Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Silly, yes, but...

Over at P-F.com, someone linked to a Reddit post asking the question "In a mass knife fight to the death between every single American president, who wins and why?" and, you know, the reflexive answer is "Andrew Jackson" because in modern America, he wouldn't be in the White House, he'd be in solitary confinement.

But I got to thinking, and for all his theatrics, T.R. was pretty studly, too. I mean, he gave a ninety minute campaign speech with a .38 bullet in his brisket when he was old enough to be on the AARP mailing list. He opened his speech with the line "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."

Dude like that takes a lot of killin'.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Teddy studied Judo, with the frickin' founder of Judo, at an age when most men have tough time getting off the couch.

Shootin' Buddy

Ish said...

Excepting Teddy Roosevelt, one kinda thinks that this scenario in favors most of our 18th and early- to min-19th Century Presidents. I mean, guys like Grant, Washington, Jackson, all had been soldiers during a time when sword and knife were still a very large part of the skillset.

Kennedy, MacArthur, Bush, and the various other war hero presidents of the 20th Century don't exactly strike me as the "fix bayonents!" type.

Also, are we to assume they're at the peak of their health and fitness? Or on the day they took office? The day the left office? At some point mid-term (that seems a might unfair to Harrison)?

Now... what about First Ladies?

og said...

When i envision Mustrum Ridcully i always think of T R

Anonymous said...

I should have stated "founder of Judo in the USA".

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

Ish, when did MacArthur become President? I'm not finding it in my Funk & Wagnall's. Wrong timeline?

Bram said...

TR was also a member of the Harvard boxing team back when Harvard produced men. I recall a story about him walking into an inn in Dakota during an armed robbery. He punched the robber's lights out and bounced his head off a stove. Then ordered a steak and beer.

Bob said...

"That was the grip of the man who'd been America's strongest, who could jump twenty-four feet broad or throw a dollar across the Rappahannock or wrestle down his biggest soldier."

From the Silver John story Vandy, Vandy, referring to George Washington.

Everyone associates Washington with the old, petulant-looking man on the $1 bill, and he just wasn't always like that. He'd do well in any Presidential battle royal.

ASM826 said...

Grant comes to mind. So does Washington. Since it's a mental exercise, what age are they? Let's make them all 40 and I'll take Washington for the win.

Anonymous said...

If they are fighting sans shirts, then I imagine Grant would need a good back waxing.

Don't know why they came into my mind but I had to share.

Shootin' Buddy

Bubblehead Les. said...

Are you implying that T.R. was a....ZOMBIE!?

Rustmeister said...

Top three definitely would be Washington, Jackson and TR.

Anonymous said...

...but Obama DID kill Bin Laden, lest we forget.

Anonymous said...

JFK was a bad ass, After PT-109 was cut in half, he put badly burned crewman "bucky" Harris life jacket strap in his teeth and swam 2 miles to the neerest island. WITH A BROKEN BACK. The next night he did the same thing to escape jap patrols.He got the navy cross for that one.3 months after his rescue, he pulled the PT-93 out of the boneyard,refitted it as a gunboat with all the .30cal, .50cal, 20MM+ 40MM guns it could carry and went out to hunt jap shore batteries and destroyers. His idea of fun was to pull up to a jap ship and just shoot the shit out of it.( he loved to get 200 yards offshore from a jap island and open up) He didnt go home till his liver gave out from malaria.

Tam said...

Ish,

"Also, are we to assume they're at the peak of their health and fitness? Or on the day they took office?"

According to the ruleset: "Every president is in the best physical and mental condition they were ever in throughout the course of their presidency. Fatal maladies have been cured, but any lifelong conditions or chronic illnesses (e.g. FDR’s polio) remain."

Anonymous said...

Old Abe Lincoln would be in there to the end.

Same with Zachary Taylor.

I think George Washington would be the winner though.

Amongst the moderns, Ford and Reagan were athletic in their prime.

I do not think the current occupant would do very well.

Tam said...

Anon 8:48,

It may be a kneejerk reflex on my part, but I go into full skeptic mode every time I hear a tale of a Kennedy swimming for help after an aquatic vehicle accident.

