The Presidential Gang Sign

How to spot true presidential material...


[Note: all the pictures below are genuine and have not been manipulated]

The thumbs-up sign has a long and debated history . Supposedly it goes all the way back to Roman times when a thumbs-down was used to spare a gladiator's life as a symbol for "swords down." In our culture, we use thumbs-up to mean something is positive and thumbs-down to indicate something negative.

For people of my generation, the first time we ever really paid attention to a thumbs-up came when watching Happy Days. Yes, we learned the thumbs-up from Fonzie. And here's how we learned it: the thumb should take--if not a 90°--at least a 75-80° angle from the fingers with the tip of the thumb arching slightly backwards:

But I've noticed that presidents and presidential candidates do the thumbs-up differently. They tend to lean the thumb forward at about a 45° angle, sometimes with the thumb actually touching the fingers. It's weird. It's freaky. It's obviously some kind of "Presidential Gang Sign."

I first noticed Clinton doing this. Okay...actually, I first noticed Darrell Hammond on Saturday Night Live imitating Bill Clinton's thumbs up.

At first, I thought that the presidential thumbs up started with Clinton because I couldn't remember any president before him doing it. But there are lots of folks doing it right now.

Hillary does it:

George W. Bush does it...

but guess who taught him...

Kerry and Edwards are practicing it already:

In fact, Edwards can't appear in front of a camera without giving the presidential thumbs-up. Watch him the next time you see him on television--he does it over and over and over.

So, anyway, I researched this thing. It was a burning question to me. Did Clinton create the presidential thumbs-up sign? I could find no pictures of George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford making anything like this gesture. I was about to give up. And then I found it.

Here you go: the founder of Presidential Gang Sign:

And you thought he only made the peace sign!