Monday, August 15, 2011

Bush vs. Harrison

First thing's first:
We here at "Hail to the Chief... to the Death" intend that this blog be for entertainment and wise-ass only purposes. We do not condone, nor do we encourage, violence against any president, former or current, living or dead, real or fictional.

George W. Bush
43rd President of the United States
Served: 2001-2009
Ages during term: 54-62

PRO: Athletic — Was there a sport that Bush didn’t like when he was going to school? At the Phillips Academy, he played baseball and was the head cheerleader his senior year. Then he went on to Yale University where he would take up rugby.

Obviously, he didn’t have a career as an athlete, but he still had a strong interest in it. I’m not saying that owning a share of the Texas Rangers automatically makes you athletic, but he was still good with a baseball decades after his high school days. Hell, he was pretty decent with the ball even after he left the White House.

Sure, Bush had a reputation for going on vacation pretty often as president. A favorite vacation activity of his was clearing brush from his Crawford, Texas ranch. In a place where the average summertime high was in the 90s, he would spend his time outside doing manual labor. That was how he relaxed.
What's wrong with staying in bed until noon?

Also, he clearly has some pretty decent enough reflexes so that he’s able to duck shoes being thrown at him, I’d say that the guy’s in great shape and he’s ready for the Arena.

Bugs Bunny — No matter who he’s sharing screen time with — Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian or Gossamer (the big, red monster guy) — Bugs Bunny always wins. Why? He’s completely unflappable. He doesn’t let things get him down.

Bush is kind of the same way. Look how he reacted to the shoe guy. It was kind of a “What the hell, weirdo?” and not a Yosemite Sam-sized freak out.

Then there was one of his debates with Al Gore in 2000. Gore started saying things that Bush didn’t like, he kind of laughed it off and chalked it up to “fuzzy math.” Whether or not he thought it to be fuzzy math or if he thought Gore actually had a point, but he knew he couldn’t admit it... who knows? He responded cooly and was done with it.

Once Bush started saying things that Gore didn’t like, Gore sighed heavily, as if to say “I can’t believe we have to listen to this crap.” Gore couldn’t keep his cool. He showed it and ended up narrowly losing the race.

No matter what kind of snag he hits in the Arena, Bush won’t lose his head, which means he’ll be able to compose himself well enough to win.

Also, look at how young Jon Stewart looks.

CONS: Maybe a little too lax — While Bush doesn’t seem to let himself get too bent out of shape about things, he maybe takes this a bit far when a time arises when he actually needs to spring into action.

One example is the criticism he faced for his slow reaction time with Hurricane Katrina. While the storm devastated New Orleans and the gulf coastline, Bush was on vacation. He left his vacation early... eventually... flying to the White House two days after the storm hit.
To be fair, he looked at the damage from above. That's something, right?
And then made his way down to the disaster area.

Another example, comes from the morning of the 9/11 attacks. Bush was making an appearance at an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla., and sat in on the students’ reading of the book The Pet Goat. When the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told Bush about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Bush sat there for another seven minutes.

In his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore argued that this showed how indecisive Bush was in at a time of national peril. However, Bush later said that he wanted to appear calm in front of the students and didn’t want to abruptly leave the classroom.

If the Moore’s theory is correct, and if the criticism of his reaction to Katrina is holds any wat—... is viable, it may show that Bush has a problem seeing the difference between easy moments that don’t need much thought and actual moments of danger.

Military — Usually having military experience is a good thing. Bush’s military experience isn’t all that great. In his first four years with the Texas Air National Guard, he not only fulfilled all of his obligations, but he was a “top notch fighter interceptor pilot” whose skills had “far exceed(ed) his contemporaries” and was a “natural leader” with “outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing.”

What’s the problem? Those were his first four years serving. Unfortunately, he committed to serving six years.

First of all, there’s the issue of whether or not Bush entered the Texas Air National Guard to avoid being sent to Vietnam and whether or not his father’s influence helped him get on top of the very long waiting list to get into the Guard. People say he did, others say he didn’t. Who knows?
And then there’s the question of where he was those last two years he had already committed to serve. Well, no one seems to know. There’s no record of him having the mandatory physicals and he received no credit for being around.

