Monday, October 31, 2011

Roosevelt vs. Palmer

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd President of the United States
Served from 1933-1945
Age during term: 51-63

Arena Experience: FDR faced off against presidential terrorist dispatcher James Marshall in the first round... and won, making it easily the biggest upset this tournament is going to have.

PROS: FDR served the longest term of any President ever-- and unless that 22nd Amendment gets repealed, he'll never lose that record. The point is, he's incredibly durable, especially given that his presidency wasn't exactly low-stress. FDR also showed a lot of creativity coming up with economic plans to get the country out of the Depression; that outside-the-box thinking clearly worked out for him in the first round.

CONS: Really, we can't emphasize this enough, but the dude could not effing walk. He could fake it, kind of, for brief periods, but let's not try and make that more than it was. Also, his health in general was fairly poor for a good chunk of his presidency... which led to him dying while said presidency was still a going concern.

David Palmer
Fictional president in the TV series 24 (2001-2006)
Portrayed by Dennis Haysbert
Age: Haysbert was 48-49 when his presidential episodes aired

Arena Experience: Palmer edged by William McKinley in the first round with 54.2% of the vote. Not bad, considering McKinley was a Civil War veteran.

PROS: Palmer survived two out of three assassination attempts (which ain't bad). The third one was by sniper rifle bullet, which isn't an issue here in the Arena. When Jack Bauer went off the radar to mourn his wife, Palmer was the only one who could get him back. Anyone who could get Bauer out of his Thoreau phase is obviously a force to be reckoned with.

CONS: We should make it clear that Bauer will not be helping Palmer. It's against the rules. Let's just hope Palmer hasn't grown dependent on him. There's also the question of when in Palmer's term this fight is taking place. If it's after assassination attempt #2, Palmer may still be feeling the effects of whatever virus that Mandy chick got him sick with.

The Fight
Doug: I haven't seen Bad Teacher, but there's a part that was shown in the trailers that I think is pretty relevant.

I'm to understand that Jason Segal plays a gym teacher.
How does the How I Met Your Mother universe deal with the fact that there's a
movie star that looks exactly like Marshall Eriksen?
He and a student are having an argument over who the better basketball player is: Michael Jordan or LeBron James. The student is saying that LeBron is a better rebounder and passer. Segal's character dismissively says, "Call me when LeBron has six championships." The kid retorts, "That's you're only argument?" Segal's character responds with, "THAT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED!"

The only argument I need? FDR is in a wheelchair. On top of barely being able to walk on his own for very long, his health is in the crapper.

I have yet to hear an argument even close to semi-sane as to how FDR would able to beat James "Get off my plane!" Marshall. Maybe Palmer never personally kicked terrorists out of a plane (LITERALLY!), but he did spend a great deal more of his time as president NOT in a wheelchair than FDR did. That's saying something, because Palmer actually was in a wheelchair for a bit.

Tony: Interesting how you open with something that essentially destroys your case. FDR killed James Marshall! THAT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED!

Look, some things in life will never be explained. Like, say, what happened to D.B. Cooper, or who put the "bomp" in the "bomp shoo bomp shoo bomp." FDR's victory over Marshall falls in this category. Perhaps our readers mistook FDR for some manner of cyborg, part man, part machine... all murder! Maybe Marshall's intimidating visage disoriented readers into voting the wrong way.

But, maybe... just maybe... our readers have realized that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was more than enough of a badass to hold his own against Marshall. Maybe they saw the man who pulled America back from the brink, and led the charge against tyranny. Maybe they were just screwing with us. Wait! Strike that last one.

The point is, FDR is here, and Marshall's not. You want to claim Roosevelt's not dangerous? Do so at your own peril.

Doug: My point is that there's a wild card here that, regardless of what turn our debate takes, we cannot control or foresee one aspect: the voters. In FDR's last fight, the voters decided that a paralyzed man without his wheelchair could defeat a Harrison Ford character in a fight. It's a problem that comes up in democracy every so often and that problem is that -- and I'm saying this with all due respect to the voters -- sometimes the voters are wrong.

Maybe they were mistaken about the question. Like, for that week, they thought we were asking who is most likely to sing Tomorrow with a former orphan and the plutocrat who adopted her?
Pictured: FDR, in a wheelchair. I feel I should remind
everyone of the fact that FDR was in a wheelchair.
Or maybe voters did it just to shake things up, and they wanted to see a top-seeder fall in the first round, but they respected the real presidents too much to vote them out. Or maybe they did it out of spite.

