Age during term: 47-51
PROS: Success Magnet —Cleveland's résumé from the years leading up to his first term was fairly impressive. He had served as Governor of New York, and before that, mayor of Buffalo. This, mind you, was when both of those jobs were slightly more prominent than they are today. Even more remarkably, Cleveland managed to win those elections by being possibly one of the more honest politicians in America... at a time when the political system itself was pretty much rigged to prevent honest people from winning. Yeah, he was just that good. Before entering politics, he was a successful lawyer, successful sheriff, and successful assistant district attorney. Yes, success clung to Cleveland like everything to one-a-them katamari balls.
|See, in this metaphor, success is the squid, and the huge boat, and the baseball stadium, and so forth, and Cleveland is... the cows? Yes. The cows. The rainbow, meanwhile, symbolizes our furthering a radical gay agenda.|
|The "...or I will cut you" was left unsaid, but heavily implied.|
Age during term: 55-59
PROS: He's a winner, even when he loses — One thing the older Cleveland can boast that his younger self cannot: winning the popular vote three times. He was elected president in 1884 and 1892. While Cleveland lost the election in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, he actually got 48.6% of the popular vote over Harrison's 47.8%.
Cleveland is one of three presidents who have won the popular vote three times. At the time, the only other person to do that was Andrew Jackson, and he isn't one to be messed with. The third person to do it was FDR, and he actually did it four times. He probably would have tried for five, had he not died before 1948.
Married — When Cleveland took the oath in 1885, he did so as a bachelor. By 1893, he was a married man. Statistically speaking, the life expectancy of married men is longer than unmarried men.
This brings a mental image of bachelor Cleveland subsisting on the 19th-century equivalents of Top Ramen, frozen hot dogs and Hamburger Helper when he wanted to be a bit fancy.
|"Time to go grocery shopping. And by that, I mean order another pizza."|
"What's the point in keeping dirty underwear off the floor?" bachelor Cleveland asked, from behind his beer-can pyramid, "It's not like any dames are stopping by."
Because it's dirty, bachelor Cleveland, that's why. And living in a dirty home is unhealthy.
Plus, there's the fact that Frances Folsom Cleveland was 27 years younger than husband Grover. If that's not enough to make a man feel young again, I don't know what is.
CONS: Obvious age disadvantage — Age is kind of a tough thing to gauge when comparing two different people who lived two different lives in two different eras. For example, James K. Polk — who was the youngest president to die of natural causes — was dead by his 54th birthday. Yet, when Ronald Reagan wasn't elected to his first political office until he was 55. There's no real way of having all things being equal.
Except for here. All things are equal here. Older Cleveland is the same guy, only eight years older. No way around that fact.
Secret Cancer — Older Cleveland won't let on, but he's got a secret: cancer. In 1893, he had a lump removed from the roof of his mouth. He didn't tell anyone, though, because he worried the country would spiral deeper into the Panic of 1893 news got out that the president was sick.
So as not to rouse suspicion, the Clevelands "went on vacation." Only it wasn't really vacation, Cleveland was going to get the lump removed. And to make extra-sure no one would find out, the surgery would take place in an isolated spot where no one could accidentally happen upon them: aboard the Oneida, off the coast of Long Island.
Oral surgery sounds unappealing enough, I can't imagine getting it in the 19th century. While on a boat. There's a reason why people get sea sick. It's because of the constant motion. That's hardly the best place to have someone cut into the roof of your mouth.
Point being, I imagine the recovery time on that one was a bit lengthy.
Tony: I think it's fairly evident that with our two fighters this week being so similar, it's all going to come down to the little things. And those little things? Will subsequently be made huge. You know, like the ego/chest of any given Jersey Shore character.
Doug: I think anyone in 22's position would be baffled. He would have so many questions for his future self. "We didn't end up building that canal in Nicaragua, did we?" "Do I end up having kids with my wife who is also my late best friend's daughter?" Most importantly, "Hold the phones, why am I in here twice? How do I become president again?"
24, on the other hand, isn't confused. He knows all of these answers: "No, Yes (one, Ruth, gets a candy bar named after her, only not really), and the only reason why 24 is in there is because 22 got defeated by Benjamin Harrison in 1888.
This makes 24 embittered at the sight of his younger self. He sees 22 as naive and knows that 22 is the reason for a lot of his problems and recent failures. Maybe if 22 was able to win re-election, Harrison's economic policy wouldn't have caused the Panic of 1893. Even if the panic was unavoidable, he would have been out of office for it. 24 wouldn't even be in the arena had it not been for 22 losing the election! He would have left office in 1893 and retired happily.
The more 22 thinks about what's going on in the arena, the more confused he gets. The more 24 thinks about it, the angrier he gets.
24 has got this.
Tony: I dunno, I think anyone dumped into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ against an opponent from the future is going to lose their wonder over the situation rather quickly. After all, protecting yourself from kidney shots is far more important than, well, most other things.
Tony: Yeah, so 24's got up to eight years on 22. First, if you think that 24, at the end of his presidency, would be able to take 22, you're even more crazy than you are for suggesting 24 could win at ANY point in his presidency. I'm thinking that between it being the dog days of the 19th century, the aforementioned economic panics, the dissension and strife within his own party, and alllllll of the other garbage swirling around, 24 did not have time to get into peak physical form. Now, okay, "peak physical form" probably meant something different back then (probably something to do with how fast one could consume a pound of butter), but still. This is clearly an area where youth will win out over, um, not-youth.
Doug: To be fair, neither Cleveland was in "peak physical form." He may not have been Taftian, but he was pretty friggin' close.
And I think all of this so-called garbage swirling around 24 will give him a "nothing else to lose" attitude. Shit's going down the tubes. And whether that's the fault of 22, 23 or 24, the only thing left for 24 to do is go down fighting. Wide-eyed, hopeful 22 would have no idea what hit him.
And as 24 is pummeling 22, he could say, "Hey, Grover! Why are you hitting yourself?"
Tony: Ah, yes, the ol', fighting to the bitter end, maneuver. Noble, certainly, but is it useful here? We all like to think that that "backed into a corner" mentality brings out the superior fighting, but is that really true? I mean, really?
Doug: "Backed into a corner" mentality wouldn't normally work, if he were fighting another person. But since he's pretty evenly matched — because he's fighting himself — I'd say it would give him the needed edge. Or will it? I suppose that's for the voters to decide.
Tony: Ooh, one last minor, but important detail. I hate to bring this up, but wouldn't any grievous wounds inflicted on 22 also show up on 24 somehow? Or should I not think too hard about the temporal mechanics of this thing?
Doug: Yeah, we'd have to assume that if 22 was killed in the ring — which I argue would be the outcome — 24 would not suddenly disappear. We also need to ignore Dr. Emmett Brown's warning about someone running into their past or future self. The encounter would not create a time paradox, nor would it cause either of them to faint. After all, 2015 Biff was able to talk to himself in 1955, and nothing happened (apart from the creation of an alternate 1985).
|If Biff Tannen can do this without unraveling the very fabric of space-time continuum,|
I don't see why Grover Cleveland would have a problem doing it.
Tony: Man, I knew talking about temporal mechanics was going to lead to a Back to the Future reference. I was all, "Where this debate's going, we don't need other science fiction touchstones."
Doug: This may be the only time I'd be able to fit in a Back to the Future reference, so you bet your bippy I was going to take it.
That's right. Bippy.
Tony: Bippy? When did this turn into Laugh In?
As always, polls close at 9 a.m. Friday Mountain Time. This week's fight may end up being a close one, so be sure to leave a comment in case of a tie.