Point is, he doesn’t seem to have that much experience fighting, nor does he seem very enthusiastic of the idea of fighting. Ironic, since two lengthy wars started during his administration.

William Henry Harrison
9th President of the United States
Served March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841
Age during term: 68

PROS: The man gets it done — Harrison entered the army (or what served as the army in those days) in 1791, at the tender age of 18. It was something of a move of necessity; Harrison's father had just died, leaving young William with no funds to further his education. So, it was off to the Northwest Territories, where he made a name for himself serving in a number of wars that helped bring more land under U.S. control.

Harrison was soon to realize that someone was going to have to organize all of this new territory, so he resigned from the army in 1797 and started drumming up support for a post in the Northwestern Territorial Government. He bounced around a few territorial jobs, and was eventually appointed to be Governor of the new Indiana Territory. As Governor, he had two main points on his agenda: get the proto-Indiana to accept slavery, and gobble up as much Native American land as he possibly could. The first part of his agenda was stymied from afar by President Jefferson. The second part, though, he became really good at, as he had a part in no less than 13 land-grab treaties.
Indiana, or as it was known back then, "Manifest Destiny: the jigsaw puzzle!"
His coup de gras may have been the Treaty of Fort Wayne, where he purchased a nice chunk of Indiana from the Miami tribe. Problem: the ownership of said land was contested between the Miami, and five other tribes, all of whom came out of the treaty with somewhat hurt feelings.

Out of all this ruckus rose Tecumseh, a Shawnee warrior, who started rallying local tribes in an effort to oppose further American settlements in native lands. He led a force of 400 warriors to Harrison's estate in August of 1810, hoping to give Harrison the message of "Now, wait just a damn minute about all this land." Harrison wasn't much in the mood to receive this message, and between a series of mistranslations and quasi-aggressive actions from both parties, things got shirty. No actual blood was spilled, but the conflict that would become known as Tecumseh's War was on.

In 1811, Harrison was given authorization to take command of a force of 1000 soldiers and march on Tecumseh in a show of force. Tecumseh said "Oh, nuts to this," and attacked unexpectedly. Harrison's troops, however, vastly outnumbered their attackers, and Tecumseh was routed (though he himself escaped). The victory propelled Harrison onto the national stage as the hero of the Battle of Tippicanoe, but he wasn't done there. Tecumseh, you see, decided he needed to make some new allies: the British. Too bad the U.S. and Britain were enjoying peaceful relations by that point!
Ha ha! Except, not. When the War of 1812 broke out, Tecumseh quickly allied with the British, and helped lead British and Canadian forces south to capture Detroit. Meanwhile, Harrison had rejoined the Army as a General, and was eventually given command of the entire Army of the Northwest, meaning he got to square off against his old foe once again. Results were similar. He drove north, retook Detroit, and then invaded Canada, and finally finished off Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames. Soon after that, though, politics intervened; the Secretary of War split command of the army and sent Harrison to a rather backwater post. Harrison decided enough was enough, and resigned from the Army.
"Your loss, bitches."
Harrison's Army service tells us that the man is a fighter, knows his tactics, and isn't afraid to take his fight directly to his opponent. You've gotta respect that. Also, he isn't afraid to wait for years to get at his opponents. Fortunately for him, though, we don't he this match lasting quite that long.

Master of his image — By the time Harrison was elected to the presidency, a dozen books had been written about his life. He was hailed as a national hero, especially for his actions during the War of 1812. In his campaign, Harrison presented himself as a man of the people and a commoner, much like fellow War of 1812 general Andrew Jackson had done.

