Monday, May 2, 2011

Nixon vs. Beck

Richard Nixon
37th President of the United States
Years Served: 1969-1974
Ages in Office: 56-61

PROS: “Tricky Dick” — Helen Gahagan Douglas gave Nixon this nickname during a highly contentious Senate race in 1950 chock full of personal attacks from both sides. Nixon accused Douglas of being soft on communists and said that she was “pink right down to her underwear.” His campaign even printed fliers on pink paper, in case people missed the message.
Fortunately for Nixon, this was before "tl;dr" was a thing.
It seems like mentioning a woman’s underwear in public would be taboo in 1950. Dude fought dirty. I mean, hello; Watergate scandal. A group of burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee in at the Watergate office complex. Turns out that these burglars were paid by the Committee to Re-elect the President.
Point of advice: Don’t give your group a name that would almost give it the acronym “CREEP.” Especially if that group is taking part in shady dealings.
Then it turned out that Nixon himself tried to cover up the break-in. He eventually resigned as a result. Now we have a historical figure named after a porno and every scandal gets the suffix “-gate.”

He would have done anything to ensure victory in ‘72 and he would have done anything to cover that up (except for not taping every conversation implicating him in the scandal). This kind of dirty fighting will most likely help Nixon out in the arena.

“Richard Nixon Back Again” — Nixon had a meteoric rise in politics. He was elected to Congress in 1946 and in 1952, he was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running mate. Congressman to vice president in six year. Not shabby.

After losing a close presidential race to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and the California gubernatorial election in 1962, decided to retire from politics. In his “final press conference,” he famously told everyone “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore...”
"For serious, guys. I'm out."
Except, six years later he was, as Billy Joel says, “back again.” He defeated Hubert H. Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election.

Also, let’s not forget that in Futurama lore, his head becomes president over a thousand years after he dies. So even when you think he’s down, Nixon’s not finished.

CONS: Not a fighter — Nixon isn’t very physically imposing. He did enlist in the navy during World War II, even though he was eligible for an exemption. While he was decorated, he didn’t actually see any combat.

Not that I’m discounting his service to the nation. It’s just that he really hasn’t had any experience taking anyone down — physically.

Peacemongerer — For all of the anti-Commie rhetoric that put him on the political map in the ‘40s and ‘50s, he did a lot to ease Cold War tensions. He opened diplomatic relations with China, instead of pretending they didn’t exist for 23 years.
Of course, the Vulcans had long known that only he could go there.
He initiated talks with the Soviet Union to limit anti-ballistic missile systems.

He also ended the Vietnam War. Well, not right away. He waited until after he was inaugurated for his second term to end it, but better late than never?
"You pricks wanted peace earlier? Too damn bad."
Mention Nixon's presidency, and two things come to people's minds: Watergate and diplomacy. Are either of those things going to help him win a fight to the death? It's doubtful.

Thomas Beck
Played by Morgan Freeman in the film Deep Impact
Age: Freeman was 60 when the movie was filmed

PROS: Calm — To survive in the arena, you need a cool head (actually, in some of our other matches, it's helped to be a raging volcano of testosterone, but that's not important right now). And there's none cooler than Tom Beck. Over the course of Deep Impact, Beck has to address the planet multiple times, with increasingly shitty news. First, it's to say that, hey, there's this comet coming, but we're hoping we can kick its ass. Then, it's to say that we failed to kick its ass. Then, it's basically to sign off on behalf of the Eastern Seaboard (if not the planet at large). But does he break down? Not once. Do we catch him raging against the machinations of fate? Not at all. Does he abandon his responsibilities in the face of insurmountable chaos? Not for a second.
Damn right.
Fate has dealt Tom Beck a real deuce. But he carries on. That sort of level-headed steeliness will make him a formidable opponent.

Determined — There's a certain theme throughout each of Beck's addresses. Well, besides general bad news, we mean. It's that life... will go on. Big-ass comet coming to wreck our shit in a few months? Life will go on. Declaring martial law? Life will go on. Explaining a national lottery to determine who will survive the comet's impact? Life will GO ON, GODDAMMIT.
Not for everyone, but you know, life in general.
Now, what if all of that focus were turned from surviving the biggest natural disaster ever to befall humanity, to something like surviving a one-on-one fight in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™? Well, life will go on. By that, we mean Beck's life. His opponent is just going to be a pulpy mass.

CONS: Tries to give the game away — So, say you're the Beck administration. You know there's a killer comet on the way. You've been preparing a mission to try and stop this thing ever since you found out about it. The most important part of it all was to keep everything secret, at least until the budget figures get out, at which point it'd be time to tell everyone what was up.

Up until about two weeks prior to the secret's expiration date, we'd say the Beck administration was doing a good-to-great job at keeping this thing secret, but then he went and spilled the beans about the whole deal to his Treasury Secretary. Who soon retired, citing his wife's "illness." His staffers knew different, and they soon leaked the truth to an intrepid young reporter at MSNBC: he'd been having an affair with a woman named Ellie. But who was Ellie? She asked the former-secretary himself, who said nothing, except for the fact that this reporter was sitting on the biggest story in human history.
"What in the hell is he talking about?"
This reporter, however, still thought she was chasing an affair story. Which is why she was quite surprised to be run off the road by FBI agents, abducted, and brought to a highly secret meeting with... Tom Beck. Beck proceeded to ask her not to run her story (a story she was entirely bluffing about having), and eventually got her to agree to not run it for the next 48 hours. And that would have been fine, except that he also let slip that the story wasn't about anyone named Ellie at all, it was about an E.L.E. A little web searching later, and the only acronym the reporter can dredge up is Extinction Level Event. Which would seem to be a pretty big story, but the reporter keeps her promise, letting Beck control the story when it does break. However, you can't imagine an opponent in the arena would do the same thing. If Beck telegraphs any of his plans, it could seriously come back to bite him in the ass.

