Friday, December 30, 2011

Hit Your Interstate Highway System, Ike

Ike really knows how to make things interesting for us.
But Andrew Jackson saw to it that Eisenhower's luck would run out.

Jackson vs. Eisenhower
Andrew Jackson  23 (57.5%)
Dwight D. Eisenhower       17 (42.5%)

Eisenhower, whose 1st Round match had us scrambling to create a procedure in case of a tie, had Jackson on the ropes for most of the week. HttCttD staffers went to bed last night thinking another Eisenhower tiebreaker would be necessary, and with the commentariat split 2-2, the head offices would have had to have made an executive decision, which we hate to do. Ironic, since our blog is about chief executives of history and fiction. However, an overnight Jackson surge made this unnecessary, giving Old Hickory his first close call since the assassination attempt from Richard Lawrence.

Speaking of the commentariat, we would have to say that these were the best group of comments we've received in a while. As mentioned, they were split down the middle, all bringing up valid points.
This is a point we have made in the past. Say what you will about the Normandy invasion, Ike wasn't actually there mowing down Nazis himself.

While we bid farewell to Eisenhower, we would like to take a moment to recognize his delightful Twitter feed. He has been a following our blog since the beginning and we would like to note how much we appreciate his support and his entertaining tweets.
While some other Twitter campaigns for votes have irked us in the past, we were totally fine with DEisenhower34's self-promotion. Mostly because he didn't only speak up when it was his week, but he encouraged his followers to check us out regularly; unlike the mysterious flood of voters who visit only on weeks Bartlet is up.

So we'd like to thank Mr. Eisenhower for his tweets. We hope there are no hard feelings with this week's results, and we also hope you'll stick around to amuse us some more.

Andrew Jackson secures a quarterfinal appearance, which is scheduled for Feb. 20. Next week, Kang from The Simpsons will face Thomas J. Whitmore from Independence Day. This will be the only time a fictional president meets another fictional president in the Round of 16, and it is likely to be the last fictional meetup in the tournament.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

He's So Money, And He Doesn't Even Know It

Next time you go to an ATM and are greeted with portraits of Andrew Jackson, take a moment to consider how angry that would make Jackson. It's not that Jackson was against people having easy access to their personal finance. No, he was against the idea of a national bank and paper money.
Oh, the irony.
When Jackson took office in 1829, he had a few things he wanted to change, and he wasn't exactly shy about changing them. One thing in particular was getting rid of the Second Bank of the United States. He felt the bank put too much power in the hands of a select few.
That was a problem that never really went away.
As someone who was once in debt, Jackson knew the plight of the common man who would have their possessions repossessed over unfair agreements. He also felt the bank favored the richer states in the Northeast over the South and the West. When Jackson started talking about not renewing the bank's 20-year charter -- due to expire in 1836 -- Senator Henry Clay led a charge to impeach Jackson. It should be noted that Clay owned shitload of banks, which kind of proved Jackson's point that a select few wealthy people had too much power.

Jackson was able to shake off any talk of impeachment and closed the bank. In 1914, the nation's third central bank, the Federal Reserve, opened in 1914. In 1928, the Federal Reserve put Jackson's portrait on the $20-bill.
"Take a hike, Grover."
Just as he was against a central bank, Jackson also didn't like the idea of paper money, whose value is decided through government regulation. What would happen if that government suffered some crisis? He disliked the idea so much, he warned Americans to stay away from paper money in his farewell speech in 1837.

And now he's on one of the most widely-used denominations of money. We'd have to imagine that if some Whigs could see that today, they'd have a chuckle over that one... until they realize that they're not on any money.
Oooh, suck it, whoever you are. I don't know who you are, because you're not printed on money.
(No, really though, it's Henry Clay.)
To add another layer of someone honoring Jackson by forgetting what he stood for, we need to go South. Not that far South, just our South.

When the South seceded from the Union after Abraham Lincoln's 1860 election victory, they decided that their new nation, the Confederate States of America, would need its own currency. Who better to put on their $1,000-bill than Southerner Andrew Jackson?
Sure, Jackson was from Tennessee, and proud of it. One of the reasons why he hated the central bank was because it favored the North; so that right there shows that he's all for the South. Except, Jackson ruled with an iron fist, which implies that he was kind of big on the idea of a strong federal government. While he did support states' rights, he did step up and say that states do not have the right to nullify federal law. Now, if the official reason for seceding from the Union was because the federal government has too much power, it would seem odd to put the first guy to beef up the American presidency on your money.

