Monday, February 14, 2011

Clinton vs. Carter

Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States
Served: 1993-2001
Age during term: 46-54

PROS: Elusiveness — I mean, the man could weasel out of anything. And I'm not just talking about various extra-marital affairs (though trust me, we'll get there). In the early stages of the 1992 Democratic Primaries, Clinton found himself sinking in the polls following charges of sexual misconduct (again, we'll get to that). After he and his wife Hillary went on 60 Minutes, Clinton's poll numbers rebounded enough that, even though he didn't win the somewhat-important Massachusetts primary, he came to be called "The Comeback Kid."

"And I'm only getting started."

Later, after Clinton's administration failed to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's health care system, the Democratic party got clobbered in the 1994 elections and lost control of Congress. Was Clinton finished? Not at all! And was he finished when, in 1995 and 1996, the Federal Government was shut down for a total of 26 days due to Clinton playing a game of economic chicken with the then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich? In fact, his approval ratings soared to the highest levels he'd seen since his inauguration! And finally, was he finished when he got impeached? Ha!

Actually kind of cool — Think about it — how many U.S. presidents have been legitimately cool? Not too many. But with Clinton, you got this:

Arsenio Hall couldn't quite believe what was going on.
Neither could America, for that matter.

You also got a moment in 1994, inexplicably missing from the Internet, where during an MTV-sponsored event where the President took questions from Young People, a giggling 17-year old asked the Leader of the Free World if he wore "boxers or briefs."

The point is this: Clinton was born in 1946, placing him firmly at the front of a little movement you've probably heard about: the Baby Boom. Clinton's election brought that generation into power; even though said generation used to define itself by its antipathy towards The Man, they could no longer escape the fact that they were now, very much, The Man now, Dog. Clinton's coolness, his personal charisma, marked him as the perfect leader for such a movement — otherwise, he'd have never been asked about his drawers. Now, how would that help him in the arena? Good question! But we'd wager it's hard to fight a guy you just can't stay mad at.

CONS: The slight inability to keep it in his pants — Yes, we're finally getting to it. What do Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and of course, Monica Lewinsky have in common?

That's right, ladies.

Now, okay, Clinton is hardly the first president in U.S. History to have stepped out of bounds while in office. What sets him apart is that his indiscretions led to his being impeached by the House of Representatives. Oopsie. In terms of the fight, we figure it would be tough to engage in hand-to-hand combat while in the middle of a case of "it burns when I pee." Food for thought.

Easily confused at times — I'm just going to leave this here:

I mean, I get that he was trying to be evasive and all, but... yeeesh.

Jimmy Carter
39th President of the United States
Served: 1977-1981
Age during term: 52-56

PROS: Lots of post-presidential mileage — Being president is stressful and Carter's term was particularly bad. Stagflation, energy crisis, hostages and he was getting blamed for all of it.

Despite this fact, he has the second-longest retirement of any president, which just passed 30 years last month. Only Herbert Hoover had a longer post-presidential life span at just over 31 years and 6 months.

Though we didn't know it at the time, Carter had a lot of life left in him in the late '70s.

He sees into the FUTURE — Instead of relying on foreign oil, which muddied up U.S. foreign policy, he wanted to wean us off relying on the Middle East. He got on TV and told everyone to turn the thermostat down and to put on a damn sweater. He also added solar panels to the White House, hoping to set an example to the rest of the nation.

Americans didn't want to hear that they'd have to alter their behavior. They elected someone who would ignore all of this nonsense and remove those stupid solar panels.

Reagan's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld, shaking hands
with America's BF"F", Iraqi Dictator, Saddam Hussein

Thirty years later, the Middle East is still a mess and we're still depending on them for oil. The green energy move only started to really take hold a in the past few years, but only after Americans were forced to pay $4/gallon to gas up their inefficient and needlessly oversized SUVs.

Carter can either see the future, or he's sensible way beyond popular opinion. If it's the former, then he'll be able to anticipate his opponent's moves.

CONS: But let's all be honest, it's most likely the latter; sensible way beyond popular opinion.

Peaceful — The Independent reported that Carter is seen as a better man than he was a president. Say what you will about Carter's presidency, he was a peacemaker and a humanitarian. This, sadly, makes you a bad president.

It's hardly a leap to assume that these attributes would make him an even worse combatant in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™.

After he left the White House, he continued doing whatever makes you a bad president but a good person. In the past decade, he's won a Nobel Peace Prize, criticized British Prime Minister Tony Blair for blindly following the U.S. into a war in Iraq and, in 2008, called for the next president to apologize for torture that allegedly occurred at Guantanamo Bay.

Carter has always had a "Shit, you assholes hate me already. What the fuck do I care what you think of me now?" approach, except he's way too nice to put it that way.

No Fighting Experience — The very idea of engaging someone else in a fight is as about anti-Carter as one could get brings up the point that his fighting experience is lacking.

He had a brief career in the Navy, and he saw his future working in the fledgling nuclear submarine program. However, he left the Navy when his father died.

That's about as warlike as Carter got and it was short-lived.

The Fight

Doug: First, let's disregard the fact that these people have met several times and have even worked together on humanitarian efforts. Jimmy Carter will enter the arena with a major advantage — the element of surprise. C'mon, who is Carter going to hit? No one. And everyone knows that. Some presidents would take advantage of this fact. Jackson, I'd imagine, would show no mercy. Bill Clinton, however, is not a raging dick — okay, poor choice of words.

