Age in Office: 69-77
Arena Experience: Reagan faced Rutherford B. Hayes in the first round, and squeaked by with 54.9% of the vote.
Pros: Reagan's a legitimate tough guy (his Secret Service code name was "Rawhide"!), which helped him become the first President to survive an assassination attempt (well, an attempt in which he was actually shot). He knows how to hang in and battle through adversity, and if all else fails, he can probably act his way to a victory, somehow.
Cons: On the other hand, Reagan's kinda old, meaning that lots of the talk of his toughness comes with the qualifier "...for his age." He's also shown a certain single-mindedness in his thinking, which historically has gotten him into trouble.
Martin Van Buren
8th President of the United States
Ages in Office: 54-58
Arena Experience: Van Buren defeated 31st century president Nixon's Head from the Futurama universe with 61.9% of the vote in the First Round. Nixon's head was given help from the headless body of Spiro Agnew. Don't ask us how that works.
PROS: According to Kramer from Seinfeld, a street gang that terrorizes New York is named after Van Buren and is apparently "as mean as" the man himself. Van Buren was dead for 135 years when this episode aired, yet he was still able to instill a fear in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers. While he was living, the weird looking little muttonchopped man with a thick Dutch accent still managed to win over voters. A lot of this has to do with the fact that he won his way into Andrew Jackson's inner-sanctum. No doubt, it was a matter of moments after being crowned the victor in the First Round was he cooking up a scheme to secure another win.
CONS: He was actually the opposite of Andrew Jackson, which is why Jackson sought Van Buren as a running mate in 1832. Jackson's bluster was balanced by Van Buren's political eggheadery. When taking office in 1837, Van Buren pulled a 180 on Jackson's policies and called for peace where ever he could. Instead of annexing Texas, Van thought it would be better to ease tensions among the states. When a border dispute erupted with Britain, Marty solved things without a single bullet being fired. Impressive, admirable even. Is this a good background for someone entering the Arena?
|Though, our voters do like to skew old.|
Tony: Oh, what, like something else took down Communism? The Pope, maybe? Or the simple weight of a doomed economic model crushing the apparatus that gave that model power? Please. If you want to blow up Communism, look no farther than Reagan, baby!
Doug: Right. Communism is dead and it's all Reagan's doing. All he had to do was tell Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Today, you can't find Communism anywhere. Except for 90 miles south of Key West. And the most populated country in the world, to whom we owe over $1 trillion. And a bunch of other places. Oh and Vladimir Putin has started talking about forming a Eurasian Union, which I'm sure won't be a Soviet Union II or anything.
Reagan's got reach, but The Little Magician is spry. Luke Skywalker was at a severe height disadvantage in the rancor pit in Return of the Jedi.
|Props to Van Buren if he tries to prop Reagan's jaw open with a bone.|
Now imagine the rancor is smaller and much, much older. And yes, we should look at the age issue. Let me remind you that a slight majority thought age wasn't enough of an issue. Who knows what the story is this time around?
Tony: Oh, right. China's so very Communist. Which explains why American companies are flocking there in droves. As for the Eurasian Union… okay, that's trouble. But is it Communist trouble, or good old-fashioned dictatorship trouble? I'd attempt to answer this question, but I don't hold any graduate degrees, so never mind.
Doug: I think comparing Van Buren to Luke Skywalker is no more ridiculous than claiming that Reagan ended Communism.
The difference between Van Buren and the green slave dancer is that the green slave dancer is prone to panicking. Well, that's one difference, another difference is that the Van Buren presidency wasn't marked with any nip slips.
Tony: ...that we know of.
Doug: If Van Buren had fallen into that pit, he would have plotted his way out of that place. Maybe Van Buren doesn't have the Force, like Skywalker does, but he certainly has something. He's the kind of person Andrew Jackson cleans off his boots with a stick, but he freakin' made him his running mate and gave him his personal seal of approval for in the 1836 election. It's not lifting an X-wing out of a Dagobah swamp, but that's pretty freakin' impressive.
Reagan's power comes in the form of ignoring AIDS and causing our debt to skyrocket. Plus, he got his ass beat by a decrepit Konstantin Chernenko in a Frankie Goes to Hollywood music video. Do you think the founder of the Van Buren Boys, the meanest street gang in New York, is going to be beat by that guy?
|George is getting upset.|
And then he's getting beaten, Van Buren-style.
Tony: Really? Because one involves historical fact, whereas the other involves midichlorians. Midichlorians, Doug.
Doug: Reagan had as much to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union as midichlorians did.
|"Hold still. I need to test your ability to topple governments."|
What happened was that the Soviet Union finally got a progressive thinker who took a look around and said, "Holy shit, this system is messed up. Also, we should start giving our people more freedom." And once the people got more freedom, they spoke up and said, "Holy shit, this system is messed up," and eventually, the government toppled. Reagan just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get the credit. That's called luck.
|In all fairness, it's easier to just know Gorbachev as "that guy with the thing on his head" |
and handing all the credit to Reagan than it is to actually read up on what actually happened.
The Chief: Why don't we throw this to the voters before this gets any more ridiculous? Readers: you know what to do. Vote, comment, and we'll see what's what on Friday.