To add to this, Jackson was forced to share the bill his first vice president, John C. Calhoun. Jackson didn't really care for Calhoun. So much so that Jackson didn't invited him to be his running mate in 1832. If that's not enough evidence to show Jackson's dislike, upon leaving the White House, Jackson said his only two regrets about his eight-year term were, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun."

But that didn't matter, because there he was on the $1,000 bill. And when the South lost the Civil War, the Confederate money lost all value... which was one of the reasons why Jackson was against paper money in the first place.

Jackson is going up against Dwight D. Eisenhower this week in the last fight of 2011. If you haven't already, vote and be heard!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jackson vs. Eisenhower

Andrew Jackson
7th President of the United States
Served: 1829-1837
Ages during term: 62-70

Arena Experience: Jackson cruised in the first round against William Howard Taft, and absolutely demolished Mars Attacks' James Dale in the second round.

Pros: Hella tough (lifetime of kicking ass and escaping various wars), and hella lucky (the whole "assassin jumps out and fires two pistols, both of which jam" event).

Cons: Somewhat aged by the time he reached the Presidency; also has questionable skills when robbed of his favorite beatin' cane.
Not surprisingly, the guy who told Jackson he couldn't take
his cane into the Arena got beaten with Jackson's cane.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th President of the United States
Served: 1953-1961
Ages during term: 62-70

Arena Experience: Eisenhower needed to take David Rice Atchison to a tiebreaker, but scored a more decisive win against Bill Clinton.

Pros: His middle initial does not stand for for "D-Day," though it totally could as he oversaw the Normandy invasion. He was also quite the athlete back in his day.
He had quite a kick, too.

Cons: "His day" had long since passed. And although his military experience was massively impressive, it included little hand-to-hand combat. He had heart problems and was suffering from Crohn's Disease.

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: I'd have to say that at first, I thought Jackson would have had this sewn up. Eisenhower doesn't nearly have the temper or the experience physically beating someone himself. Both were very successful generals and they were both the same age when they began they were in the White House.

On one hand, you have Eisenhower's heart that was ready to self-destruct. On the other hand, you have Andrew Jackson who reportedly rattled like a "bag of marbles" from the bullets of his duels still lodged in his body.

Eisenhower could pull this one out.

Tony: He could, but he won't. These two are actually fairly evenly matched in most areas... except for, you know, the stuff you pointed out. Like temper: the same edge that got Ol' Hickory into all these duels is the same edge that's going to win him this fight. Plus, like you even said, there's the experience factor? So, yeah, aside from the two rather large and glaring advantages for Jackson, they're practically the same guy!

The Chief: Readers, now it's your turn! As always, voting is open until 9am Mountain Time on Friday. We'll be back on Wednesday with more!

Jackson vs. Eisenhower

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ask Not How JFK Pulled That Off

Kennedy pulled off the improbable.
He smoked the five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion.

Kennedy vs. Camacho
John F. Kennedy  14 (56%)
Dwayne E.M.D.H. Camacho      11 (44%)

While we think a JFK win would be unlikely, at least it was one of the closer matches we've had in a while. Well, not if you count comments, or twitter replies, that is. If it had been up to them, Camacho would have won in a landslide. To wit:
It's the last line that makes it.

JFK moves on, and is scheduled to meet George H.W. Bush in the Round of 16 on Feb. 13.
This concludes the 2nd Round. Next week is our very first fight of the Round of 16. Andrew Jackson will face Dwight D. Eisenhower in a Boxing Day Blitz.

In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas. Or, if that's not your thing, a satisfying Sunday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hail to the (C)hanukkah

Since last night was the first night of Hanukkah, we should inject some Hanukkah spirit into our presidential tournament of death blog. So here we have eight fun fact about Hanukkah in the White House.

1) While visiting the White House in 1951, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented a Hanukkah menorah to Harry Truman and the people of the United States. Truman seemed to have made no other mention to the holiday.
2) The first time the holiday was officially acknowledged in the White House was 1979, when Jimmy Carter lit the National Menorah at Lafayette Park. So, I guess you can say presidents were a little late to the party.
Between Carter's obvious discomfort, and the rather... lackluster (and strangely glassed off) menorah, this has obviously come a long way.
3) Bill Clinton was joined by several children when he hosted the first menorah lighting in the White House. One girl's ponytail started to smoke when it touched a flame. Clinton snuff the smoke out with his hands. We can't find video of it, but it was pretty amusing.
There aren't any pictures of it either, apparently.
4) Presidential knowledge of Hannukah, on the other hand, goes back a ways. According to one story, then-general George Washington learned about Hanukkah in 1777 while walking among his troops camped at Valley Forge. He noticed one soldier by himself near two small flames. Washington asked the soldier what he was doing and the soldier told him the story of Hanukkah. The soldier said that he believed that God was looking out for the Continental Army, just like He did with the Maccabees. Washington remembered this story when he was visiting a Jewish merchant the following year during Hanukkah.

