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In a Mass Knife Fight to the Death Between Every American President, Who Would Win and Why?
September 4, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Harry S. Truman would make a good show of things, but he was a little guy. No reach. No intimidation.
posted by Lucinda (129 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
Big guy, big reach. Skinny guys fight till they're burger.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:23 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


The article is wrong about Truman's name. The 'S' isn't an abbreviation, so it shouldn't be followed by a period.
posted by veedubya at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am Nixon's raging colon.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am Nixon's raging colon...

...glistening in the sun after Teddy Roosevelt guts him. The Bull Moose stands over the dying Nixon, screaming, "Republican, my ass! You ain't worth the great name of Republican!"

Teddy spots George W. "FOR THE GRAND OLD PARTY!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:29 AM on September 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


But who would be able to get Katniss on their team? That would be decisive.
posted by XMLicious at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


But who would be able to get Katniss on their team?

Kind of interesting. Katniss is very pragmatic -- she's almost a Whig, so it would be the anti-slavery John Quincy Adams and early Abraham Lincoln. The Appalachian states used to be solidly Democratic. Not so much, these days, but I hardly see Katniss as a modern Republican.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Plenty of posts tagged with "president". Not so many posts tagged with "knifefight". Proper place to introduce the label far as I'm concerned.
posted by sendai sleep master at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will bears or 6 year-olds be involved? Can FDR put scythes or spikes on his chariot? Will roast turkey and cheap bourbon be served at halftime? These are questions that must be answered.
posted by bonehead at 9:48 AM on September 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Totally wrong on Reagan ( served in Hollywood in his military years), but spot on for the final three. I think the Roosevelt Corollary would help Teddy forge an alliance with Monroe;watch out for JimMo.
posted by Isadorady at 9:49 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tend to agree with the analyses, pretty much Theodore Roosevelt FTW. But Clinton is more competitive than his easy demeanor lets on, and lovers are fighters at heart. I think Clinton makes it to the top ten.

As for Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger, I am not sure I can see the Younger being so keen on teaming up with the Elder - in fact I can see him stabbing the old man in the back and giving it an extra twist.

Reagan goes down early. He seemed like a good President in these modern media oriented times, but his success was largely due to the fact that as an actor - he knew exactly how to play the role of President. Knife fighter, not so much.

I laugh too at the thought of Carter in a knife fight. That could be the downfall of some who underestimate him, but he still doesn't make it past the first round.
posted by Xoebe at 9:49 AM on September 4, 2012


All you have to do for Carter is to yell, "Hey look, a rabbit!" and he's bought the peanut farm.
posted by bonehead at 9:51 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's got some serious errors in there. For example, after the Academy, Lieutenant Jimmy Carter was an early volunteer for the tough Rickover nuclear submarine corps then spent years doing hard work on the farm; no softy there. Herbert Hoover's favorite past-time was heaving a medicine ball around in the White House basement. And this:

What was his prime? When did he get the bad back and Addison’s Disease?

Christ, has no one seen PT109?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:52 AM on September 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


He badly underrates Old Tippecanoe, who had an active military career back when that meant deep familiarity with bayonets, sabres, and tomahawks.
posted by Iridic at 9:52 AM on September 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think counting Madison out because he's short is a bit weak- a short man with a bit of skill can get beneath and inside someone's guard. That being said, Madison would likely make some sort of headlong rush early on and get his ass handed to him.

I also W.H. Harrison gets a bit short-changed here- yes he died of the pneumonia, but he was a general and a combat veteran of a particularly vicious frontier war.

I agree with the top three, with Jackson (fucking psycho) just edging out Teddy (poor eyesight) and Lincoln (who never actually fought a duel).



I also see FDR and his chair chasing Hoover around the arena like Achilles and Hector.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


I just someone to punch Andrew Jackson in the face, over and over, until the end of time.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


The article is wrong about Truman's name. The 'S' isn't an abbreviation, so it shouldn't be followed by a period.

While that's true, Truman himself said he had no opinion as to whether it was written with or without the period, so the AP Stylebook has used a period ever since.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nixon's biggest disadvantage will be his extensive and painful phlebitis.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.
posted by bondcliff at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Will roast turkey and cheap bourbon be served at halftime?

Well, not like I had anything important to do today, guess I'm rereading The Great Outdoor Fight again.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Eleanor Roosevelt will fucking fight you.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Dolly Madison just smashed her glass across the table.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on September 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Mary Todd Lincoln -- straight up mentally ill, would probably take down a dozen or so First Ladies before Abigail Adams slits her throat from behind.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Metafilter: in the face, over and over, until the end of time.
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Jackie would probably just draw a small pearl-handled and nickle-plated automatic from her Chanel clutch and put a few caps in your ass.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good job. Now do the same thing for vice presidents.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2012


But could death even slow down Mary Todd? She had allies on the Other Side. POWERFUL ALLIES.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


The authors seems to believe that tough guys will last and the weak will be eliminated early. I think it's more reasonable that the weak will gang up on the tough guys, one at a time, and take them out.

Perhaps we need a sort of NCAA finals to resolve this. Rather than seeding the Presidents or going by party (which would be problematic, although I know how you guys like a good argument), let's do it alphabetically.

The later Presidents are at a disadvantage psychologically, IMHO. It's impossible for Reagan, for example, to kill Jefferson. He just wouldn't be able to do it. He'd kill himself rather than kill the one of the great heroes in US history. In the other direction, Washington could easily stick a knife into Lincoln (or just sneak up behind him and shout "BANG"), because he doesn't know who the guy is.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Truman would drop the knife, grab a Nuke, survey the carnage, then retire to the upright and play a little Ragtime.
posted by crushedhope at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm going to have to disagree. LBJ in a walk. There's really no question about that.
posted by 3200 at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's impossible for Reagan, for example, to kill Jefferson. He just wouldn't be able to do it. He'd kill himself rather than kill the one of the great heroes in US history.