Boat Guy said...

Tam,
Spot on. Whether getting your boat run over or driving off a bridge, some of the same "issues" exist. JFK was not exactly a star in the PT community, according to his contemporaries. And no, his boat never "shot up" any destroyers. As for "shore batteries"; that was the WWII version of "Truck parks on the ho Chi Minh trail" in some instances.
You want PT guys? There were PLENTY of good ones who didn't have a rum-running "Ambassador" for a daddy.

Firehand said...

As I recall, it was pressure from his father on political connections that kept JFK from being court-martialed for getting his PT boat centerpunched by a Japanese destroyer.

Anonymous said...

Tam, Not only did he do it twice , with 11 witness , but he then swam out into blacket streght(2 miles) to try and flag a passing PT boat. John was NOTHING like Eddy.---And it was not an Aquadic vihicle accident. PT-109 was sunk by enemy action resulting in the loss of the boat, 4 WIA and 1 KIA.Five of those men had allready had one ship shot out from under them ,could have gone home,and VOL. to go out with Kennedy.

Don said...

JFK never received ANY combat decoration. He was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for rescuing his shipmate. Papa Joe saved him from a Board of Inquiry and probable court-martial for getting his boat run over.

He never went to sea with the Navy again. He served his convalescence in the US and was medically discharged. P.S. His father pulled strings to get him in the Navy, the Army wouldn't take him because of his bad back.

Joel said...

Hey, don't be hatin' on JFK. JFK used to chop up vampires with an axe. With a BROKEN BACK. While nailing a supermodel. I read it on the internet or something.

armedlaughing said...

HEY! The new guy can ride a girl's bike with a helmet!

JohninMd(help?) said...

As far as J.F.K.'s bad back, it makes ya wonder how he got such a rep as a bedroom athelete. superior performance of his wallet, perhaps? As to how he got out to the S. Pacific, G. Gordon Liddy recants a tale told in F.B.I. legend that a certain Lt.jg was seen bailing out the back window of a German female Abwehr agent in D.C. as her handler was going in the front door. it was suggested to daddy Joe in the strongest terms that Jack needed to be as far from Washington as possible. Next stop, Solomon Islands. The man may have had courage, but a brain works best to keep you out of dumb situations. Like getting a 60 kt. PT boat run over by a 30 kt. destroyer.

John said...

Washington #2, #1 is Lincoln. Even with a little give or take on the exact length of George's winning leap against Nathan Hale, that's impressive: and he's a big man. Lincoln was a giant for his day, a notable runner and champion wrestler in a frontier district, and a man who could spend ALL DAY wielding an axe and a maul. T.R. and Jackson were tough, brave, quick-thinking men who might win if we were talking about a gunfight.

Shrimp said...

Yeah, that's all interesting, but Zombie Reagan would eat them all alive--literally.

In all seriousness (well, as serious as one can be about such an inane topic) the current Occupy White House protestor/occupant would be the first one done. And he'd probably have close to forty knife wounds in the process. In fact, the only thing that might save 0 from that would be the scuffle amongst the rest to be the first one to get him.

JohninMd(help can't write!) said...

Scusa, I messta upa. Liddy _repeated_ a F.B.I. legend about JFK.

fast richard said...

That stipulation of condition during their presidency works against Washington and Jackson who were both past their prime. TR was very much in his prime when he became president.

My money is on the presidents getting together and executing whatever fool came up with the idea for such a silly and pointless exhibition.

Anonymous said...

Well this all started out as a knife fight.... TR would being a gun to a knife fight. Next question?

Ish said...

I meant Eisenhower, and I typed MacArthur. I don't even want to know what arcane Freudian misfiring of neurons led to that one...

Anonymous said...

I think it's a tie between TR and jackson. TR was a bit of a bad ass resigned as head of the navy and formed the rough riders (thats not a boy band). Cav was all pistol and saber plus as stated before anyone who can give a 90min speach with a bullet in his guts is going to take a lot more killin than most people can deliver.