5) The first night of Hanukkah happened to fall on Christmas Eve that year. So, while the story mentions Hanukkah, there's no mention of Christmas Eve being celebrated by anyone in the Continental Army. Be sure to pass that tidbit around to the next person who tells you that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation.
Also, this.
6) Speaking of examples of how people who think Christmas is an American tradition are wrong: In 1899, William McKinley received several letters urging him to forgo getting a Christmas tree for the White House, as it was seen as "un-American" because it was a German tradition. Not like it was that big of a deal since the White House didn't do the whole Christmas tree thing back then anyway. Again, just sayin'.

7) George W. Bush hosted the first White House Hanukkah party, and the event seemed to have gotten bigger every year during his term. In 2005, he started the practice of making sure the White House kitchen was kosher.
And when we say it's gotten bigger... we ain't kidding.
8) Barack Obama has made the Hanukkah party a smaller event. However, he was the first person to make the Hanukkah address in English and in Hebrew.
According to the English-to-Hebrew translator we found, "Let me be clear" translates as "הרשו לי להיות ברור"
Hmm, so it looks like we weren't able to keep Christmas out of our post about Hanukkah. Considering stores deck the halls with Christmas spirit as the Halloween candy runs low, limiting it to two mentions of Christmas is actually pretty impressive. We even limited those two facts to the two nights where Christmas Eve and Christmas happen to fall.

Even though it's the holiday season, the Arena remains open. If you haven't already, vote in our fight between Idiocracy's President Camacho and JFK.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kennedy vs. Camacho

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
35th President of the United States
Served: 1961-1963
Ages during term: 44-46

Arena Experience: Kennedy faced off against faux-faux-President Dave Kovic in the first round, and walked away with 73.3% of the vote.

PROS: Kennedy spent World War II in bad-ass mode. I mean: getting your boat sawed in half by a Japanese destroyer? Check. Leading your men to safety through shark-infested water? Check. Towing a wounded comrade by your teeth? Check. Later on, the Russians found out just how tough JFK was when they went eyeball-to-eyeball over Cuba, and the Russians ended up blinking. He was also an astute historian and analyst, and had netted a Pulitzer Prize before he became president.

CONS: Kennedy suffered back problems all his life, and by the time he was president, he was in constant pain. He also suffered from Addison's disease, which we'll admit, we don't understand. It dosen't sound good, though. In addition, Kennedy was very much part of the 1%, and many of his pre-presidential accomplishments were made in part because of his connections.

Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho
Served as fictional President of the United States in the 2006 film Idiocracy
Portrayed by Terry Crews
Age Served: Crews was 38 when Idiocracy was released

Arena Experience: Camacho defeated Herbert Hoover with an unimpressive 55.6% of the vote in the 1st Round.

PROS: Prior to being elected president, Camacho was crowned as Ultimate Smackdown champion five times. With those titles alone, it's safe to assume that he can handle himself pretty well in a fight. It was also noted that throughout the movie, a team of scantily-clad women were surrounding Camacho. Why would he forgo a security detail? Either because he knows he could handle anyone coming after him, or he knows no one would dare come after him.

CONS: Not very bright. In Idiocracy, the human population has gotten dumber over the centuries. The American people didn't elect Camacho on merit, but on the fact that he was an fighting champion and a porn "superstar." The country was in terrible shape, but he had absolutely no ideas. Instead, he just followed the terrible ideas of his idiotic Cabinet -- which included a boy who was about 12 years old. Point being, while he's got lots of muscle, he probably won't be going in with a lot of strategy.

The Fight
Tony: Okay, I want everyone to sit back, close your eyes, and imagine a world in which JFK wasn't a complete and total badass. What would that world be like? Okay, everyone come back, now. What did you imagine? Did you imagine a planet full of radioactive craters? Because if you didn't, you're doing it wrong. A world without JFK is a world in which some other dumb schmuck would be stuck grappling with the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and that wouldn't end well for anyone. The moral? JFK gets it done.

Also, I'm not sure I like the odds of someone who only barely squeaked out a win against Herbert Freaking Hoover. Camacho may have been an Ultimate Fighter, but in this match, he's going to be an Ultimate Loser.

Doug: Yeah, that's great and all, but the Cuban Missile Crisis wasn't settled with a wrestling match between JFK and Krushchev. Not to take anything away from JFK's ability as president, because he handled that pretty well. JFK's not going to lose his cool, no. He's not going to lose any of his major health concerns either, which should be considered.
And yeah, I can't really say it makes sense that the guy played by Terry Crews almost lost to Hoover. I mean repeat the sentence to yourself a few times and you'll realize how ridiculous it is if you haven't already.