You appear to have missed out on recent history. Modern politicians murder the spirits of the founders practically every chance they get. Usually just after they have just re-crucified Jesus.
posted by srboisvert at 10:21 AM on September 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm going to have to disagree. LBJ in a walk. There's really no question about that.

Only if he is wearing his custom tailored trousers required to accommodate his cojones.
posted by srboisvert at 10:23 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Have you seen Michelle Obama's arms?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Naw, Nancy Reagan wins the First Ladies' knife fight. You just know she was on all kinds of steroids.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2012


Only if he is wearing his custom tailored trousers required to accommodate his cojones.

Relinked for context.

... and because it can't be listend to enough!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Naw, while Nancy and Mary Todd are engaged in a psychic battle Margaret Taylor, who was known to shoot guns, just head-shots the both of them from her sniper nest.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think Washington would do that well in a knife fight honestly. I'm afraid he'd approach it in a gentlemanly manner. But who knows?

Can't disagree about Teddy and Old Hickory though...
posted by Mister_A at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2012


Having that heap of overachievers all in the same place means a lot of arguing over minutiae I'd imagine. Like when I went to the Harvard Law School 1L Halloween party and no one could agree on whether the lights should be on or off. Lights went on and off all night.
posted by sweetkid at 10:38 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Carter would be all "why are you-all stabbing me?" (Another wound to the gut.) "Seriously, let's sit down and talk about this."
Richard Nixon would cover himself with someone else's blood and play dead until there was only one other left.
Taft would wrap a blood-stained band around his head and form a Kurtz-like cult.
Oh, and I am sick of people underestimating Chester A. Arthur.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Bringing lampoons to a knife fight.
posted by cacofonie at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2012


Clinton's gonna win. All he has to do is start up his pheremone glands and then smilingly cut the throat of all the other Presidents who run over to have sex with him.

Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Laura Bush. How many other first ladies have personally put someone in the ground?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good job. Now do the same thing for vice presidents.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:10 PM on September 4 [+] [!]


What's the point? Teddy Roosevelt's still in play.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Teddy Roosevelt will wear Dan Quayle's head as a hat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


How many other first ladies have personally put someone in the ground?

I'm pretty sure the answer to that question is pretty scary. See also.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:49 AM on September 4, 2012


Washington making the top ten is bullshit. Guy never actually won a battle. He put together a big army, kept it fed, clothed, morale up ... but in terms of actual combat, that wasn't his forte, didn't have the right stuff. A master politician but not a warrior.

My cite for this is Gore Vidal's BURR.
posted by philip-random at 10:52 AM on September 4, 2012


Clinton's gonna win. All he has to do is start up his pheremone glands

I'm not so sure about that- it's a pretty well-known fact that Jerry Ford had no pheromone receptors.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


"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."

FDR didn't get polio until he was 29. He shouldn't be hobbled by it in this contest.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Instead of one massive brawl, I'd rather see a series of traditional one-on-one duels fought with broadswords in a pit.
posted by homunculus at 11:02 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hillary got the plans for the arena weeks before the fight via her extensive list of contacts and staged an elaborate tunnel-digging-body-double scheme that would've worked if it wasn't for Michelle and those damned kids.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even without Gore Vidal's assertion that TR was a big blubbery pretender at being a tough guy, this is so clearly Andrew Jackson's thing to walk away with that it's not even worth debating.
posted by COBRA! at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Willard would probably be second, after Buchanan.
posted by goethean at 11:08 AM on September 4, 2012


The Jackson-Lincoln-TR finale postulated really depends on whether we're talking about regular Lincoln or evil Lincoln.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2012


Truth is, Jackson or Taylor or one of the other tough-guy mean-streakers would pick on Carter from the start, thinking he's easy meat, and awaken the dragon. You remember the meek kid that always stayed over by the door at recess, watching everybody else play dodgeball while he waited for the bell to ring so he could get back to his corner seat in Mr. Przybski's class? Remember that day when Tony and Ken snuck up on him for a laugh and beat him with rolled up newspapers? Remember what Ken looked like two months later after all the facial reconstruction? Remember how Tony never danced again?

Carter's that same meek kid, who gets angry at the injustice inherent in the very idea of being attacked by another president. After his first spectacularly bloody kill, his rage mounts as he realizes he's been forced to bloody his hands. That anger fuels his red fury, which rises inevitably with every successive kill until every other president left alive is running for the fence to plead with the spectators for help or sanctuary while the blood-mad Jimmy Carter stalks them all down in a frenzy of death.

It wouldn't just be Carter winning. It would be Carter killing every last one of them. The toughest battle would be the first one, full of choke-holds and screeches and snotty tears, which everyone else would pause to watch. Then it's all just mopping up for Jimmy, who doesn't even notice he's picked up a second knife, doesn't even hear himself keening "Amazing Grace" while his blades windmill their way through the helpless, frightened throats of American history.

After he finished his final murder (probably brave Teddy Roosevelt hiding under a pile of corpses until his coughing gives him away), he would sit and cry and drop his knife at his feet and that's when we realize there's nothing left for him but a bullet in the head, like when a good dog tastes chicken blood and makes a red mess of every coop in the county.