Jackson was also no slouch in the fighting department. 7500 british vs 5000 militia in neworleans with only 80 or so casualties. In one duel in his 40's he was shot in the upper chest near his heart. He calmry retuned fire and his opponent later died. Dude also needs a LOT of killin.

I'd say it's a tie between these two. I'm not familiar with many other tales of presidents fighting through grevious bodily harm much less one returning fire to kill his attacker.

Drang said...

Anon @848 & 918: That's Kennedy's version.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Jackson defeated the first presidential assassination attempt by spry use of his whuppin' cane after the fellow's pistol misfired.
-8notch

Bubblehead Les. said...

Rutherford B. Hayes should be on that list, because he served as a Major in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment (a MILITIA UNIT) and was wounded several times whilst in Combat during the Civil War. Garfield also a Civil war Vet, who fought at Shiloh. In fact, there were a lot of Presidents who served in Combat, up to Bush the Elder.

But of course that doesn't mean they were experts in CQB. But it would be interesting to see a match up between the former Illinois State Wrestling Champion Abe Lincoln and the Judoka T.R.

mikee said...

Which president behaved most like an angry Sicilian peasant, bent on revenge?

Answer that question, and the best knife fighter question is also answered.

Therefore I go with Nixon.

perlhaqr said...

I'm going with W., actually.

I mean, most of them are already dead, and W and Obama are the only ones with enough pep left to really swing a blade, and I don't think Obama really has it in him.

Well, unless he can mount his knife under a bus, maybe. ;)

Odysseus said...

The image of a piss soaked O finding himself face to face with an angry knife wielding Jackson, TR, Washington, or Lincoln(I can't make up my mind who I want it to be) warms the cuckolds of my heart.

Bram said...

Mikee - Nixon only wins if it's a backstabbing contest. In which case Clinton, Johnson, and Wilson are also finalists.

Anonymous said...

Come on guys. Best backstaber in the bunch is Bubba. Only one with confirmed kill while in office

Armed Texan said...

I have to give it to Silent Cal. He's the kind of guy who just quietly and methodically goes about what ever task is at hand. Most of the others would not even notice him or his handiwork until they were down to the last few and then he would snap and go ape. It's always the quiet ones who are the most dangerous.

NotClauswitz said...

I miss president W.T. Sherman ... shouldda couldda wouldda.

Borepatch said...

If we're getting silly, why not Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter?

;-)

Anonymous said...

From Americas Unhealthest Presidents.

"Kennedy's health problems began was he was just 2 years old and contracted the measles. Immediately after, he came down with a near-fatal bout of scarlet fever. He also suffered from whooping cough, diphtheria, and other respiratory infections as a child. Before finishing college, Kennedy suffered colitis, appendicitis, Addison's disease, jaundice, severe back problems and early onset osteoporosis.

By the mid-1950s his back problems became so severe, he could barely walk and often used crutches in private. By the time he became president in 1961, he was in constant pain and needed daily injections of pain killers, including Demerol, just to function. He was assassinated in 1963."

Jackson for the win, Lincoln for place, TR for show.

Gerry

Erin Palette said...

True Fact: My father never refers to Jackson as "President Jackson." It is always, ALWAYS, Andy "By God" Jackson.

mc said...

Could Eleanor fight in Franklin's stead?

She carried a gun and had some quality times with the ladies...perhaps a psychotic menopausal break would see her at peak lethality?

Ed Foster said...

Gerry has it. Admiral Halsey wanted to courtmartial Kennedy for incompetence and cowardice when he chocked at the wheel, then panicked and put PT-109 directly across the bow of the oncoming Japanese destroyer, and the back problem was inherited from the Bovier side of the family.

Because of the political pull Ambassador to Britain Joe Kennedy had, JFK was transferred to D.C., where he spent half a year in bed with the wife of a Swedish Counsul, a know Nazi spy.

J. Edgar Hoover had hundreds of hours of old wire recordings taken during the trysts, and used them to blackmail Kennedy into giving him everything the FBI wanted.

To get Ambassador Joe's little boy out of harm's way, he was shipped off to Mississippt to supervise the construction of Higgins boats for the rest of the war. Much to evertone's chagin, the Swedish lady followed him down there and they lived in sin for a year.