Tony: I bring up the Cuban Missile Crisis, because a) holy shit, and b) it was a battle of wills for those involved. JFK, having already proved his physical prowess during the war, showed that he wasn't going to be bluffed like some chump. He has the mental fortitude to come up with a strategy and see that strategy through, negotiating whatever pitfalls he might encounter. What's Camacho's will like? I'm really asking, because I have no idea. I can't imagine he's that mentally tough. He's probably used to getting his way quickly, and when JFK proves a tougher customer, Camacho's going to have no idea what to do with himself.

Doug: I'll have to admit, Camacho's will and ability for strategics may be eclipsed by JFK. But JFK's physical prowess was waning by the time he got to the White House. It was so bad that in addition to his legion of doctors, he was seeing another doctor in secret. That doctor's only job was to prescribe pain medication. No long-term plans for health and wellness, just "make the pain go away." Sounds dangerous. Actually, it kind of sounds like a Michael Jackson-Conrad Murray situation.

So, JFK will either be doped up or in massive pain. It sounds like Camacho will know exactly what to do with a foe like that.

Tony: All you're telling me about JFK's secret painkiller addiction, is that he was ahead of its time. Also, considering that the man clearly maintained control of his faculties whilst doped up, you'll have a hard time convincing me he's going to be that weak when Camacho rolls around. Plus, he'll likely still be partying when he steps into the Arena. Simply put, JFK is holding all the cards. He's winning this.

Doug: Well, he put of the appearance of someone who maintained control of his faculties. The real story about his health problems didn't become public until years after his death. Who knows what was really going on? My guess is that if daily life was a painful struggle for him, I would imagine him stepping into the Arena against a title-winning fighter much bigger than him would look more like a Bay of Pigs than a Cuban Missile Crisis.

JFK might as well open the fight by declaring "Ich bin ein Goner."

The Chief: It's the final match of the 2nd Round. As always, we need your votes and comments, so tell us who should have the final spot in the Round of 16. Polls close 9am Mountain time on Festivus Friday.

Kennedy vs. Camacho

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ex-CIA Director Neutralizes Tippecanoe

George H.W. Bush's CIA know-how proved to be no match for the fatally ill William Henry Harrison.
Bush's fists did the talking in this matchup of familial vengeance.

Bush vs. Harrison
George H.W. Bush   16 (66.7%)
William Henry Harrison        8  (33.3%)

Once again, Bush has gone up against a Harrison, and once again, he ended up with exactly two-thirds of the vote. We hope the CIA isn't monitoring this blog and rigging the votes so that their former director wins by a big margin.

At this point, we're expected to explain how someone able to easily defeat the younger and athletic Bush would get tripped up by the older one. And wouldn't you know, we thought of something. It could be argued that Harrison's first bout took place in the small window of time when he was president but not yet dying. However, after winning his first fight and waiting around for the second fight, Harrison must have caught pneumonia. Right? We don't know. Try not to think too hard about the specifics.

Looking past whatever happened in the First Round, a George H.W. Bush - William Henry Harrison matchup seems pretty straight forward.
Say what you will about Bush, he went up against a very ill 68-year-old. Only major mess up on Bush's part would have ended his Arena run.

Bush moves on to the Round of 16, which is scheduled for Feb. 13.
Join us next week when John F. Kennedy takes on Idiocracy's Dwayne E.M.D.H. Camacho.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

30 Days or Less

William Henry Harrison's laughably short term puts him in annals of historical trivia almost everyone knows. They may not know when he served, they may not know who succeeded him, they may not even know his name, but most people know that there was a president who died a month after taking office.
"Oooh, I'm pretty sure it was one of these guys."
Really, how much could happen in a month? Harrison's term wasn't really marked with any major events. It was mostly Harrison declaring an end to the Jacksonian way, icing out fellow Whig Henry Clay (who was trying to elbow his way into power) in favor of Daniel Webster, and him dying.

Not much can happen in a month.

However, Operation Just Cause lasted 23 days. And since it ties William Henry Harrison (by being shorter than his presidential term) and George H.W. Bush (by occurring during his presidential term) added with the bonus of us coming up on its 22nd anniversary, it might be time for a nice little history lesson.

This history lesson comes with a Van Halen music video for a song that has nothing to do with the country, other than they happen to share the same name.