What a waste.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2012 [60 favorites]


CARTER SMASH
posted by The Whelk at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2012


Ice Cream Socialist: History's greatest monster, indeed.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2012


This ignores the fact that the skillset a president has is physical second and mental first. You're probably going to break up in to teams, at least at the start, and as soon as you form some sort of group the ability to play politics is going to come in to play. The real winner just has to surround himself with people who are bother stupider and stronger, get some dumb brute to do the heavy lifting for you, and then throw him under the bus (the knife bus, as it were) as soon as its expedient. In other words, I wouldn't count Nixon out. I think cunning trumps warrior skill in this battle every day of the week.
posted by codacorolla at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2012


Lincoln wouldn't last 10 seconds. Assuming the Presidents know what's going to go down, I figure Nixon would, before the countdown starts, identify Lincolon as his toughest adversary, and the second the word "GO" is shouted, he would stab him visciously before anyone else even has time to react. Nixon would have it planned out, and he would know he would have to be quick and ruthless for any change of survival. Once Lincoln's out of the way, and the other President's are trying to take this in, Nixon would probabaly cut down a couple of more, than try his best to hide among the ensuing carnage.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2012


RoboLincoln (from the election of 2096) will destroy everyone. (literally).
posted by blue_beetle at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2012


Taft's aides and family observed that his size was combined with great endurance and strength; see also his brother's comment that "there were few, if any, men in college who could hold their own against him in wrestling." I can't speak to his knife skills, but it is foolish to judge Taft's prowess in battle on his weight alone. A cunning and educated opponent could probably eliminate him as a threat by playing on his emotions about Roosevelt, whose 2012 campaign demoralized him profoundly.

Presidential Health may be a helpful resource in handicapping the fight. It is the source of my Taft info, as well as my answer to the writer's rhetorical question about Kennedy's Addison's diagnosis: well before his presidency, in 1947 (the bad back was a severe problem from 1941 on). I could imagine Kennedy's powerful charisma helping him both to build alliances and to taunt people effectively; likewise, I can see many later presidents being squeamish about engaging him. These may be substantial advantages, although the vast majority of these men are charismatic, and in a fight to the death, how far do these scruples go?
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, now someone do this for the First Ladies. I've got $10.00 on Barbara Bush.

Wrong Mrs. Bush. Only Laura actually has an experience murdering people.
posted by The Bellman at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Teddy leads a group of Heavys to pick off the weaker presidents. He shouts taunts and commands, Jackson curses a blue streak, Grant slurs, and Taft just unleashes this Godzilla-shriek upon battle.
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2012


I don't understand why Lincoln makes the top 3, especially over Taylor, Grant, and Hayes. The article doesn't actually state why Lincoln is in the "Holy Trinity". Because he was tall?
posted by maryr at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2012


Also, I cannot give enough favorites to Michelle Obama's arms.
posted by maryr at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


How many other first ladies have personally put someone in the ground?

Clinton has still not fully accounted for her whereabouts on July 30, 1993. On the other hand, neither has Laura Bush.
posted by bonehead at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2012


For fuck's sake, I have not read anything recently that has displayed the authors lack of understanding of 1. history, and 2. knife fighting.

First of all, these men are politicians, and they're not gonna only team up with folks who share their last names. They're men who know the value of strategy, of expedience, and of gathering intelligence on one's opponent. This puts a big advantage on the later presidents, because they're the only ones that know who everybody else is, and the earlier presidents will depend on them for knowledge of their predecessors. Thus, every president in the 20th century plus Grover Cleveland will try and get Teddy Roosevelt on their team, because he's obviously the ringer. In addition to having a solid military career and being in the best shape of any of them during his presidency (though JFK, W, and Obama are pretty lean and springy too), Teddy had a deep love of Classical military history and knows exactly how to run a group of men in a knife fight in the colosseum. It would probably involve a phalanx formation. Teddy was also an expert on the lives of the presidents of the early 19th century, filling in the gaps of the later POTUSs' schooling.

The two factions vying for Roosevelt would start out as the Democrats and Republicans after from 1934 up. Here the last-name factor would come into play, because Teddy actually knew and liked FDR, and would sand by him, while Reagan and the Bushes would refuse to play ball with a socialist new-dealer and go find Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Jackson, though, was reviled by pretty much everybody who ever met him. In addition to being an all-around jerk, he initiated the Spoils System, which completely fucked up the function of the federal government for the next hundred years and made a lot of shitty, shitty work for the successive administrations, and everybody up through Hayes would have a serious bone to pick. He'd get Garfield and Grant on his side, because they loved the spoils system so much, and they'd get Woodrow Wilson, because he was racist as fuck and wouldn't stand for Obama being treated as his equal. Actually, the likely start of the whole shenanigans would be somebody going up to Jackson and pointing at Lincoln and saying "That's the guy who abolished slavery and gave [historically appropriate, though detestable, term for black people] the right to vote!" and watching the steam shoot ouf of that bastard's ears.

Lincoln, while very tall and a brilliant orator—not to mention the moral center of our national character—was a total wimp who had a whiny voice and would cry for hours in front of company on the mention of Elmer Ellsworth, his friend and the first casualty of the Civil War. However, about a dozen other presidents would line the fuck up to die defending the life of President Lincoln from an Andrew Jackson enraged with racist fury. Probably half of them would. Taft would be among them, but in the time it took Jackson's blade to get through his considerable girth, Taft would point out that Wilson, standing in Jackson's camp, gave to vote to women and banned alcohol! Jackson, enraged, would whip his head around to beat the life out of Wilson, only to have LBJ stab him in the back.

Now, Jackson is a tough motherfucker and wouldn't die immediately, and the Bushes and probably Coolidge would carry him into a hasty retreat, where he would order "any real man" to prove himself by killing Wilson. Teddy, Lincoln and the remaining 20th Centruy democrats would regroup and figure out who else would join them.

End day one.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2012 [41 favorites]


Only Laura actually has an experience murdering people.

See, this is just one of those claims I can't get behind. Sure, Pat Nixon had ice water (read: scotch on the rocks) in her veins, but I bet even Rosalynn has to suppress the urge to turn her claw hammer on someone at a Habitat site. You think they just let Dolly walk out of the White House with all those paintings? Why does Jackie-O seem so spacy in all those interviews from the Camelot Days? Perhaps all the lithium she was on to suppress her blood-lust!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:05 PM on September 4, 2012


Nixon takes it easy. He wants it more, and he's not afraid to fight dirty.

