More interesting than any mere ordinary presidential campaign is Geoff Micks’s theoretical question:
In a mass knife fight to the death between every American President, who would win and why?
Micks gives each president a lousy mass-produced, tactical-styled Gerber LRH. I think it would be more considerate to give them something a little better. My choice is the Randall Number 1—All Purpose Fighting Knife. Each president can select his preferred blade length from 5 to 8”.
I don’t think Micks is far off on his analysis of the odds.
I think, though, that George Washington may have a better chance than Micks supposes. Washington was a large, powerful, and physically graceful man, and he was notoriously aggressive by temperament. After all, as a young lieutenant, George Washington essentially singlehandedly started the French and Indian War.
Teddy Roosevelt was game, and I think he would have made a spirited effort, hurrying into the fight, but let’s face it, Teddy was a four-eyed rich boy who went to Harvard. He was fine at shooting lions and bears, but it’s not certain that TR ever actually killed anybody.
The obvious truth is, in the history of the American presidency, only one stone cold killer has ever occupied the Oval Office. The number of duels fought by Andrew “By God” Jackson varies in different accounts. Some authorities claim he fought 13 times. There is no doubt at all, though, that Andrew Jackson, after first taking a bullet, shot Charles Dickinson dead in 1806, observing afterwards that “If he had shot me through the brain, I would still have killed him.”
Andrew Jackson survived the first assassination attempt on an American president, and actually subdued and arrested his own assailant. Some accounts say that Jackson produced a pair of pistols out of his pockets. Others claim that Jackson beat the would-be assassin into unconsciousness with his cane.
On his death bed, Jackson reportedly remarked: “I have only two regrets: I didn’t shoot Henry Clay and I didn’t hang John C. Calhoun.”
It seems to me that with respect to readiness to fight, competence, and iron resolution, not even Washington could hope to compete with Old Hickory.
Hat tip to Troy Senik.