The U.S. was just starting its rich history of sticking its nose into Central American affairs when President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to build a canal through the isthmus of Panama, but Columbia (who controlled the area at the time) wasn't game. A revolt was "coincidentally" incited, and Panama became an independent nation. The U.S. built the Panama Canal and held on to the area surrounding the canal, until President Jimmy Carter said, "You know what, we should totally give this back to you guys... eventually. The canal should remain neutral." And that's pretty much what the Carter-Torrijos Treaty said.

Starting in 1967, the CIA started working with Manuel Noriega. Noriega was trained intelligence and counterintelligence from the School of the Americas -- a happy little school in Georgia that teaches military techniques to U.S. allies in the Western Hemisphere, and is not at all controversial.

Noriega rose through the ranks and became the military dictator of Panama. The U.S. didn't really mind that he was a dictator, as long as he sided with the U.S. and thwarted the Soviets in other Central American countries (which he did). While he worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency to restrict drug shipments, he also used his protection granted by the CIA to launder money coming in from the drug dealers he was supposed to be restricting.

This kind of put the U.S. in a tough position, given our War on Drugs. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan put pressure on Noriega to knock it off and to step down. Noriega didn't, because why would he? In 1988, members of the Pentagon began pushing for an invasion of Panama. It seemed good on paper. The U.S. loved democracy and hated drugs. Here was this dictator aiding the drug trade. Why not get rid of him?
We'll give you a hint.
Well, because Reagan's vice president and former CIA director, George H.W. Bush, was running for president. And if the U.S. invaded Panama, voters would start to wonder why the U.S. was suddenly trying to get rid of a dictator who worked with the CIA. Maybe Bush would even have to answer how, as head of an agency that collected intelligence, he didn't know what Noriega was up to.

Instead, the Bush campaign glossed over this whole Noriega/drugs thing and told voters that his opponent, Michael Dukakis, would install revolving doors in America's prisons.

Bush won the election, and the Noriega problem went away. No, not really.

In May 1989, Panama held elections. When Noriega's opponent, Guillermo Endara, defeated the pro-Noriega Carlos Duque, Noriega supporters beat Endara up and Noriega declared the election null. There was a coup, but Noriega's regime survived.

In December of that year, an unarmed U.S. Marine was harassed by Panamanian troops. He tried to flee, but was fatally shot. Reports say that a few Americans who witnessed the event were arrested and assaulted while in custody. The Panamanian troops claimed that they were members of a group that tried to agitate the Noriega regime, while the U.S. said that such a group didn't exist.

On December 20, the U.S. invaded. Bush spelled out the reasoning was to: protect the 35,000 U.S. citizens living in Panama, to defend democracy and human rights, to combat drug trafficking and to protect the integrity of the Torrijos-Carter Treaty. It was believed that with Noriega in power, the Panama Canal would no lose neutrality.

Noriega surrendered on Jan. 3 and was taken to the United States. The operation ended Jan. 12.

Later that year, the U.S. went to fight the forces of another dictator who once was supported by the U.S.
This week's fight between George H.W. Bush and William Henry Harrison is significantly less complicated than this whole Panama deal. It's simple, vote on who would win and leave us comments.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bush vs. Harrison

First, let's get our fine print on:

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.
Moving on.

George Herbert Walker Bush
41st President of the United States
Years Served: 1989-1993
Ages during term: 64-68
Arena experience: Ol' H.W. doubled up on Benjamin Harrison in the first round.

PROS: Bush was an incredibly accomplished prep school kid who dropped everything to enlist in World War II. He spent the war in the Pacific bombing the shit out of freedom's enemies, then survived his bomber being hit-- and by "survived," we mean he had to bail out of his plane. This instilled a love of bailing-out-of-planes that the now ex-president indulges in to this day. He entered into politics with a wealth of connections, which means he knew folks who could get things done, dammit.

CONS: Bush spent his time in national office dodging question after question about how tough he was. He also proved adept at ignoring calamities that were unfolding right under his nose, which would prove unfortunate when the economy tanked under said nose, and Bush did nothing, leading to his defeat in 1992.
William Henry Harrison
9th President of the United States
Served March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841
Age during term: 68

Arena Experience: Harrison defeated George W. Bush with 60.9% of the vote, though we suspect that the voters allowed their politics to play too big of a role in deciding that one.

PROS: Harrison was in the U.S. Army and served as a major general in the Indiana Territory militia. While in the militia, he kept Tecumseh and company at bay during the War of 1812 and went on an all-out land grab to claim Indiana for the U.S. The guy doesn't back down.

CONS: The guy doesn't back down. Even when it comes to things like putting on a coat when he's about to give a long inaugural speech during a winter storm. Even when it comes to taking it easy when he has pneumonia. Things like that lead to sort presidential terms, and even shorter fights.