However, Harrison was far from a common man. While he wasn't excessively wealthy, he did own a good chunk of land, and slaves, and had descended from a wealthy family in Virginia. So, really, he wasn't from the common working folk, at all. This didn't matter. By adopting working-clas symbols, such as log cabins and hard cider bottles, Harrison was able to cast himself as a commoner, whether he was or not.  Let's just say that anyone who can fool that much of the American people is a good bet to be able to fool one guy.
"Excellent work on this cabin, boys. Let's get drunk."
CONS: A bit too social — Harrison's presidency was extremely brief. We'll get to the "why" of that in a second. However, the fact remains that most of his time in office was spent meeting with... well... everyone. Harrison threw open the doors of the White House to anyone looking for a government job, and America responded with gusto. This despite the fact that federal jobs were few, a problem Harrison had helped create when he came to office and refused to fire rival Democrats from their posts. Instead, Harrison met with everyone who showed up looking for work, and was unable to get much of consequence done. Even when it was a matter of life and death. And... about that...

Didn't have enough sense to wear a jacket — So. Let say you've been elected President of the United States of America. Let's say that you're going to be inaugurated in March, when it's not going to be too warm out, and you're preparing kind of a lengthy speech for the occasion. Do you: a) opt to wear a coat, or b) opt against wearing a coat? Well, if you're William Henry Harrison, you go B all the way. Solid move for a 68 year old, right?
Eh, maybe if he didn't look like the first Doctor Who...
Well, a few weeks later, Harrison caught a cold. Now, you'd be right to say, "hey, that was well after his speech; those two things can't be connected." But this was at a time when remedies for colds included opium, leeches, and something called "snakeweed." All of these were applied, and none worked. The cold quickly turned to pneumonia, and it was all downhill from there. Of course, it didn't help that his busy social schedule made getting rest in the White House next to impossible... though we're thinking that maybe his medical team can be blamed for dropping the ball, there. Either way, Harrsion died nine days after first falling ill.

Now, we're not saying that Harrison's opponent has nine days to cough on the man and wait for him to keel over, but we are saying that his time in office was short, and he spent most of it in a sickly state. Getting thrown into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™is not a good idea if you're in a sickly state. This does not look good for Homestar Runner William Henry Harrison

The Fight
Doug: Kind of like the U.S. Constitutional rule stating that presidents would have to be born in the U.S. was kind of an "eff you" to Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the Caribbean, the rule stating that Arena combatants are to fight during the presidency is kind of an "eff you" to William Henry Harrison. He was 68 years old. True, so was Reagan when he entered the White House (and he won his first round fight), but there's a difference between being 68 in 1981 and being 68 in 1841.
It's not exactly bedtime for Bonzo, so W has nothing to worry about.
Yes, I suppose there must have been some healthy 68-year-olds in 1841, but William Henry Harrison wasn't one of them. This is evidenced by the fact that he didn't live to see 1842. Or mid-April 1841 for that matter.

Tony: Hey, say what you want about William Henry Harrison's sadly-shortened presidency, at least he wasn't almost taken down by a pretzel.

Anyway, are you suggesting that this contest is deliberately biased against WHH? Because, need I remind you, we created the stupid thing. So, that just doesn't make sense. Where was I? Oh, right. So in this fight we have someone with legitimate military experience going up against... well, I can only charitably call Bush's military record "questionable." He's WHH isn't going to be laying down for anyone. And at least when he quit a war early, he got a Congressional exoneration and a medal out of it. Bottom line: William Henry Harrison has the experience to take Bush down.

Doug: Yeah, choking on a pretzel would be a silly way to go, but it's nowhere near as dumb as not wearing a coat to your extra-long inauguration speech during a blustery winter day in Washington.

Okay, maybe the Hamilton thing was a bad analogy. Though that rule does kind of put Harrison at a severe disadvantage. It kind of makes his lengthy military experience completely disappear. Harrison could have seized control of Indiana and everything west of that without stopping until he hit the Pacific Ocean. That wouldn't change the fact that decades later, when he would be reaching the Arena, he would be a very sick man.

Bush might have a cut on his face from where the coffee table hit during the pretzel incident, but he's still ready to put the old man away.
He's ready to take on hundreds of pretzels all at once.