Still, Kennedy was a supply-sider on economic issues, an NRA Life Member, and had a DCM M-1 Garand. Odd to think that today he'd be a Republican.

Kristophr said...

Washington.

Because he is 12 stories tall and made of radiation.

He's coming.

dave said...

"In a mass knife fight to the death between every single American president, who wins and why?"

You're all wrong. The answer is Chuck Norris.

Anonymous said...

" Odysseus said...

... warms the cuckolds of my heart"

SNORT. Spell checker for the win.

Cockels is the word I think you wanted.

(And yes I'm crying I laughed so hard.)

Tam said...

Anon 1:07,

"Cockels is the word I think you wanted."

I think "cockles" is the word you wanted. ;)

Joel said...

If this mass knife-fight were really going to happen, and oh HOW I'd buy a ticket, I'd really have to go with Jackson. Some other early presidents might have been tough doods, it's true. But in a knife fight (where TR has been TSA-groped and relieved of his handguns, though in Jackson's case that might not make a lot of difference) you really ought to put your money on the guy who'd actually be in solitary confinement in a sane world. For the safety of the other prisoners.

Anonymous said...

It's gotta be Slick Willy...fucker's impervious to attack, and he can't lose if you can't kill him.

Will said...

@ JohninMd(help?):

" 60 kt. PT boat run over by a 30 kt. destroyer."

Not quite. New was 43-45knts. In the South Pacific, with aquatic growth on the hull, and various mechanical, weight, and fuel issues, they found they struggled to be as fast as the Japanese destroyers.

Will said...

From Wicki:

Motor Torpedo Boat PT-59


Under Kennedy's command:

In October 1943, Kennedy took command of PT-59. Kennedy was given command when he chose to stay and fight in the Pacific Theater (PTO) after his first command, the PT-109 was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on the night of 2 August 1943.[2]
Before Kennedy received command, PT-59 had her torpedo tubes removed and was converted into a gunboat. It was given two 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and additional .30 and .50-caliber machine guns behind shields. Kennedy set up some of the shields for live fire tests and it was found they could be breached at short range with .30 and .50-caliber machine guns at a frontal angle.[3]
On November 2, 1943, in an incident which was portrayed as an action by PT-109 in the film PT-109, PT-59 helped evacuate 40 to 50 Marines (including several dozen wounded men) from the 2nd Parachute Battalion of the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment who had been trapped during a raid on Choiseul Island. After the rescue, PT-59 ran out of gas on the return trip and had to be towed by PT-236. One badly wounded Marine died in Kennedy's bunk aboard PT-59 that night.[4]

Geodkyt said...

Top 3 -- TR, Andy Jackson, Lincoln.

Best guess? TR

Highest body count? Jackson

Jackson might come out overall, then to expire from exsanguination about 30 seconds after the beserker rage passes.

Lincoln's biggest issue is if he is suffering one of his depressive bouts, either Nixon will take one of his kidneys out like a chef coring an apple, or he'll be carved into sashimi by TR or Jackson whilst contemplating the pathos of it all.

Carter, Wilson, John Adams? Jackson kills them en passant in the first 10 seconds.

Ian said...

I think the final three is about settled: TR, Lincoln, Jackson. But what about the "dark horses," that might survive into the final ten?

I think, in no particular order, that Grant, Polk, Ike, Washington, Adams, and Truman would be the seven to round out the top ten.

Matt G said...

You guys all overestimate the vicious bigger presidents.

It's those quiet smiling little guys that give me pause.

Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, and Truman--- I'm looking at y'all.

perlhaqr said...

Odd to think that today he'd be a Republican.

Odd to think that today he'd be a really conservative Republican.

Thomas Smith said...

Teddy picks up FDR by the belt and uses him as a buckler on the offside. uses K-bar with other. Pure win.

Leatherwing said...

From the official rules:
FDR has been outfitted with a Bound Plus H-Frame Power Wheelchair, and can travel at a maximum speed of around 11.5 MPH. The wheelchair has been customized so that he is holding his knife with his dominant hand. This is to compensate for his almost certain and immediate defeat in the face of an overwhelming disadvantage.