The Fight
Doug: Wait, so Beck almost got boffed over by the Internet? Not just the Internet — the Internet circa 1998. Just as a frame of reference, you overhear someone talking about "E.L.E." today, but have no idea what it means, there are plenty of places where you can search for that. Go to Google, type in E.L.E. and the first thing that pops up is a link to the Wikipedia article on extinction events. Today, we take Google and Wikipedia for granted. For example, if you wanted to find out when either of these sites were founded, you would probably go to one of those sites. You'd also find out that Google was founded four months after Deep Impact was released and Wikipedia, nearly three years later.

What did we do before Google and Wikipedia? No, I'm serious. I can't remember and I want to have an answer ready for when my unborn children ask me. I digress.
It's hard to remember now, but the internet used to just suck.
Tony: I will say, search user interfaces have gone significantly retrograde since the time of Deep Impact. Back then, you searched for something, you'd get these handy little pop-ups that would show you the general subject of whatever you were searching about. Dead useful, if you ask me. Don't know why they were discarded.

I think before Google there was this thing called an encyclopedia? I may be thinking of Wikipedia again, though. Yeah, those were dark times. I also remember there being libraries and reference desks. What's a reference desk? Fuck if I know.

Doug: They were discarded because Google is awesome. And I'm not just saying this because they're the benevolent people who have given us Blogger, which makes this blog possible. No really, they're honestly not giving me money for saying that. Believe me, if they were, the quality of this blog would plummet in order to line my wallets with that sweet, sweet Google cash.
This... this is what it's like, right?
Tony: The question must be asked, then: if we tanked, quality-wise, for endorsements, would anyone notice? HEY-O!

Doug: Then there's the fact that Beck asks the reporter with biggest story ever to sit on it for 48 hours, and she actually does. That's nice, I mean good for Tea Leoni.

Imagine Beck asking Richard Nixon for a fraction of that favor. Yeah, that wouldn't go very well for Beck, would it? In Washington vs. Brady, I argued that Washington shouldn't resort to a dirty fight, even though there are no real rules against doing so. I haven't a doubt that not only would Nixon fight dirty, he probably wouldn't even go there as a last resort. No, I'd imagine he'd go straight for it.

Tony: Beck doesn't need to ask Nixon for favors, because Nixon's going to do all his favors without being asked. Like when he showed up for that debate looking like a shifty degenerate. It's not like it was the first televised presidential debate, and that his opponent was so handsome, his smile could impregnate you. That's Nixon against Beck. Nixon's going to be unprepared and unhinged. Beck is going to be unflappable and victorious.
You can just smell the whiskey fumes.
Doug: Yeah, I guess we could draw comparisons between the Nixon-Kennedy debates and the Nixon-Beck fight, but it wouldn't really work that well. People listening to this fight on the radio won't have a differing opinion of the outcome as people watching it on TV like the first presidential debate in 1960. Another difference here is that an unhinged Nixon hurt his performance in the debate (well, unless you ask the people listening on the radio). But here, the more unhinged the Nixon, the worse the chance for Beck.

Tony: The whole point of bringing up the debate is to point out that Nixon showed up unprepared. It's like no one told him television was a visual medium. And yes, according to the subsequent polling, Nixon won the radio vote. Good for him. I suppose the modern equivalent would be winning over Friendster users.

Meanwhile, there's the whole thing that Nixon's strategy relies on other people going out and doing his dirty work for him. That's not going to work in the Arena, which means that Tricky Dick is screwed. Beck can just up and wail all over Nixon. It's gonna be brutal.

Doug: True, he did a lot of things wrong during the 1960 election. He didn't get dolled up for TV. He wasted time flying to Alaska and Hawaii just so that he could claim that he was the first presidential candidate to campaign in all 50 states. He lost that race and everyone thought he was done with politics. Then two years later, he ran for governor. He lost that and everyone thought he was done with politics because this time, he SAID he was done.

But then he came back and won the presidential election in '68 and again in '72. (Speaking of Alaska and Hawaii, 1972 marked first time, of two, that Hawaii went Republican.) He just can't stay down.

Beck will think Nixon is finished. Everyone will. But he won't be. Beck will be celebrating his win, whooping it up for the crowd, completely unaware that Nixon is sneaking up behind him about to deliver another barrage of hurt.

Beck will be a loser, baby.

Tony: Sounds like a certain someone can't make up his mind. That's not a problem for Beck. He doesn't waver. He doesn't equivocate. Once he has his plan, he sticks to it, no matter how difficult, drawn-out, or otherwise arduous it is. Therefore, Beck is not going to leave his job of killing Nixon half-done. He's going to keep going until that Guero is dead.

The Chief: Nixon or Beck. It's up to you, the voters, to decide. While you're nursing your post-Cinco de Mayo hangovers Friday morning, the HttCttD Staffers will be diligently closing the polls at 9am, calculating the votes and judging the comments.

Nixon vs. Beck

1 comment:

  1. William Howard TaftMay 5, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    Look, I think we all want Beck to win (something no one's ever said, because 99% of Americans would be thinking about Glenn). Tricky Dick is not much of a fighter. I'm just baffled how somebody who worked so closely with Eisenhower for so long can learn so little. Anyways, us real POTUSES stick together, so I'm going to have to go with Tricky Dick Nixon.

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