Tony: Yeah, that would be silly. Except that probably didn't have much to do with Harrison dying. You know, because he didn't get sick for another three weeks? But whatever floats your swiftboat... of LIES.

How do the rules of the arena eliminate Harrison's military experience? Does he come into the Arena with amnesia? I'm fairly certain we haven't speculated anything like that for the other matches, which means you're trying to make up rules on the spot and I will not stand for such behavior!

And Bush? Eh, he's not so tough. I mean, yeah, he had that ranch. And he spent a lot of time clearing brush at said ranch. But... he kind of only did that when there were cameras around, you know? Granted, being the president in this day and age puts you in front of cameras all the bloody time; the point is, he wasn't clearing brush 24/7. But whatever. Anyway, you'd think that he would be ready to enjoy that ranch once his term was up-- except he immediately sold it and moved to Houston.

Now, stay with me here. Bush's father came from a really preppy background, and had to fight all these allegations that he was a wimp. George W. Bush came from... well, a very similar background. AND he was a freaking cheerleader at Yale. Sounds to me like someone was trying to boost his image against looking like a prepster. That's right, I'll say it: he was maybe kind of a phony. There's nothing phony about WHH. He's going in there and laying the hammer down. It'll be like Tippecanoe II.

Doug: I said Harrison's military experience will disappear because, though he kicked a lot of ass in his day, that had been decades prior. At this point, he's an old man with no concept of his own mortal danger (not wearing a coat for his inauguration, not resting when he's sick).

You're saying that Bush is a phony, but you said yourself that Harrison was a rich dude who used the imagery of log cabins and hard cider to make him appear like he was an everyman?
"Okay, are we done posing? I want to get back to my mansion so that I can bathe the smell of poor out of my hair."

You talk about my swiftboat of lies, but you're so full of lies, it would tip a canoe.

Here's an unavoidable fact that Harrison has to deal with. He spent about 30% of his term with pneumonia. So, when Harrison is whisked away to the Arena, there's nearly a 1 in 3 chance that he will be under the weather at the time. Bush was pretty much fit as a fiddle his entire presidency. Bush doesn't need to outfight the hardened general, because microbiology is on Bush's side.

Tony: I dunno, it seems like a reach to say that Harrison's experience would disappear. What, he's going to forget everything he learned in a lifetime of service? Not bloody likely.

I will, however, give you your awkwardly shoehorned "tip a canoe" reference. I suppose this means that, at best, Bush and Harrison are equal in their fakery. Does that make any difference when it comes to the actual fight? I have no idea, anymore.

Harrison may have spent 30% of his presidency sick with pneumonia, but George W. Bush spent 100% of his presidency being George W. Bush. Shoe-dodging agility aside, George W. Bush isn't too quick on his feet. Otherwise, we would never have gotten the fabulous "is our children learning" quote. He goes mano-a-mano with a seasoned veteran, and it's going to get ugly. In other words, when Bush comes to shove... he... ah... I've got nothing. William Henry Harrison rules!

Bush vs. Harrison


  1. I must congratulate you guys on another tough match. Athletic, younger, brush clearing Bush vs Old, dying, battle hardened Harrison. I think Bush could pound Harrison, but I think he wouldn't and I can best explain this by directing you to this youtube link:

    Bush wipes his hand on Clinton! He wipes his hand on Clinton! Maybe the hand he shook was sweaty, or sticky...and he can't take it! He's clearly afraid to get dirty, even when surrounded by cameras, officials, and most of all, people that need help. Clearly Bush is the one who's going to need help because his squeamish nature will allow The hero of Tippicanoe to beat him senseless.
    Also, I may remind you that Jackson beat the tar out of someone with his cane when they tried to assassinate him. Bush ducked. He ducked! If that were Harrison behind that pulpit getting shoes thrown at him, I bet he would have grabbed the pulpit, blocked the shoes with it, and then smashed it over that shoe-thrower's head till he was a pile of bloody, shoeless body parts. I predict the same fate for Bush jr.

