Fantasy Drafts

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Presidents of the U.S.A. Draft Commentary

1:37 PM
The Presidents draft was a labor of love. We laughed, we cried, we derided the draft administrator, Bryan "Brownie" George. Needless to say, the expert commentary was at least as fun as the draft itself. The grades, objective as ever, shall tell the story. Without further ado:

Dan - In putting together my own draft board I was torn as to where George Washington should go. He's THE Founding Father of this country: a military hero turned statesman who set the benchmark for all Presidents to come, but something didn't ring true in my mind. Granted his mere presence incubated this country during its first years, but as a President? I think he's probably Number 3 overall. As for Dan's other choices, Andrew Jackson was a fine pick - Old Hickory is probably the strongest of the second tier Presidents. Clinton is another good choice. Though I am wary of recent Presidents in this draft, I think the pride of Arkansas is a solid pick given what was left on the board. Taking U.S. Grant at the end of the 4th was a decent pick, as he was really the last of those on the board with any significant pre or post-Presidential cachet. That being said, I think the drunkard would have beaten the crap out of Chester A. Arthur and Zachary Taylor, Dan's last two picks. Due to his drafting position, Dan was stuck towards the later rounds (especially in the end), though there were a few stronger picks than Arthur still on the board. With the exception of his second round pick, Dan's draft mirrored his first selection: safe and uninspired.

Dan's Picks: Washington, Jackson, Clinton, Grant, Arthur, Taylor. Reach: Arthur. Steal: Jackson. Grade: B - eh.

Sarah - I know that an objective analysis of a draft should not take into account this history of previous drafts, but a distinct pattern is emerging in Sarah's selections. She mops up and is very opinionated in cultural drafts (candy bars, Beatles songs), yet goes off the reservation in historical drafts (wars, presidents). Thus, I must offer this explanation: accustomed to being the smartest one in the room, Sarah feels moderately outclassed intellectually in the historical drafts (especially by Adam) and feels it necessary to pick silly selections. She does this not out of ignorance, but rather a need to justify to herself that she could have done better if she had tried. And oh if she had tried in this draft! She took Lincoln with the number 2 overall pick, a fantastic choice. He is clearly one of the top two presidents in our country's history. Eschewing the violence of Lincoln’s administration, she tapped Monroe as her round 2 pick. Then round three came. In my estimation, there weren't any really sexy picks left so, rather than coming up with a moderately decent president Sarah took the stunner of all stunners - William Henry Harrison. The only way to rectify this injustice would have been to take Tyler, but Sydney deprived her of getting the duo made famous by "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." She then went for two presidents made tragic not by death in office, but by failure to rise up and meet the challenges that occurred during their administrations. Carter was probably a reach in Round 4, but I do like Andrew Johnson in Round 5. Johnson gets a horrible rap, but following Lincoln was not easy. He is blamed for the failures of Reconstruction, but the circumstances between Lincoln's plan and Congress' plan really made his failure inevitable. Given the choice between Taylor and Benjamin Harrison, I think Taylor would be the obvious choice, but Sarah chose Harrison. This slight error can be overlooked after realizing that Sarah now has a monopoly on the Harrisons who have been president.

Sarah's Picks: Lincoln, Monroe, W. Harrison, Carter, Johnson, B. Harrison. Reach: W. Harrison. Steal: Johnson. Grade: B- - Any reasonable choice other than W. Harrison in the 3rd would have made this draft class, well, the class of the draft.

Adam - Adam's first few selections are all about action. Teddy Roosevelt is a decent choice, a clear second to George Washington in the category of "action presidents." Furthermore, how can you argue with a man who charged up San Juan Hill AND is immortalized in the ubiquitous children’s toy, the Teddy Bear? If any President kicked more ass and took more names than Dwight D. Eisenhower, please send him forward. Simply analyze his job title during World War II: Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe. If you have one of those words (Supreme, Commander, Forces) in your job title you're a badass. His presidency was fairly underrated too, the Korean War was not an easy decision and, though he may have disagreed with it personally, Ike stood against segregation. Polk is highly underrated as a President and is probably a fit for the third round. You have to love the aggressive expansionists. Grover Cleveland is a fine choice in the 4th round for no other reason than the fact that there are so many trivia questions about him. "Ma, Ma, where's my pa? Going to White House. Ha, ha, ha." Though the draft pool was dwindling, I think there were better selections than Herbert Hoover in the 5th round. Smoot-Hawley? The Great Depression? I know Hoover’s seen sometimes as a tragic figure, but he probably could have done a little better. Fillmore's a tough swallow in Round 6. I think you've got to take our current president over Fillmore, but perhaps Adam wanted to get away from contemporary partisan rancor and thus selected the last President to be neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

Adam's Picks: T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Polk, Cleveland, Hoover, Fillmore. Reach: Hoover. Steal: Cleveland. Grade: B+ - T.R. is a bit too high, in front of Jefferson, Kennedy and Reagan at least. I do like Ike though.

