman Trump pitches hydroxychloroquine as a Coronavirus cure.
by Curt Anderson     April 7, 2020 10:59 am (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [318 views]

Bernie Sanders supporters and the five stages of grief
by Curt Anderson     April 5, 2020 5:49 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [357 views]

Advice Column: Anonymous questions and answers.
by Curt Anderson     January 9, 2020 12:36 pm (Rating: 0.0)
Last comment by Anonymous (10 comments) [137 views]

Here is the anti-Trump ad that the Trump campaign doesn't want you to see.
by Curt Anderson     March 28, 2020 5:25 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [412 views]

Flattening the Coronovirus curve is about competence; not private vs. public healthcare systems
by Curt Anderson     March 24, 2020 10:23 pm (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [665 views]

The stock market before and after 1918 Flu Pandemic
by Curt Anderson     March 23, 2020 11:06 am (Rating: 5.0)
Last comment by (0 comments) [276 views]

Find old posts & articles

Recently rated items