The greatest family in U.S. history is ...
The Kansas City Star
The greatest family in the history of the United States of America?
It should be easy to figure out. All we need is a formula.
I happen to have one. I used it years ago to predict the winner of the Big Eight football conference back when I was in a newspaper sports department.
After it worked, I called it the Friskel Football Formula (FFF). It uses a point system for each team:
Ten points for any Heisman trophy winner returning, five points for each all-American, four for all-conference, three for second team, two for honorable mention and one point for each starter back. The previous year’s champion gets a bonus eight points, (if an eight-team conference), second place team gets seven, and so on. It’s sure-fire.
I’ve converted the old football formula, updated it, fine-tuned it, and renamed it the Friskel Family Formula (FFF). This is how it finds greatness:
Ten points for each president in the family, four points for vice president, three for governor, two for senator and one for U.S. representative.
Then all we have to do is go to the Internet and look up the logical families. It’s logical that if your family doesn’t include at least one president, it will not be the greatest.
I’m sorry. Add up the points and we have the winning family, based on mathematics and objectivity, not sentiment or politics. In the process, involving millions of American families and executed in propria persona, the following five families emerged:
No. 5: The Kennedy family: 23 points: Jack Kennedy, president, 10; senator, two; U.S. House of Representative, one, total 13; Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor, three; Robert Kennedy, senator, two; Ted Kennedy, senator, two; John F. Fitzgerald, the House, one; Joe Kennedy Jr., House one; Patrick Kennedy, House, one.
No. 4: The Roosevelt family, 34 points: Theodore, president, 10; vice president, four; governor, three; total 17; Franklin, president, governor, 13; James I. Roosevelt, James, Robert and FDR Jr., all in the House, four. Theodore and Franklin were fifth cousins. Franklin was married to Eleanor Roosevelt, also his fifth cousin.
No. 3: The Harrison family: 35 points. William Henry Harrison, president, 10, senator, two, House, one, 13; his grandson Benjamin Harrison, president, senator, 12; Benjamin Harrison, died 1791, governor, three; William’s grandfather Alvin Saunders, senator, two; John Scott Harrison, Carter B., Carter, John, Russell Harrison, House, five.
No 2: The Adams family, 36 points: John Adams: president, vice president, 14 points; his son John Quincy Adams, president, governor, senator, 15; Sam Adams, governor, House, four; Charles Adams, Joseph Allen, Charles Allen, House, three.
No. 1: The Bush family: 48 points: Franklin Pierce, president, governor, 13; David Davis, senator, a Walker cousin and Lincoln’s 1860 campaign manager, two; Prescott Bush, senator, two; George Herbert Walker Bush, president, vice president, house, 15; George W. Bush, president, governor, 13, Jeb Bush, governor, three.
Also, according to Internet sources, four Mayflower passengers were Bush relatives, as was Pocahontas, and 15 presidents were listed as Bush relatives, including Barack Obama, an 11th cousin of George W. Bush.
But an FFF ruling decided against awarding the Bushes points for Obama or most of the other presidents listed. President Pierce is a qualifying relative, a fifth cousin of Barbara Pierce Bush and a seventh cousin of Barbara’s husband, George H.W. Bush.
I told you it would be easy. And congratulations to the Bush family. Some members of the family have been located in Dallas. They will be sent a score sheet and a picture of the symbolic American bald eagle, suitable for framing, and inscribed: “Bushes: Greatest American Family.”
Bob Friskel, of Kansas City, Kan., is a retired journalist. To reach him, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Midwest Voices, c/o Editorial Page, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108.