The Fight
Tony: Okay, time for straight talk. You and I both know that William Henry Harrison, he of the one month presidency, had no business surviving his first round fight. He was just lucky to go up against someone with a lower approval rating than cancer. Well, now he's going up against George Herbert Walker Bush, and he's going to get his face caved in. Let's look at the facts:
  • H.W. is hardcore
  • The Bush family have a habit of sticking up for one another; witness Dubya wanting to kick Garry Trudeau's ass for saying mean things about his dad.
  • Harrison dispatched Dubya in the Arena.
Thus, we can conclude that H.W. is going to want to exact revenge on Harrison, and Harrison? Well, he's going to be in absolutely no position to defend himself. 

Doug: You realize this is a two-way road, right? You say H.W. is going to exact revenge on W.H.H. for knocking his son out in the 1st Round. And how do you think Harrison's going to treat the guy who beat his grandson? "Oh, that's quite all right, good chap. All in the good name of friendly fisticuffs, then. Tally-ho, and may the best man live to see the 'morrow!"

No, of course not. And I don't know why I made Harrison sound like a fancy British gentleman, because he wasn't one. In fact, he spent his military career in the Indiana wilderness, removing the people who had been there for generations, which proved quite the challenge.

Point being, Harrison is no slouch himself. And he too has the taste for revenge.
Tony: He may be no slouch, but will he be conscious? Let's face it, Harrison enters this match at a serious disadvantage. There is no point during his administration that he was not dying. And now he's supposed to survive the Arena? Not seeing it.

Then there's Bush. Think Bush is a wimp? Ask Noreiga how that turned out. Or, ask all the people with whom Bush has voluntarily jumped out of planes. They'll tell you-- Bush is one bad mother.

Doug: Shut your mouth!

Tony: I'm just talking about Bush!

Doug: Then I can dig it.

But seriously, on paper, this may not be the best of circumstances for Harrison. In reality (actually, that should read "in 'reality'") though, he has already beaten a pretty fit and athletic president in the Arena. Clearly, the voters see something in Tippecanoe that you may be overlooking.

You want me to ask Noriega (the School of the Americas graduate and the guy who worked with the CIA, even when G.H.W. Bush was heading it) about Bush's wimpitude, or should we ask Shawnee chief Tecumseh about William Henry Harrison's? Because there's no common link between Harrison and Tecumseh before they met on the battlefield, unlike Bush and Noriega. It's not like Tecumseh learned his military techniques through Americans only to be deposed by an American president, which seems to be the case with Noriega.

Maybe "wimp" isn't the word with this dealing with Noriega. Maybe "shady" is a better word.
Tony: Again, I think the context of Harrison's previous victory is extremely important here, because if there's one thing our voters have shown, it's that popularity often matters more than actual fighting prowess. Harrison went up against George W. Bush; thus I think it's safe to say his victory has very little to do with him. Either way, he's about the run up against the juggernaut that is George H.W. Bush. Say buh-bye, William!
Doug: I'm totally against the voters ignoring who would actually win in a fight and just going with the guy they like. It kind of defeats the purpose of this blog, but that's what they're doing and there's no way for us to stop it. Are these same voters who disliked W going to be totally cool with the guy who gave us W? It totally sucks, yeah.

They would be ignoring the fact W.H.H. is going to hit H.W. like a log cabin.

The Chief: Now it's up to the readers to decide which of these two cats will end up not copping out even when the danger of the Arena is all about. Vote and comment! Voting closes Friday at 9am Mountain time.

Bush vs. Harrison

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lincoln Logs Another Victory

The Great Emancipator set Ulysses S. Grant free from the shackles of the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena.
The 16th president is going to the Round of 16.

Grant vs. Lincoln
Ulysses S. Grant   9  (37.5%)
Abraham Lincoln      15 (62.5%)

As we noted, we felt that it was a little awkward to have Civil War General Grant go up against his Commander-in-Chief. And given how highly they regarded each other and the fact that Grant reportedly wept openly at Lincoln's funeral, it almost makes this week's matchup cruel. Well, that's the Arena for ya.

While Grant was defeated, it doesn't seem that his feelings for Lincoln played a part. It was all Lincoln's wiry tenacity.
Technically, the ol' "mace in the stove-pipe hat" trick wouldn't fly in the Arena, but the other point is valid. Lincoln's got some pretty mad reach.

Lincoln will move on to the Round of 16, where he's scheduled to meet Theodore Roosevelt Feb. 6.
Tensions will surely MOUNT for that one.
I'm pretty sure people will be RUSHing to see what happens.
And when it's done, they'll be asking for MORE.