Who could hit the peacemaker who exudes kindness, anyway? Clinton will go in thinking he can go easy and then...

Carter lays one into Clinton.
"What is this?" Clinton thinks, only he has no idea what the meaning of "is" is. Then:

Carter has gotten two, well-placed hits. I don't know. Carter could totally bring it to the arena.

Tony: Here's the thing with Carter: what fuels him? What drives him to transform from a global crusader for peace and justice into a cold-blooded gladiator? Here's what: nothing. I mean, maybe he'd be pissed off at not winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978? Except then he won one in 2002, so I don't know how that tracks. Maybe he'd be fueled by fear that the Olympians he screwed over in 1980 were tracking him down?

Someone like this guy, for example.

But, whatever, let's say Carter does manage to get in a few cuts. He's going against THE COMEBACK KID! I don't think Clinton's gonna let a couple jabs from some lousy peanut farmer derail him. He's gonna come strong and he's gonna come hard.

I... could have phrased that better.

I think this match comes down to two words: Swamp Rabbit. If Carter couldn't defend himself from one of those, he's got no chance in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™.

Doug: You know what fuels Jimmy Carter? He's sick of everyone saying that he was attacked by a swamp rabbit. If you believe that Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit, then you probably also believe that Al Gore said the words, "I invented the Internet."

Here's what actually happened. Carter was solo fishing in a boat in Plains, Ga., (which means he was sitting in a boat and he probably had Secret Service men on the shore) when he noticed some a rabbit swimming towards his boat making strange hissing noises. Carter splashed it with a paddle and the rabbit turned around. End of story.

He returned to Washington, told the story to a few people as kind of a "Hey guys, you'll never believe what happened. Blah blah blah, swamp rabbit. Isn't that weird?" story. White House press secretary told someone from The Associated Press, who put the story on the wire. Then, newspapers ran a story saying that this happened:

And the whole world went on thinking that the president was attacked by a bunny, and to this day, people still believe he was unable to defend himself against a rabbit. If that's not enough to piss him off, then how about the fact that everyone seems to think that he said that there was a feeling of "national malaise," when he never said that.

This is Carter's chance to set the record straight, and he's going to do so with his fists.

Tony: Listen, I read the rabbit thing in Doonesbury, and if it's in Doonesbury, it's got to be true. QED.

I'll give you the national malaise thing, but this leads to another point in Clinton's favor. Carter may have never uttered the words "national malaise," but it's not like his years as president were really Party Times for America. Stagflation? Not a pleasant time for the economy. Compare and contrast to the Clinton years, which featured the longest period of economic growth for the country in history. That? Is gonna give you a swagger.

Pictured: Swagger, personified.

Carter may open strong, and he may open with a bout of righteous fury, but Clinton's got the power and endurance to win this bout. Hands down.

Okay, now before we turn this over to the voters, first, a word from...

Doug & Tony: The Chief!

THE CHIEF descends

The Chief: Thanks as always, boys. Now, I just wanted to take a moment, since this is our first match featuring not one, but two presidents who are both real, and still living, to clarify the point that we at HttCttD do not condone actual violence against any president, real or fictional, living or deceased. Given that, for this week's match, we ask for you not to envision these men in a fight to the death, but rather that they will battle to place one another into a very long, deep, and restful sleep.

Now, readers, go forth and vote! Remember, once you've voted, drop us a line in the comments to let us know why you voted the way you did. Your comment could end up being a tiebreaker!

Clinton vs. Carter


  1. Since Carter is not racking up the votes here, I would like to add a little known fact: Bill Clinton is allergic to peanuts. Jimmy Carter = Peanut Farmer. Carter is savvy enough to use such a weakness to his advantage- let’s face it, diplomacy isn’t about being nice or Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Clinton’s undoing is just around the corner… (Don’t believe me? Just wait ten minutes and let me change the Wikipedia page.)

  2. Bill Clinton would use this to his advantage, by vomiting and diarrhea-ing all over Carter in the ring. And he would fake anaphylactic shock to make pansy-ass Carter concerned about him, and then he'd knock him OUT. So really, Carter's peanuts ain't got nuttin' on Bill.

  3. You seriously think the man who made the Camp David Accords happen is going to be distracted by a little diarrhea? Hells no. Clinton's the one who's easily distracted- put Carter in a blue Gap dress and this thing would be over before you can spit.

  4. Lets go with that. Let's put Carter in a blue Gap dress, and then Bill will attempt to seduce him by doing a "snake charmer" dance (self-accompanied by saxophone). When he gets close enough, Bill will use the epinephrine pen he was allowed to bring to combat anaphylactic shock and jam it into Carter's body, causing vascular constriction, and, causing uh, per the rules of this round involving actual live people, a "deep and restful sleep." So yeah, he'll use his seductive skills and fake peanut allergy to turn Carter into Sleeping F'ing Beauty, where Bill can stain that blue dress to his heart's content, all the way into the next round.

  5. Oh no no. Carter would see that from a mile away, just as soon as Clinton started to writhe his hips. While Bill's busy trying to seduce pretty little Jimmy (because, let's face it, Carter would rock a little blue dress) Carter would use his special Habitat for Humanity skills and build a nice little house in the ring. After using his innate sexiness to lure Clinton inside, Carter would, in a move he learned from the SIMS, remove the door and set the place ablaze. Before you know it, the Snake Charmer is poof! or- ahem- sleeping peacefully, dreaming of Texarkana.