Andy Jackson takes that thing and becomes Lord Humungus.

Anonymous said...

You are all forgetting Taft and his patented "Big Splash" finishing move.

Anonymous said...

"I think "cockles" is the word you wanted. ;)"

I stand embarrassingly corrected. I'll go stand in the corner now.

Still, "cuckolds" was very funny.

Boat Guy said...

Gotta say Matt G brought up a good "dark horse" with Truman. The dude was an exceptional artillery officer/battery commander and was in the thick of things during the Meuse-Argonne. Probly knew how to use that 1911 in his holster too...so most likely smart enough to bring it to a knife fight as well.
Silent Cal's another Dark Horse who shouldn't be overlooked.

staghounds said...

The key is best physical condition DURING HIS PRESIDENCY. This is a knife fight at the Social Security office, by and large. Pierce, Grant, TR, Bush 43, and the current occupant were the only ones with relative youth and fitness on their sides. (I ignore Kennedy, who was a physical wreck.)

Running away is a valid strategy, and I suspect it would be a good one early on. GWB and BHO could run any of the others into the ground, and the given arena size would allow for that.

We have to take into account that this is a melee, and the combatants are well known to one another.

Jackson, TR, and Lincoln might well succumb to backstabbing very early.

This would be a loooong event, most of the participants grabbing some wall to back up on and wait it out. That also disfavors the old.

Grant would be a smart bet. LBJ too.

Windy Wilson said...

"and the back problem was inherited from the Bovier side of the family."
He inherited it from Jackie's parents? I've heard that you inherit insanity from your kids, but this is a bit -- confusing.
Unless you're implying that the back problem arose because of certain --um-- acrobatics performed with Jackie and her sister, hence the Bovier FAMILY reference.

As for the original post, William Henry Harrison was a tough guy, too. A bit of a Virginia Blue Blood, he rose through the ranks as an indian fighter in Ohio and Indiana, including the Battle of the Fallen Timbers and Tippecanoe, hence the nickname, "Tippecanoe"

Joe in PNG said...

Grant would do well if someone gave him some wiskey before the match, and Ol Tippecanoe is my dark horse canidate.

But if the slightest hint that JFK or Bubba was trying to put the moves on Mrs. Jackson reached the ears of Old Hickory...
...for one, no one would actually see the fight due to the constant spray of blood.
...the final three would not be determined by skill or strength, but by sheer physical distance from Jackson... and by advanced forensic technique after the fight.

Teddy may be the real life Captain America, but Jackson was the Hulk.

Geodkyt said...

Bush 43 has an easily overlooked advantage that might put him in the finishing group (although I do not see him winning, in the end.)

GWB was in great shape compared to other Presidents, had good reflexes, pure conviction in his own beliefs, and would have two or three guys who would be likely allies, even at their own expense (Ford, Reagan, Bush 41 -- all of whom knew him as "George's son" and are of the right generation and background to play wingman, especially since they'd know they had little chance of success for themselves.)

I like Pierce as a dark horse, too.

Still going TR or Jackson -- with TR having an advantage due to better health as President AND Jackson was so bugnuts crazy in a fight he might get crippled in the course of vaporizing other foes. As a highly experienced and competant dangerous game hunter, TR was more calculating than that. . .

Anonymous said...

Jackson killed at least one man in a duel, had impromptu gunfights with a Senator and a Governor, invaded a foreign country without authorization, blew off 2 Supreme Court decisions, beat an attempted assassin half to death, was an accessory to bigamy, said on his death bed that his biggest regret was not hanging his VP and probably some other stuff I can't think of right now. He wins because of the "Rules in a knife fight?" factor.

Geodkyt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geodkyt said...

George Washington wouldn;t have a chance. By the time he became President, his health was totally shot due to life-long ailments.

Of course, the only ones who would likely be willing to grease the Father of our Country are Jackson, Nixon, or Obama -- and I'll give General Washington on his worst day good odds against Nixon or Obama in a fight. (Although Tricky Dick might offer to ally with George, then cut out a kidney when he turns his back. Obama wouldn't get the chance -- no way in HELL would GW trust a black guy with a weasely smile to have his back in a knife fight.)