Albert - Sweet Fortuna smiled upon Albert, as he was able to get Thomas Jefferson with the 5th overall pick of the draft. TJ was brilliant and his ideas about America are still relevant today. The Louisiana Purchase, like Marbury v. Madison for the Federal Judiciary, ushered in new ideas about a government's power, function and responsibility. Plus, the dude wrote the Declaration of Independence. With the man who dropped THE modern intellectual atomic bomb, Albert went about drafting the man who dropped the actual atomic bomb. Truman is often unfairly evaluated against the accomplishments of his immediate predecessor, but he's not a bad second round choice. William Howard Taft in ROUND 3 might be a bit of LARGESSE if one were to evaluate this draft based purely on BIG acts while in office. If you look at the man's total career, you'll see it SWOLLEN with accomplishment - including being named a Supreme Court Justice. Fatty. There's nothing really to say Albert's next two selections. G.H.W. Bush isn't really notable, I think the only reason he appears this high in the draft is because his term ended recently. Franklin Pierce was recently voted "Most Likely to Sit in the Corner of a Presidential Reunion" by his peers. Warren G. Harding is an interesting choice. In terms of WORST presidents of the US, he is probably #2 or #3. In terms of most scandal-ridden, fun-having chief execs, he is clearly in the upper echelon. Not a glam pick, but Teapot Dome alone makes this one a pretty darn good late round choice.

Albert's Picks: Jefferson, Truman, Taft, G.H.W. Bush, Pierce, Harding. Reach: Bush. Steal: Jefferson. Grade: B. Starts well with Jefferson, but falters in the middle rounds. Pierce is a direct blow to the grade. Marbury vs. Madison depicted below:

Bryan - Bryan stuck with his own personality in picking John F. Kennedy. JFK scores Bryan points for ushering in the movie star era of the Presidency. He was the first to effectively use television and he successfully used his power to hop on Marilyn Monroe. Plus he made Americans feel good about themselves; he was the best we had. Adams is a safe pick, but he’s a bit too high for my tastes. He didn't accomplish a great deal as President and he bungled the Alien and Sedition Acts and the XYZ Affair. Picking J.Q.A. in the third is another stretch. I appreciate Bryan's desire to get both Adams men, but JQA would have been around for Bryan's next pick. Nixon and Garfield are both stretches. While I like Nixon for what good he did do as a President, I feel that he should have fallen at least until the 5th round due to that pesky Watergate thing. Garfield is another President who did little in office, though his inaction was due to death rather than incompetence. Silent Cal in the 6th round is a clear steal. The man whose economic policies (or complete lack thereof) were responsible, in part, for the roaring twenties is a great late round pickup.

Bryan's Picks: Kennedy, Adams, J.Q. Adams, Nixon, Garfield, Coolidge. Reach: J.Q. Adams. Steal: Coolidge. Grade: B- - Unspectacular beyond Kennedy and Coolidge. Too many middle round reaches.

Hired Hand pitched in and completed these last two evaluations…so blame him

Chris - Because the Presidents draft featured no trades and a finite number of possible selections, grading this one required a little more pathos for late-round selections. All things considered, Chris showed off his affinity for meddling presidents who didn't quite win their elections, as well as his secret Republican side.

W. is the clear disputed election winner here; lest we forget, however, Hayes strolled into office under inauspicious circumstances as well. "Old Granny" bears the distinction of officially agreeing to end Reconstruction and only sit for one term. What a pussyfooter!

McKinley, of course, laid the groundwork for New Imperialism, and also handed William Jennings Bryan his own ass twice in a row before getting anarchist-ed in 1901. Choosing FDR with the #3 overall was arguably a steal, and Reagan late in the 2nd round was certainly a value pick.

LBJ rounds out his draft - arguably, Chris's 5th Republican selection. You've got to respect a guy who whipped out his own "Lady Bird Johnson" and slammed it on a lectern, though. In striving for his own Great Society, our countercultural standard bearer showed he's a Red Stater at heart. One great selection, one good selection, two mediocre selections, and two poor selections - but again, that's about all you could hope for in this one.

Chris's Picks: FDR, Reagan, McKinley, Lyndon Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, George W. Bush. Grade: B+. Drafting for value.

Sydney - Sydney, Sydney, Sydney. Unable to shake her drafting slump, our own Franco-American Spaghetti-O provided us yet again with a study in mediocrity. (Uh-oh!) Madison, the Father of the Constitution, is a defensible first pick, but as President he left a lot to be desired, holding dual distinction: (a) the only president to allow the occupation of Washington during his term; (b) the shortest (5' 4") president of all time. Indeed, following Wilson, Syd's draft never really measured up. Though referenced in an episode of Seinfeld, Van Buren is a "wha?" pick, and "Tyler too" was just that.

In selecting the routinely consensus "Worst of All Time" president, James Buchanan, Sydney went for our nation's first gay president, and rounded her draft out with the only president elected to neither the presidency nor the vice presidency, Gerald Ford. Ford, of course, also holds the distinction of giving Donald Rumsfeld his first appointment as Defense Secretary. Way. To. Go. Syd.

Sydney's Picks: Madison, Wilson, van Buren, Tyler, Buchanan, Ford. Grade: C. Maybe it wasn't her fault - she DID have to go last - but still, I mean, come on.


Anonymous Sarah said...

FIRST of all, I didn't even participate in the Beatles draft, because I was grievously injured at the time. Thanks for bringing that back.

And second of all, I think William Henry Harrison was a brilliant third-round pick, dammit, given that he had the shortest term and therefore arguably inflicted the least damage upon our nation.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Your Friendly Neighborhood Pirate DJ said...

i resent the claim that i was derided. i watched that draft like a hawk. and every time sarah f*@ked things up (picking two presidents on one turn (wtf!) and telling albert it was his turn (when he was 4 turns away (wtf!), i would send an email out correcting her and trying to maintain order no more than 20 seconds after any of her inane, totally incorrect comments were received by the thread.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Um, I'm not sure it's necessary to air this all in public. It kind of hurts our mystique. And my reputation.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous robot commenter said...

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3:55 PM  

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