|Howard Taft, sometimes known as "The Pimpest of Presidents"|
It's my opinion that of all the presidents, William Howard Taft gets the shaft most routinely and most undeservedly.
Yes, Taft could have used a few extra minutes on the elliptical each day, but mostly he got caught in awkward point in history with inter party politics and the hurricane force of Theodore Roosevelt's Theodore Rooseveltness.
Aside from his need to shop at the Big and Tall, Taft should be known as a brilliant legal mind, a statesman and a man who made his service to the United States an admirable point of pride. Prior to winning the Presidency as fellow Republican Theodore Roosevelt vacated the office*, Taft served as Solicitor General of the US, a judge of 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Governor-General of the Philippines, and as Roosevelt's Secretary of War.
Not a bad record. AFTER he was done being President, he served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. So, you know, a rolling Taft gathers no moss or something.
Taft wasn't really much of a politician, so much as he did two things: throw himself into the work he took on and firmly believe in the laws and legal system of the United States, perhaps as an idealist. His record suggests a fortitude with legal thinking and administrative talent. He stuck closer to the definition of the Presidential role as described in the Constitution than had Theodore Roosevelt (who more or less made it up as he went along), and his decisions were often non-political but worked through with logic and an adherence to the system, whether it was good or bad for him, politically.
He was most likely to win the Presidency again in 1912, but TR's distaste for his colleague's decisions caused the famous Bull-Moose split in the Republican party, leading to a win for (sigh) Woodrow Wilson, who would go on to show the world what being a stodgy stick in the mud was all about.
Because of this outsized stature and what seems to be lingering feelings of resentment about the loss of 1912 (let it go....), Taft is, these days, mostly known for getting stuck in his bathtub. Perhaps true or not - he did have a new tub put in - it's pretty typical that we focus on something like that and not on his accomplishments.
*to go wrestle bison or something