Next week, we put George H.W. Bush up against William Henry Harrison.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Match That Almost Wasn't

One of the reasons why Ulysses S. Grant was able to be included in HttCttD was because his wife and Lincon's wife didn't get along..

We were taught in school that John Wilkes Booth assassinated  Lincoln in April 1865 at Ford's Theater. What we didn't learn (or at least we don't remember learning) was that Lincoln's assassination was part of a bigger plan to throw the U.S. government into a state of chaos. As the Civil War came to a close, Booth, a Confederate sympathizer who had already planned on kidnapping Lincoln the previous year, saw that his chances to save the South were going out the window. When Lincoln made a speech in which he gave his support to give former slaves citizenship, Booth decided that now was the time.

He and a few others decided that the best way of doing this was to kill the men at the top of the government. In the plan, Booth would kill Lincoln, George Atzerodt would kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Lewis Powell would kill Secretary of State William Seward. Then word got out that General Grant had been invited to join Lincoln at Ford's Theater. Booth then decided that the new plan was to shoot Lincoln and stab Grant, getting two high-level Union deaths for the price of one.

Powell went so far as to attack Seward in his home. He stabbed Seward, but Seward survived. Atzerodt, on the other hand, joined the conspiracy when Booth and others were talking about kidnapping Lincoln. He didn't really have any interest in killing anyone, but Booth told him that it was too late to back out. Instead, Atzerodt went to the hotel where Johnson had been staying and he got drunk.

Grant, however, ended up not going to Ford's Theater with Lincoln, because their wives didn't get along very well. Instead, the Lincolns were joined by Major Henry Rathbone, who was stabbed by Booth in the attack. Rathbone's mental state declined as a result of the attack as he convinced himself that he didn't do enough to save Lincoln and stop the attack.

Instead, Grant and his wife boarded a train for Philadelphia that day. A conspirator, Michael O'Laughlen, followed the Grants onto the train. He tried to break into their private car, but it was locked and under guard. O'Laughlen fled at the first sign of the guard.

So, although they did manage to kill the president, they left the vice president and secretary of state alive. But even if they did succeed in killing Johnson and Seward, the U.S. government still would not be in disarray, because the Presidential Succession Act of 1792 stated that the Presidential pro tempore of the United States Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives would have been the next two to take over the presidency.

But I guess if the conspiracy had also successfully assassinated Lafayette S. Foster and Schuyler Colfax (who, coincidentally, later became Grant's vice president), then maybe the Union would have been screwed.

Luckily for Grant, he survived that day, and so did the United States government, thereby paving the way for him to be elected president and to later be a combatant in the Arena.

It's kind of sick of us to put Grant up against Lincoln, given how close they became towards the end of Lincoln's life. But hey, that's us! Speaking of which, there's still two days left in the epic battle between Grant and Lincoln.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Grant vs. Lincoln

Ulysses S. Grant
18th President of the United States
Served: 1869-1877
Ages during term: 46-54
Arena experience: Grant defeated President Breyer of Venture Brothers fame in the first round, taking 75% of the vote for a resounding victory.

PROS: Grant is a highly-regarded soldier, who rose from the very bottom of the ranks to command the Union army during the Civil War, which, as American wars go, was kinda important. He balanced that out by being a highly-regarded and internationally renowned diplomat.

CONS: So while there were many avenues in which Grant was a great success, there were many, many more in which he was a complete and abject failure. There are a few reasons for this, but it mainly boils down to the fact that Grant was a) a drunk, and b) really bad at most things. Grant also had such a single-minded focus on his battles that most of his victories ended up in the "Pyrrhic" category.

Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States
Served: 1861-1865
Ages Served: 52-56

Arena Experience: Abraham Lincoln gave Zachary Taylor a walloping he won't soon forget, getting 84.6% of the vote. Taylor's no slouch. He was a pretty badass Mexican-American War general. On the other hand, he was killed by cherries.

PROS: Lincoln taught himself everything he knew, taking him a life as poor farmer to an oft-sought out lawyer to a brilliant orator and one of the best presidents in U.S. history. He was a tough president with a rebellion to quash, and quash it he did. Tyler Durden, the guy who likes fighting so much he started his very first Fight Club, wanted to fight Lincoln. Clearly, that's saying something.

CONS: He kind of loses a lot. He lost a U.S. Senate seat in 1854 and again in 1858. In 1856, he broke up the monotony of losing Senate elections by placing second in the race for the vice presidency. In 1860, he went for broke and ran for presidency. Yes, he won, but only because the vote was split with two Democratic nominees. Going into 1864, he was convinced he was going to lose his bid for re-election. On top of this, he is often believed to have suffered from depression and he wrote poetry about suicide. Let's hope he keeps those thoughts in control while in the Arena.