  2. I'd also like to bring up another point about Bush and what you guys discussed earlier. You brought up the debates with Al Gore and claimed Bush to be cool under pressure. The following youtube video of another debate proves otherwise:

    This is not a cool and collected person. This is someone who froze up when asked a simple question. Bush will be a sitting duck in the ring!

  3. I'm voting against Bush out of principal. Started unjust war, liar, dumb as a post, puppet to Rumsfeld and Cheney, no child left behind (read the fine print on that act and you'll be appalled), destroyed the economy and goddammit, all those Bushism Calendars and greeting cards I saw everywhere for 8 years. Fuck, I hope Harrison wins.

  4. WHH lays out Bush, who's finally catching up on the end of "The Pet Goat" after ten sad years of workin' hard, stayin' late, orderin' pizza, tryin' a real lot to look all serious.

    The exertion may very well kill the old man, but not before several days of symptomatic decline mixed with celebrating a one-sided Arena victory.

    Arrived at by equal parts logic and DIE, MOTHERFUCKER.

  5. Even though I'm against military men being President (they are never worth a damn), and even though no decent policy came out of Harrison's tenure, and even though his death led right into Tyler's subsequent do-nothing Presidency, where the best thing he ever did was step out of Polk's way in the subsequent election ... I'm voting for Harrison on this round!

  6. I think the choice is clear: Bush has the physical edge over Harrison. Harrison would be going in the arena a sick (and dying) man. I think even with Bush's squeamishness he'd get to Battling once he realized he had no choice. (The Presidents are locked in the arena, yes? Two men enter, one man leave? No exceptions?) Perhaps if the arena was similar to The Hunger Games arena, Harrison would have a strategic edge and would likely come out the victor. But the arena is more like the Thunderdome, but without the weapons on the cage.

  7. I've always seen the Arena as being more Thunderdome-style (though air-conditioned, apparently), though that's partially because I've never read The Hunger Games, so I guess I don't know how that particular arena works.

  8. In response to SJL: I do agree that Bush probably has the physical advantage here. But if you look at that video I posted of Bush wiping his hand on Clinton, I kind of feel that Bush might cower. In the 30 days of Harrison's presidency, he was sick. All sorts of fluids are pouring out of Benji. Mucus, sweat....I doubt Bush will even touch him.

  9. I hate the man, and it felt wrong to vote for him even her, but I had to go with George W. He's widely acknowledged as our fittest president and going against someone 10 years his senior, who has a good chance of being cast into the arena AS HE'S DYING OF PNEUMONIA makes me believe George could run circles around WHH, avoiding his kicks or punches (which coming from a 68 year old must move slower & thus be easier to sidestep than a flying shoe) until the latter collapses & which point George will find himself standing in front of a Mission Accomplished banner.

  10. Waving around a Mission Accomplished banner? How about he just child-like waves a nice, warm wool coat around, like a matador, to fire Harrison up. Then, when Harrison tries to charge in his weakly state, Georgie-poo just steps aside and lets him fall. Because let's face it, one fall might send this guy into a coughing fit that would kill him. Because c'mon, guys, there's no way Harrison would win this fight. Exercise your political morals in another arena, not this one. Also, might I remind you that if GW wins, it's going to be a father-son death match in round two, and that is gonna be awesome? We the voters can cyber-off the Bush lineage in the Sweet 16.

  11. I still feel I need to remind people that WHH was in the army at the age of 18 and as far as I can tell spent around 12 years in the army. He fought in many battles and at that time battles often included a few fisticuffs and hand to hand combat here and there. Bush had 2 years of active duty and "irregular attendance". Note - Active duty does not necessarily mean he was in combat. In fact, I can not find anywhere that he ever fought in any battle what so ever. To say that he is perhaps one of the fittest presidents doesn't mean he knows how to fight. I fully believe that Bush could out run Harrison in a friendly race, but old Harrison sure knows how to kill someone, even on the verge of Death. Also, Harrison has nothing to lose...he's dead anyway, so I think he'll have one last achievement - smashing Bush - before lights out 32 days into his presidency.