Now, if we're talking fork and knife battle, my money's on Taft.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:07 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not so sure about that- it's a pretty well-known fact that Jerry Ford had no pheromone receptors.

It don't matter when it's Arcturian, baby!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm pretty sure Washington's got this one.
He'll kick you apart.
posted by obscurator at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why does Jackie-O seem so spacy in all those interviews from the Camelot Days?

If your husband and his brother were taking turns with Marilyn Monroe, you'd be high as a fucking kite, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course, Jerry Ford is mostly a danger to himself.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2012


Of course, Jerry Ford is mostly a danger to himself.

Ironic, because Ford was arguably the best athlete of all the presidents, having turned down offers to play pro football.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm pretty sure Washington's got this one.

Sneak attack!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2012


don't understand why Lincoln makes the top 3, especially over Taylor, Grant, and Hayes. The article doesn't actually state why Lincoln is in the "Holy Trinity". Because he was tall?

Yes, I think he's going by height alone. The thing is that it's quite possible that Lincoln had Marfan Syndrome or Multiple endocrine neoplasia, making him a less-than-prime athletic specimen. I think he'd run out of breath and get chased down relatively early.

Barack Obama –for all his wonderful qualities– is not a scraper. He’d probably try to negotiate an end to hostilities, and while seeking a middle ground some loon would get the better of him.

Yes, this would be a literal case of our politics where one side arguing for killing and the other side arguing for not killing, or even some pre-negotiated middle ground between the two that still ends up with a bad outcome.
posted by deanc at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2012


"Lincoln (who never actually fought a duel)."

LIES! He was in a duel with broadswords! The fact that Shields gave up almost immediately doesn't mean it doesn't count! (And Lincoln was maudlin, sure, but he was hella strong and very hardy. Washington was known to cry in front of his generals. Men used to be allowed to be weepy and still be badass.)

(Regarding first Ladies, Mary Todd went after her husband with a knife, although he eventually wrestled it away from her.)

I find myself wanting to argue about whether the writer has adequately taken into account improvements in modern medicine and nutrition. I think I need a hobby.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yo, Obama can play some basketball. He knows how to scrap, believe me.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Came for Teddy Roosevelt. Was not disappointed.
posted by ZsigE at 1:26 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Came for Teddy Roosevelt. Was not disappointed.

Yep.
posted by linux at 1:33 PM on September 4, 2012


Jon_Evil, you're getting closer to an accurate view of things, I think, except for your analysis of Lincoln, who was a consumate bad-ass and I'm pretty sure would have destroyed any of these guys in hand-to-hand. Before swinging a broadsword around in a pit and hacking up a tree to make sure the politician who had challenged him to a duel swallowed his pride and admitted he wanted none of that, he beat the ever-loving shit out of a local gang-leader and tossed a heckler twelve feet at his first-ever political speech.

The truth is that, yeah, Jackson, Lincoln and T.R. would be among the last men standing - if this were done in a properly-seeded bracket and not, you know, a free-for-all knife-fight. Jackson doesn't come near the final bouts of this, I don't think. He does, however, make the beginning of the fight ALL about him. But here's the thing: he's too psycho to last long in this sort of scenario. He'll emerge as an alpha from the start, but the few who join up behind him (Nixon, W., LBJ, Buchanan) won't be trustworthy, and the rest of the field will be gunning for him like, well, like crazy. Lincoln and T.R. will both have their caderies as well (T.R.'s will at least start off the weakest in numbers, but those things shift over time.) Neither will be as obvious a compact near the beginning as Ol' Hickory's, though, and that's why Jackson is doomed.

First dead:
Wilson: Can over-think a knife to the god-damned throat.
Adams: Same problem.
Pierce: Jackson is going after President Tiger Beat so fast it'll make his Austenian locks spin.
Harding: Tries to make a name for himself by going after "Easy pickings" at first, taking on Carter and biting off more than he can chew.
Polk: Honorably plays his part at taking down Jackson, dies in the valiant effort.
Jackson: Taken down from behind while dealing with Polk. Let us not forget, Jackson was a hell of a duelist, but this is not a duel, and he's the tallest blade of grass right at the start.

So things shift. LBJ takes the remainder of those who were cowering behind Jackson. As a note here, those who served as Vice President are going to last a little longer than those who didn't, on average, because they already know how to swallow their egos and, if necessary, take orders from men they hate. At this point Lincoln and his band start playing defensively, and after a few attempts, the other presidents either join them or stay away for now. T.R.'s group goes more on the offensive, but They've got to contend with forces led by Washington and W.H. Harrison. Neither of these generals will last particularly long (Washington through questionable tactics, and Harrison through bull-headedness) but it'll keep things open for a while.

LBJ will make cunning use of cannon-fodder, plying his forces into risking their safety by playing to their worst instincts. The outcome of their attacks isn't super-important to him, as he doesn't trust in any of his men anyway. LBJ basically takes a Voldemort-leading-the-Death-Eaters approach from here on out.

Kennedy will be much like T.R. in that they both had health problems but fought like hell to overcome them. Don't count him out. Obama isn't known for strength or size, but he's got lightning-fast reflexes (remember the fly?) and his continued basketball regimen point to speed and agility beyond most of the field. He'll survive longer than most would guess, I'm predicting. Truman goes middle of the pack simply because he doesn't give a shit.

In the end, I have odds on Lincoln, who I think could take T.R. pretty easily in one-on-one. Ford presents a much tougher opponent, as does Clinton. Taylor is a dark-horse to take it all.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Prior art by our own XQUZYPHYR.

He was in a duel with broadswords!