Buzz said...

Malcolm Reynolds, game over.

(yeah, I know, but the fantasy nature of such an event opened the door)

Anonymous said...

Obama is first to go--stabbed in the back by Bill Clinton. Shortly thereafter, Tricky Dick can be heard muttering "Communist" as he pulls his knife from Clinton's back and heads off looking for Carter.

Carter is later found dead, mangled by a large swamp rabbit. Nixon and LBJ are found holding each other by the lapels with knives buried in each other's stomachs and multiple stab wounds.

Grant Shows up drunk and goes down early; W is a possible dark horse.

TR or Jackson for the win--weight on Teddy. Love the Hummungus idea for Andy, and he might do it--at which time Teddy would probably climb a tree, wait or move stealthily depending on density of trees in the arena, and drop on Jackson's head.

RevolverRob said...

I personally had no interest in seeing Hunger Games. But if we converted it into Battle Royale for Presidents, I'd SERIOUSLY watch that OPENING NIGHT.

I posed the question to my office mates. Many of them immediately went with TR, another went for Ike, and still another went for Grant. I still think Washington would be a difficult man to best and I'd have my money on a four-way battle to the death on Jackson, Washington TR, and Lincoln.

Ed Foster said...

Windy, he was missing part of a vertebra. The Bouviers married cousins.

When Black Jack Bovier died, Jack and Bobbie went to his wake. Nobody else from the family showed up, but a dozen or so of his former mistresses did. Jack's comment to Bobbie was "Not a bad epitaph really".

"And her sister". Really? Lee was kinda hot in her day. Made Jackie look like a boy anyway. Didn't know Jack had been there.

Worked with a guy years ago who used to own a butcher shop in Manhattan, catti-corner from the Waldorf-Astoria. Whenever Monroe was in town, he'd watch the Secret Service close off the side entrance and guide in the big shot.

Some times it was Jack, sometimes it was Bobby. Sometimes it was both.

jimbob86 said...

Change it from knives to broadswords, and Lincoln's a shoo-in.

Tam said...

Ed Foster,

"Windy, he was missing part of a vertebra. The Bouviers married cousins."

There weren't any New York Bouviers in the Boston-bred JFK's family tree. This is easy enough to check. (Don't forget that Kennedy was only three steps from The Aulde Sod on dad's side of the family and the same on his mom's.)

CAR said...

Old Abe handled himself pretty well on that Star Trek episode where they fought Kahless, Genghis Khan, Colonel Green and Zora of Tiburon on the planet Excalbia.

Rob Reed said...

This sounds like Hunger Games for history buffs.

So, the real question isn't, "Who'll win," but, "Who will Andrew Jackson decide to love?"

Rob (Trebor)

Geodkyt said...

"Love", defined as, "You make me laught. I will kill you last."

mikee said...

So nobody, nobody at all, has chosen our present Commander in Chief as even a final four competitor in this hypothetical match up?

Am I seeing political correctness run amok here, or just an honest assessment of the man's limits?

David said...

I'm pretty sure our current POTUS would be involved in the final four. T.R. would be using his bloody corpse as a step stool so he could look Jackson, Lincoln and Washington square in the eyes before the final blood letting started. As to who would win that - I'm not sure I bet against any of those four.

sobriant74 said...

I am not posting since I know the secret service is watching intently at this point....wait a minute...crap

Geodkyt said...

A. Knife fight? Obama = n00b

B. At least half the presidents hail from a time and culture when the idea of facing a armed black man triggered an immediate "Kill it! Kill it now!" response.

sobriant74 said...

I am not posting since I know the secret service is watching intently at this point....wait a minute...crap

zdogk9 said...

Truman, If you go at the level of fitness while in office. Secret service used to draw straws as to who got to go on his morning walk with him unless there was a FNG to foist it off on. He didn't figure the walk was over until the secret service detail was gasping for breath. He held a grudge, and was ruthless.