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Ronald Reagan vs. Ulysses Grant or what's-her-name

March 3, 2010 |  5:44 am

Fifty Dollar Bill with Ulysses Grant

Two photos in the news this morning. Relax! Neither has anything to do with healthcare:

Not that many of us are seeing many of these $50 bills these days.

But in case you ever do, how do you feel about subbing out the picture of the 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant, for the 40th president, Ronald Reagan? A North Carolina representative, Patrick McHenry, has introduced a bill to replace Grant's visage with Reagan's.  Republican president Ronald Reagan

Let's see:

A short-term wartime Army Air Corps captain or a general? A lifeguard who reportedly saved dozens of lives or a wartime Army officer responsible for thousands of deaths? A one-time Democratic union activist from Illinois or a career Union Army graduate of West Point from Ohio?

The first divorced president (who married two actresses) or the one who married the daughter of a slave owner after four years of wooing?

A man who sold cigarettes or one who smoked cigars? A young man nicknamed Dutch by his father or a soldier nicknamed Dudy by his wife?

A Republican who headed the U.S. government at the end of the Cold War or a Republican who headed the U.S. Army at the end of the Civil War?

Both men liked horseback riding. Both men were diligent writers of personally revealing letters, especially to their wives.

Both men's names now adorn numerous landmarks: A Washington airport, an aircraft carrier and California freeway for No. 40 and for No. 18, a Chicago lakefront park where the...'s first black president celebrated his victory on election night in 2008.

Would it affect your opinion if you knew the bearded president added a meaningless middle initial "S" to his name because he so hated his real first name? (Hiram).

Well, we probably don't need to worry too much about losing Grant's face on money that we hardly ever see anymore anyway because the legislation to accomplish that was introduced by a Republican, like Reagan and Grant. Good luck with passing that in Nancy Pelosi's House.

Now about the other picture. which might have caught your eye here. It seems that the Association of Flight Attendants of Orlando-based AirTran Airways is organizing a campaign against it.

AirTran Airways swimsuit foto

The photo decal currently adorns an AirTran Boeing 737 passenger jet as part of a joint promotion with Sports Illustrated magazine.

We are told that this magazine publishes an eagerly awaited annual issue full of colorful page after colorful page of attractive women in scandalously sandy poses at least partially wearing skimpy swimsuits.

An airline spokesman says the airplane's decal image is "subdued and classy" in the tradition of World War II pinups.

But the flight attendants union doesn't see her that way.

"It is our feeling," says a union letter, "that this is not only contrary to the family image that this company tries to promote, but also potentially offensive to their female employees, the majority of their flight attendants who will have to work on this aircraft."

The union also says it fears that the high-heeled image on the outside of the aircraft may drive some male passengers on the inside to verbally abuse female flight attendants.

How about a bipartisan compromise? We put her on the $50 bill.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press; AirTran Airways