The Fight
Doug: I'm just going to start things off by addressing the elephant in the drawing room; Grant is going up against his own former Commander-in-Chief. AWK-ward.

Tony: Actually, given that Lincoln and Grant were both Republicans, I'd say there are two elephants in the drawing room! Wakka wakka!

Doug: Whatever. Lincoln has defeated his own general before. Just ask George McClellan about the Election of 1864 and the Great Staring Contest of 1862.
Fifteen seconds later, Lincoln made a funny face and McClellan laughed.
No, but seriously folks, this won't be a problem for Lincoln. He has beaten generals before in the Arena, this will just be standard operating procedure. If Lincoln the boy can withstand a horse-kick to the head, I'm afraid to even guess what would take down Lincoln the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena combatant. Short of cowardly sneaking up behind him while he's enjoying a play and shooting him, the man is unstoppable.

Tony: Er, yes. Look, don't throw any George McClellan at me. If he had known what to do with his army from the get-go, there would've been no need for Grant to come along, would there? So really, the fact that Lincoln has defeated his own general before means nothing, because Grant is fifty times the badass McClellan was. Q.E.D.

Grant, meanwhile, has proven that he will disregard logic, human decency, and all manner of obstacles to pursue victory. So what if Lincoln's noggin can withstand a horse kick? He'll have non-theater-related weaknesses elsewhere. Grant will find them, and turn his CIC to RIP.
Doug: Granted, Grant is a badass. I wouldn't want to get into a scrape with him. Does he really compare to Lincoln? How many South Dakotan mountains has Grant been carved into for all eternity? Speaking of Mount Rushmore, did you know that they put Lincoln next to Roosevelt because they were afraid that the Roosevelt head would come alive and start trouble with Washington and Jefferson? They knew that Lincoln would be able to keep Roosevelt in line.
They don't teach you that in school for some reason.
Tony: Yeah, but on the other hand, Lincoln is on what… the five-dollar bill? Meanwhile Grant's sweet mug is plastered all over the $50. So that means Grant is worth ten times' Lincoln's worth.

And what the hell is Rushmore-Lincoln gonna do if Roosevelt starts to step? Sneeze on him? Dude's got no arms, is what I'm saying. Nor torso, nor anything else that would be useful, save for that schnoz. Besides, Lincoln may be carved into rock, but Grant? IS Rock. Or have you not heard of Grantite?
Doug: Grantite? Wasn't that the stuff the peacenik, treehugger-types were saying should be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to Unobtainium in Avatar?

No, Grant being on the fifty doesn't mean he's ten times better than Lincoln. It means he's more obscure. You probably have Lincoln in your wallet right now, maybe even multiple Lincolns. How many Grants do you have? When was the last time you had a Grant? Better yet, go to a 7-11 and try to spend that Grant. They don't accept anything larger than a $20-bill. They don't want Grant around. Lincoln's cool to have around because he preserves the union among the smaller bills in the cash register.

People don't want Grant around. Tyler Durden would be another example. He'd rather fight Lincoln because he's a skinny guy with quite the reach. Grant going to go back to his tomb.
Tony: This just means Grant has a more refined, select group of supporters than Lincoln does. I mean, Lincoln's cool and all, but he's a bit too mainstream. That's right: Grant is the Hipster President. And like most hipsters, he's going to stick around far longer than anyone wants him to.

Besides, what it really comes down to is this: Grant survived the Civil War. Lincoln? Not so much. Time for Unconditional Surrender to notch another victory.
The Chief: Actually, the Civil War ended April 9 and Lincoln died on April 15... but that's less than a week.

Grant or Lincoln? Get your votes and comments in and tell your buddies to do the same. Polls close Friday 9am Mountain time.

Grant vs. Lincoln

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Bully Pulpit and the Bloody Pulp

Theodore Roosevelt didn't just keep himself alive in the Arena...
He also managed to keep his scoreless streak alive as well, which gives us an excuse to run this picture again:
Roosevelt vs. Gilliam
Theodore Roosevelt      21 (100.0%)
Mays Gilliam   0   (0.0%)

Another day, another perfect match for Roosevelt. No explanation is really needed as to why Roosevelt is doing so well. He's Teddy Roosevelt. We'd outline all of the reasons why he was seemingly built for the Arena, but you guys already know. The less said about it, the better off for everyone.

Theodore Roosevelt is scheduled to return to the Arena Feb. 6 for his Round of 16 match.
He will face the winner of next week's match: Ulysses S. Grant vs. Abraham Lincoln.