Harrison vs. Bush
THIS WEEK'S CONTEST:Benjamin Harrison (Republican, 1889-1893) vs. George W. Bush (Republican, 2001-present)
FAMILY TIES: Harrison's grandfather, William Henry "Tippecanoe" Harrison, was the ninth president of the United States and the first to die in office. Bush's father, George Herbert Walker "Aunt Sally" Bush, was the 41st president and the first to vomit on a Japanese prime minister. WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
ELECTORAL MANDATE: Harrison was elected in 1888 despite receiving 89,596 fewer votes than Grover Cleveland. Bush was elected in 2000 despite receiving 543,895 fewer votes than Al Gore. WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
DEALING WITH DISASTER: The Johnstown Flood of 1889 killed 2,209 people. Harrison's response was limited to sending Army engineers to build pontoon bridges, but, according to Richard Burkert, executive director of the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, "It wasn't expected he would do anything. At that time, people didn't conceive of the idea of the federal government having that kind of role." Hurricane Katrina's death toll was 800 at press time and continues to rise. Bush did little in the days following the disaster, which may have contributed to widespread violence, disease and death. But according to Barbara Bush, mother of George W., "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is [flood survivors] all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the [Astrodome] here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
TECHNOLOGY: Harrison was the first president to use electricity in the White House. Bush choked on a pretzel. WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
WORLD-VIEW: Harrison: "We Americans have no commission from God to police the world." Bush: "The relations with, uhh, Europe are important relations, and they've, uhh, because, we do share values. And they're universal values, they're not American values or, you know, European values, they're universal values. And those values, uhh, being universal, ought to be applied everywhere." WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
ECONOMICS: Despite being president during the Gilded Age—a period of American history distinguished by a growing gap between rich and poor—Harrison managed to sign the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and said, "I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process." Despite being president during what some have called the New Gilded Age—distinguished by CEOs who earn 1,000 times what their workers do—Bush managed to sign massive tax cuts for the rich while telling them, "Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." WORST PRESIDENT: Bush
RESULT: BUSH SCORES EASY FIRST ROUND SWEEP! Faux Republican Harrison's compassion and balanced world-view are no match for the 43rd president's killer combination of entitlement, inaction and poor motor skills.
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