Not quite. He was challenged to a duel and shrewdly came up with conditions so very far away from nice clean gunfire exchange and so obviously in the territory of really messy bloody fighting (in which he had obvious advantages of size and reach) that the duel never actually occurred.
posted by Zed at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


...not meaning to say that Lincoln wasn't a bad-ass, just that he was one SMART bad-ass.
posted by Zed at 1:37 PM on September 4, 2012


3200: I'm going to have to disagree. LBJ in a walk. There's really no question about that.
LBJ was a bully. Any decent pugilist could wipe him out, knife or no.
TheWhiteSkull: I agree with the top three, with Jackson (fucking psycho) just edging out Teddy (poor eyesight) and Lincoln (who never actually fought a duel).
Maybe not, but Lincoln was a fighter, and a cold, hard, practical man, with a reach only Washington could probably match. I see him taking out Jackson with subterfuge (attacking him while he's on someone else, perhaps someone Abe threw at him). Teddy was a tough mofo, but let's be serious - he'll go down, slow.

Half of them, however, couldn't face Washington without flinching... who would sacrifice himself before staining his honor with innocent blood. Which means there are only about 30-40 he'd kill, if he had to.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:43 PM on September 4, 2012


don't understand why Lincoln makes the top 3

As a young man, Lincoln was quite well known for his physical strength. Whether he's a top 3 competitor at his age from 1860-63 is a different question, of course.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm betting Lincoln all the way.

Let us read William Herndon's account beginning with a description of Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's father: "He (Thomas Lincoln) was, we are told, five feet ten inches high, weighed one hundred and ninety-five pounds, had a well-rounded face, dark hazel eyes, coarse black hair, and was slightly stoop-shouldered. His build was so compact that Dennis Hanks used to say that he could not find the points of separation between his ribs ... was sinewy, and gifted with great strength, was inoffensively quiet and peaceable, but when roused to resistance a dangerous antagonist."

"It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods" wrote Lincoln in the Fell autobiography. More details are found in the sketch he furnished John L. Scripps. "He (Thomas Lincoln) settled in an unbroken forest, and this clearing away of the surplus wood was the great task ahead. Abraham, though very young was large of his age, and had an ax (axe) put into his hands at once: and from that till within his twenty-third year he was almost constantly handling that most useful instrument - less, of course, in plowing and harvesting seasons."

Herndon reports, "By the time he had reached his seventeenth year he had attained the physical proportions of a full-grown man. He was employed to assist James Taylor in the management of a ferry boat across the Ohio River near the mouth of Anderson's Creek, but was not allowed a man's wages for the work. He received thirty-seven cents a day for what he afterwards told me was the roughest work a young man could be made to do."

"In June the entire party, including Offut, boarded a steamboat going up the river. At St. Louis they disembarked, Offut remaining behind while Lincoln, Hanks, and Johnson started across Illinois on foot. At Edwardsville they separated. Hanks going to Springfield, while Lincoln and his step-brother following the road to Coles Country, to which point old Thomas Lincoln had meanwhile removed. Here Abe did not tarry long, probably not over a month, but long enough to dispose most effectively of one Daniel Needman, a famous wrestler who had challenged the returned boatman to a test of strength. The contest took place at a locality known as "Wabash Point". Abe threw his antagonist twice with comparative ease, and thereby demonstrated such marked strength and agility as to render him forever popular with the boys of the neighborhood."

"He enjoyed the brief distinction his exhibitions of strength gave him more than the admiration of his friends for his literary or forensic efforts. Some of the feats attributed to him almost surpass belief. One witness declares he was equal to three men, having on a certain occasion carried a load of six hundred pounds. At another time he walked away with a pair of logs which three robust men were skeptical of their ability to carry. "He could strike with a maul a heavier blow - could sink an axe deeper into wood than any man I ever saw." is the testimony of another witness."

(Interrupting Herndon's account for a moment to quote from Browne's biography of Lincoln, on page 53, quoting Dennis Hanks: "My, how he could chop! His ax would flash and bite into a sugar-tree or sycamore, and down it would come. If you heard his fellin' trees in a clearin' you would say there was three men at work by the way the trees fell.")

"They (the Clary's Grove boys) conceded leadership to one Jack Armstrong, a hardy, strong, and well-developed specimen of physical manhood, and under him they were in the habit of "cleaning out" New Salem whenever his order went forth to do so. Offut and "Bill" Clary - the latter skeptical of Lincoln's strength and agility - ended a heated discussion in the store one day over the new clerk's ability to meet the tactic of Clary's Grove, by a bet of ten dollars that Jack Armstrong was, in the language of the day, "a better man than Lincoln". The new clerk strongly opposed this sort of an introduction, but after much entreaty of Offut, at last consented to make his bow to the social lions of the town in this unusual way. He was now six feet four inches high, and weighed, as a friend and confident, William Green, tells with impressive precision, "two hundred and fourteen pounds". The contest was to be a friendly one and fairly conducted. All New Salem adjourned to the scene of the wrestle. Money, whisky, knives, and all manner of property were staked on the result. It is unnecessary to go into the details of the encounter. Everyone knows how it ended: how at last the tall and angular rail-splitter, enraged at the suspicion of foul tactics, and profiting by his height and length of his arms, fairly lifted the great bully by the throat and shook him like a rag ...."

"Mr. Lincoln's remarkable strength resulted not so much from muscular power as from the toughness of his sinews. He could not only lift from the ground enormous weight, but could throw a cannonball or a maul farther than anyone in New Salem."

"No little of Lincoln's influence with the men of New Salem can be attributed to his extraordinary feats of strength. By an arrangement of ropes and straps, harnessed about his hips, he was enabled one day at the mill to astonish a crowd of village celebrities by lifting a box of stones weighing near a thousand pounds." (Interrupting Herndon's account again, on page 154 of Ward H. Lamon's "The Life of Lincoln", one reads "Lincoln has often been seen in the old mill on the river bank to lift a box of stones weighing from one thousand to twelve hundred pounds."