Whatever the story is, the voters were wrong. It wasn't not the only time, and it will probably happen again (this week or not). This is why I'm trying to make this as easy as possible: FDR's health was in terrible condition towards the end. In addition to that, he couldn't walk on his own. THIS IS THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED.

Tony: Actually, I'm going to say you need more arguments. Because you know what I'm not hearing a lot of? Evidence that Palmer can fight worth a damn. I mean, all he did as President was sit back and let CTU handle things (and by "CTU," I of course mean "Jack Bauer"). What the hell kind of a fighting style is that? A losing one, is what. And did it stop Palmer from getting himself killed? Nope! Granted, I never watched 24, so my perceptions might be a bit off, but still.

FDR is a world-class thinker, just the sort of guy who will be able to figure out a way to defeat a more able-bodied man in the Arena. He's got this.

Doug: No, Palmer hasn't seemed to have actually fought anyone, but he has a history of athleticism. He scored the game-winning basket in a Final Four game.
Though, some credit for the Sycamores' success could be Larry Bird.
Also, worth noting: Palmer can walk.

Though Palmer was killed after his term was up, I can't really buy the presupposition that Palmer isn't a fighter because he can't take a bullet to the throat. Seriously, it's a bullet to the throat. Those are difficult to survive. Are you suggesting FDR could survive that? Are you suggesting "bullet to the throat" is a legal attack in the Arena? I'm going to say "no" to both, so that pretty much means that Palmer's weakness towards bullets to the throat is not really a liability in this case.

Hey, I'm sure FDR could think of a good plan of defeating someone in the Arena. Being able to actually carry said plan out is a completely different story. Since FDR is barely able to stand up on his own, I'm kind of curious how he'd be able to defeat a former athlete in hand-to-hand combat.

I really hate to harp on this wheelchair thing, but it kind of is a big deal that's impossible to get around. It's almost as if IT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED.

Tony: I mean, athleticism is cool and all, but that doesn't mean it can win someone a fight. Gymnasts are pretty freaking athletic, but I'm pretty sure I could take one in a fight. Well, unless we're talking about the guy from Gymkata. But I'm fairly sure he's the exception to the rule.
Anyone who disagrees will get a pommel horse-assisted kick to the face.
Palmer was taken down by a bullet to the throat? Tough way to go. Of course, such shootings aren't necessarily lethal-- just ask George Orwell, who was shot in the throat during the Spanish Civil War. Seems that Palmer's a weaker specimen, I suppose. I'll give you that it's unlikely that Palmer will be shot in the Arena itself, but Palmer had better hope FDR never figures out his weakness.

The Chief: Voting closes Friday at 9am MDT. We hope everyone's Halloween is SPOOKTACULAR. We also hope the rest of your week is less so.

Roosevelt vs. Palmer


  1. I love love love FDR, probably my favorite president, but in The Arena w/o his wheelchair his only shot is to wait for Palmer to make a dumb mistake and seeing that Palmer was both a lawyer and hit a game winning shot in the Final Four it's unlikely he's dumb or will crack and make a mistake under the pressure. Palmer *should* win in what *should* be little more than a walk-over. [that was bad]

  2. The fact that FDR even made it to the second round is assinine. Spelled incorrectly in honor of the fact that FDR *SITS ON HIS ASS ALL DAY* in that damn wheelchair and in no way should have won against James Marshall. Who would have, to quote the fine film in which he kicked serious ass, would have gotten his baseball glove and played catch with FDR's balls. Metaphorical baseball glove due to the lack of props in the arena, but real Roosevelt testicles being crushed.

    I'm all for FDR as a president, ya'll. But this arena is not about "how good a president was the dude," it's about a fight to the death. And sure, Jack Bauer might not be able to physically help Palmer, but they can have coaches, right? This ain't even karate kid...a simple "sweep the leg" isn't needed to get FDR to the mat. How about a "stomp his face in while he's crawling to the corner?" 'Cause I'm pretty sure that's all it would take.

  3. It's only Friday morning, why are polls closed? Also, at the begining of his Presidentcy FDR was quite the specimen. He was a tall and imposing figure. It wasn't until later that he was forced into a wheelchair. If this is young President Roosevelt, he'd win out in a slugfest hands down.

  4. Polls always close at 9 AM, Mountain Time, Friday morning. We'll try and emphasize that in the coming weeks.