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.
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?|
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?
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.
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!"|
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!
|"Your loss, bitches."|
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."|
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...|
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
|It's not exactly bedtime for Bonzo, so W has nothing to worry about.|
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.
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.
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!