In 1998 the University of Illinois Press published "Herndon's Informants", edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis. On page 7 is a May 28, 1865 letter to William H. Herndon from his cousin, J. Rowan Herndon. An excerpt, as written, follows: "... he was By fare the stoutest man that i ever took hold of i was a mear Child in his hands and i considered my self as good a man as there was in the Cuntry untill he Come about i saw him lift Betwen 1000 and 1300 lbs of Rock waid in a Boxx ..."

Continuing Herndon's account: "There is no fiction either, as suggested by some of his biographers, in the story that he lifted a barrel of whisky from the ground and drank from the bung; but in performing this later almost incredible feat he did not stand erect and elevate the barrel, but squatted down and lifted it to his knees ..."

"When he walked he moved cautiously but firmly; his long arms and giant hands swung down by his side. He walked with even tread, the inner sides of his feet being parallel. He put his whole foot flat down on the ground at once, not landing on the heal; he likewise lifted his foot all at once, not rising from the toe, and hence he had no spring to his walk. His walk was undulatory - catching and pocketing tire, weariness, and pain, all up and down his person, and thus preventing them from locating. The first impression of a stranger, or a man who did not observe closely, was that his walk implied shrewdness and cunning - that he was a tricky man; but in reality it was the walk of caution and firmness."
posted by stenseng at 1:51 PM on September 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


Lincoln also leapt out of a second-story window to deny the state legislature a quorum to prevent an adjournment vote. Dude was hardcore.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:57 PM on September 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree on many of the points regarding Honest Abe. Remember, though, that Jackson wasn't just a crazed duelist (who spent the later part of his life with several lead balls still lodged in him), he was also a skilled tactician in his own right, and a calculating bastard when it came to murdering as many people as he possibly could.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ford, like Obama, was a baller. Given he knows all of Nixon's weaknesses, too, I'd vote for the Ford/Lincoln ticket.
posted by zippy at 2:09 PM on September 4, 2012


Cool Papa Bell: Whether he's a top 3 competitor at his age from 1860-63 is a different question, of course.
Irrelevant - the article clearly states that each president is fighting in his peak physical shape, not in his "White House years".
posted by IAmBroom at 2:12 PM on September 4, 2012


Ironic, because Ford was arguably the best athlete of all the presidents

Teddy Roosevelt respectfully disagrees.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Irrelevant - the article clearly states that each president is fighting in his peak physical shape, not in his "White House years".

That's not what it says: "Every president is in the best physical and mental condition they were ever in throughout the course of their presidency"

However, he forgets the rule pretty quickly and a lot of his analysis outright ignores it. It's a little frustrating when people can't keep track of what's going on in their own thought experiments.
posted by Copronymus at 2:18 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's why I have my doubts on Lincoln - he started getting sick in 1860 and never really regained peak health.
posted by maryr at 2:20 PM on September 4, 2012


Ugh, I'm glad he ignored that rule. It becomes far less interesting if the fight happens under those conditions.

Much cooler to have this fight be taking place, as I imagined it, on Riverworld, because then not only we do get to see everyone at their physical peak, they don't really die permanently when the fight's over. ;-)
posted by lord_wolf at 2:24 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


April 8, 1865: When he was done [chopping wood], he took the axe by its handle and with his right hand lifted it slowly until it was at a right angle to his body, where he held it for several moments, a feat of strength he had performed before. The wounded soldiers were delighted by the way Lincoln "showed off" for them.

Lincoln and Washington were famously goddamn ripped - see for instance Lincoln's deathbed surgeon "His large arms, which were occasionally exposed, were of a size which one would scarce have expected from his spare appearance." According to Churchill, the same was true of Franklin Roosevelt, who worked the upper body constantly and, let's not forget, used to "stand" at podiums supporting 190 pounds of dead weight on his forearms. Teddy Roosevelt? Talked a good game, liked wrassling and shooting defenseless animals, but honestly, how many fights are won by the guy who brags about how tough he is?
posted by ormondsacker at 2:49 PM on September 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


JFK was never, ever in good health - Addison's disease nearly killed him until it was diagnosed and treated in the early 1950's, and by that time his back was pretty much destroyed.

However, if the author of this amusing and interesting piece had taken JFK's illness into account, he may have found a way to insert Robert Kennedy into the melee. I think Bobby Kennedy would have murdered them all.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:35 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also think Teddy Roosevelt is not going to win. He was more of a character than a full on athlete, I think. He seemed to not have the attention span needed to actually develop and maintain strength and stamina.

I say George W wins it. Like Buster Bluth after his training in Army- sneaky-like.
posted by gjc at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2012


Teddy Roosevelt was an all-rounder at Harvard- sculling, boxing and swimming. He was pretty fit, and that was before he went out west.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best chance for the middle of the pack presidents would be to gang up on TR, Andrew Jackson and the other heavyweights early. You don't want to be the last man standing against them. Those guys won't have allies and will fall by the fact that the numbers will be against them.
posted by humanfont at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2012


In 1835 Richard Lawrence tried to assassinate Andrew Jackson by firing a pistol at Jackson's back. It misfired. Lawrence drew another pistol; it misfired too. Jackson then used his cane to beat the shit out of Lawrence. "Some reports even state that Jackson had to ultimately be pulled away from Lawrence as he continued to beat him even when Lawrence was down and completely subdued." It's Jackson.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2012


I'm with those who have doubts about Lincoln making it very far. He has his size and the psychological block that most of the later Presidents will have about killing him, but also probable lifelong health issues and only very brief, non-combat militia service. I figure he could hold out to the second half, at least, but top 3 seems overly optimistic. Carter was in the fucking submarine corps, so I don't think he'd be the easy target he's made out to be; second half for him, as well.

