Face in the Blue has the answer to this essential question, rating each president from George Washington on. (But wasn’t it President Obama who said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun“?)
1) George Washington – Commanding presence, strong physique, military training, viewed as a hero by everyone asked to shank him: He makes Top 10 without question. Of the guaranteed top three (I’m going to call them the Holy Trinity for the purposes of this rambling rundown), my money is on Jackson being the one who murders him; he wouldn’t blink, either. They were closer in age, and the hero myth wouldn’t be quite as firmly set. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jackson didn’t blink when he sneezed…
2) John Adams is going out early. Nothing against the man, but portly well-spoken lawyers bring lampoons to a knife fight. It doesn’t end well.
3) Thomas Jefferson. I’d like to say he’d make a good show of it, but he was a bit of dandy… Middle of the pack, but his dying words would be incredibly quotable.
4) James Madison. He’s just too short. I’m sorry: You need reach in a knife fight. The bravado of the philosophy behind Manifest Destiny only gets you so far. He’ll die early, and his small corpse will be one of the least important tripping hazards as the battle wears on.
5) James Monroe. It’s surprisingly difficult to say how he’d do, because he’s just so damned unmemorable. An argument could be made that he’d last a while for the simple reason that his opponents would try to place him. “Who are you again?” That would be distracting.
6) John Quincy Adams. That man had a murderer’s face, a murderer’s eyes, and a murderer’s haircut. Based on these intimidating characteristics alone I’m going to say he makes Top 10. If he teams up with dear old Dad and they watch each other’s back they might even become crowd favourites until the portly lawyer is overcome by a rabid Jackson/Lincoln/Teddy Roosevelt assault.
7) Andrew Jackson –It’s already been said: The man’s nickname was Old Hickory because he walked around town with a bludgeon that to the untrained eye was a walking stick. A man who can beat a would-be assassin within an inch of his life with a cane is going to be a murder machine when provided with an implement designed to end a man’s life. I think of the Top Three he’d be reckless enough to go down first, but he’d also probably have the highest overall kill count.
Read it all here.