I think Nixon could do pretty well for himself, just by staying away from the main fighting and picking off the weak and wounded around the edges. He'll be in trouble once it's down to the heavy-hitters, but ruthlessness, paranoia and a sharp eye for other people's weaknesses could carry him a long way. I think George W. Bush could also successfully work a defensive/evasive strategy; he'd be at a disadvantage in the middle of a scrap, but he's an avid runner and also demonstrably adept at avoiding actual fighting (ba-dum-tssssh.)

I don't know that there would be much time for alliance forming to go on in the parameters of the experiment. They're in a wide open arena; all it takes is for one of them to snap and shank his neighbor for chaos to break loose, and I give that 10 minutes, tops. Later on, when the crowd's thinned out a bit, there might be a bit of circling around and temporary truce-forming, but I can't imagine that any of that would last too long, either. What would be really interesting is some sort of Battle Royale situation, where everyone's dropped into a fairly large area (an island, or maybe the White House grounds) with some degree of cover.

Now we're playing to a wider field of strengths and weaknesses: diplomacy, charisma and strategic/tactical ability would become more important; Nixon's sneaking around the edges method could take him a lot further; Carter's engineering education would become a pretty valuable asset in an environment that allowed for setting traps; George Bush's intelligence background would also come to the fore.

There's five presidents who could credibly rally a fighting squad around them: Washington, Eisenhower, Grant (who was a mediocre-at-best president, but was apparently an excellent general), Teddy Roosevelt and Jackson. Supposedly, Washington was somewhat of an inspiration to Ike both as a soldier and a president, so I'm betting they meet up and Eisenhower agrees to be his second-in-command. Both of them are strategically formidable and enjoy a good reputation among the others; they easily build up a sizable coalition.

Jackson and Roosevelt wind up with smaller groups, but both had substantial experience leading smaller elite squads (in Roosevelt's case) or succeeding in spite of being outnumbered (in Jackson's), and both have enough repute as fighters to rally the other presidents and enough confidence to try to take on Washington's faction (although Roosevelt might agree to a temporary truce until Jackson's group was taken out.) Grant could manage to pull together a few people, especially among those alive during Civil War, but he probably wouldn't get to the point where he could take on any of the others. Grant's group gets picked off or absorbed into the other groups early in the game, and we're left with a three-way fight.

After that, there's a lot of variables that would could make it go a lot of different ways. I think eventually, you'd wind up with just Washington and Eisenhower and they'd have some sort of duel, and Washington, being the more experienced duellist, would win, and then leave a heartfelt eulogy for Eisenhower in a private letter somewhere, but I could also totally imagine the situation where Jackson's agents, led by George Bush, scheme to take out both Washington and Eisenhower in a surprise nighttime attack early on.
posted by kagredon at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


First Ladies? Pffft, only Eleanor Roosevelt. She turned down Secret Service protection and practiced and carried her own piece instead.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:00 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm going to have to disagree. LBJ in a walk. There's really no question about that.

Not too sure about this. According to Robert Caro, LBJ was a big coward. Though, for what it's worth, he might have been the only president to have actually carried a knife around with him, as indicated in the Haggar pants recording above.
posted by Bokmakierie at 6:06 PM on September 4, 2012


Obama wins. Most of the combatants assume he's a servant of some kind. If they move to attack him he's all don't hurt me master, this distracts them for a moment while he chops them up like stray dogs at a White House BBQ.
posted by humanfont at 6:48 PM on September 4, 2012


Obama's from Chicago. You send one of his to the hospital, he sends one of yours to the morgue. So while all of these former prez's are pummeling with fists, he'd have SEAL Team 6 send out a drone strike on their position. Never bring a knife to a gun fight.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:53 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


All of them team up to take out the people who pulled their strings and engineered this fight: the fourteen pre-Washington Presidents of the Continental Congress, jealous of their footnote status in history.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:48 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Didn't TR's trophies end up in the American Museum of Natural History in New York and not the Smithsonian? Maybe I just believe Mad Men too much.
posted by pashdown at 6:18 AM on September 5, 2012


Both. That dude killed a whole lot of animals.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:52 AM on September 5, 2012


Is this gonna be one of those memes that gets optioned for a movie deal, like the modern-soldiers-in-ancient-Rome thing? Because it kinda feels like it might.

And though I avoided Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter like the plague... I would absolutely watch All-President Knife Fight.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:20 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


MeFi's own mightygodking on how Obama would win, as explained by 1980s Star Trek novels.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Carter was in the fucking submarine corps, so I don't think he'd be the easy target he's made out to be; second half for him, as well.

Seriously? It's not like the submarine corps are expected to see a lot of hand-to-hand combat... And, as a nuclear engineer, that's the place he'd be if he were the biggest wuss in the entire Armed Forces.

And - thanks for correcting my mistake on the rules, Copronymus.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:53 AM on September 5, 2012


I gotta put a show bet on Nixon. He'd cut himself and play dead, intending to leap up at the end and stab the winner in the back, or organize a C-list rush.

But I gotta figure one of the later Presidents would be wise to exactly that possibility and put a couple of make-sures into ol' Tricky Dick.

It's the fact that most of these guys did have pretty dynamic youths, but by the time they were President they were mostly older men who had spent more time wrestling staplers and pens than fighting for their lives. First ladies, you gotta go with Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolly Madison or Betty Ford. Those are some hard pipe-hitting ladies.
posted by lon_star at 10:20 AM on September 5, 2012


Rules say this is a free for all. Men fall and their weapons are there for the taking.

Question then becomes, which president knows how to throw a knife?

Pretty soon Lincoln's reach doesn't seem so useful.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:21 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Question then becomes, which president knows how to throw a knife?"

If you're in a room with 45 other armed men, isn't throwing your knife pretty much the same as dropping it?
posted by lon_star at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not throwing my knife, I'm throwing those I've been collecting as the weaker men drop off. I need mine to ward off those who don't know how to throw.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:30 AM on September 5, 2012


And though I avoided Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter like the plague.

Mmmm,well I did see it and I am telling you it is interfering mightily with my judgment on Abe's abilities in this fight
posted by Isadorady at 10:44 AM on September 5, 2012


And too bad it is past the August Best Post date, because this one would have been a contender!
posted by Isadorady at 10:48 AM on September 5, 2012


And, as a nuclear engineer, that's the place he'd be if he were the biggest wuss in the entire Armed Forces.

I thought that was what the Air Force was for...?
posted by maryr at 10:53 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because of this premise, I've learned a lot about several Presidents. Nice stealth history lesson! I think this would be a really cool assignment for kids who find history and research boring, though I think most schools would avoid it due to the violent nature of the premise.

But I personally learned that far more of our early Presidents had experience on the frontier than I had originally believed and that Gerald Ford is a kind of hidden bad-ass who might have been too good a person for the Presidency.

This is why I love the internets.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:41 AM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


lord_wolf, I've been thinking about that too. Maybe political party paintball, with the reward to the winning team being for each person, the one thing they desperately wanted but never got as President.

I know you could do Dem/Rep/Whig counts, but I also know the Democrats of the 1940s would have about as much in common with the Democrats of the 1980s as the Israelis and Palestinans do on matters of race.

Whattya think? Should I take my idea to Reddit?
posted by lon_star at 12:25 PM on September 5, 2012


And, as a nuclear engineer, that's the place he'd be if he were the biggest wuss in the entire Armed Forces.

Pretty sure the president willing to be locked inside a metal drum, next to a reactor, possibly next to nuclear missiles, deep under water, is lacking in the wuss department.
posted by zippy at 1:28 PM on September 5, 2012


Not my point, zippy. That doesn't make him a pugilist.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:37 PM on September 5, 2012


Maybe political party paintball, with the reward to the winning team being for each person, the one thing they desperately wanted but never got as President.

Carter's back in the running!
posted by IndigoJones at 2:07 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


But Ho'd Win in a British prime ministers' knife fight?

You know they'd fight nasty.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


MartinWisse, I don't know British history well enough, but would this conceptually go back to any of the kings or Oliver Cromwell? I know some of those fellows were pretty do-it-yourself when it came to murder. Where would the prime minister lineage start for this discussion?

(yes I could go look on Wikipedia, but I'd rather get the ground rules from the OP).
posted by lon_star at 3:37 AM on September 6, 2012


LORD PALMERSTON!
posted by Iridic at 7:29 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whattya think? Should I take my idea to Reddit?

Yeah! I think it's a great variation on this concept, one that would play well with the school system too.

Hell, just watching the fellows with military experience debate each other about strategy and tactics for the contest would make for a damned good show!
posted by lord_wolf at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2012


For future consideration:

Pope Fight!

Emperors of Rome, with swords, in the coliseum (probably a gimme for Maximinus Thrax, although Julius Caesar's ability to lead men and win battles when massively outnumbered can not be dismissed lightly).

The cast of Jersey Shore, with shotguns. We all win that one.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:17 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also know the Democrats of the 1940s would have about as much in common with the Democrats of the 1980s as the Israelis and Palestinans do on matters of race.

This statement wouldn't work even if you restricted it to just Southern Democrats! Remember LBJ came to Washington in 1937!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:08 AM on September 7, 2012


I should preface that I agree that a guy like Faubus and Obama would probably not be able to sit in the same room without stabbing each other, but sweeping universalities don't work too well!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:13 AM on September 7, 2012


Every President and five members of their staff - best choice of person from each position for Presidents who had more than one person fill a certain role, although if one staff member worked multiple administrations, the first administration that hired them gets first dibs. If you were a Vice President before being President and your former boss wants you on his team, it is your choice, not his, whether you lead your own team or are a member of his. Everyone is at their physical peak, and has the accumulated knowledge of their entire life (up until the moment the game starts here in real world time, for Presidents who are still alive). The President in each team cannot cede leadership to anyone in their group while they still live, so you can't have, say, George W voluntarily cede leadership to Colin Powell because of Powell's military expertise. It is perfectly valid if your group mutinies and fights on without their President, so choose loyal people. No team may have more than six people at a time, or you are automatically disqualified and your team is removed from the world. If you want someone else to defect to your team and all six of your team are alive, you must cast out one of your own to fend for themselves.

Simple rifles, revolvers and knives are the weapons (maybe the M1917 revolver and M1903 Springfield rifle), and all participants are trained up on all weapons before the choices are made, to familiarize the older teams with newer technology and the newer teams with the older stuff. All the ammo your team can carry, but no mounts and no vehicles and you'd better leave room to carry supplies.

They fight in an area that's the size of the playable map of Skyrim at real world scale, but it includes equal amounts of all terrains and climates found on Earth. The Presidents, after conferring with their staffs over a full modern-day CIA factbook-style overview of the battle area, pick a starting position and get supplies geared towards that climate and terrain. Supplies include small rocket stoves so that you don't have to draw attention with a big fire. Food is in the form of MREs, and you have water sanitation gear. Everyone is trained on this survival gear beforehand. There are MRE caches spread evenly throughout the world, but not too many.

A team only knows their own starting position at the start of the game (hopefully they didn't pick a starting spot right next to someone else!), and they must explore to find and defeat the others.

Last team standing wins.

----

...yeah, someone who's better at running an RP campaign than me should feel free to expand upon this and run it, I just wanna watch it unfold.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:08 PM on September 7, 2012


Dang lack of edit function: The President in each team cannot cede leadership to anyone in their group while they still live, so you can't have, say, George W voluntarily cede leadership to Colin Powell because of Powell's military expertise. If the President of your team goes down, leadership follows line of succession and can't be voluntarily ceded.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:11 PM on September 7, 2012


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