Presidential Quiz

Okay, here’s the test: I’m going to give some clues as to the identity of an American President. YOU have to guess the PResident I’m describing.

  1. He’s beloved by ideologues within his party, and LOATHED (to an irrational extent) by ideologues of the opposing party- even though he NEVER did ANY of the things his most rabid supporters wanted (and his enemies feared).

  2. From the very begiining, ideologues of the other party despised his wife, blaming her for all his failings, accusing her of manipuilating him, and making her the butt of ridicule.

  3. He’s always been a charming, amiable, personable guy… and this has allowed him to get away with murder. Though his administration was marked by scandal after scandal, all he ever had to do was smile and say, “I didn’t know anything about that,” and the American people were ready to forgive him. His popularity INCREASED after each scandal, and honest people who tried to hold him accountable came off looking petty, mean and vindictive.

  4. He’s consistently underestimated by his enemies. When he first ran for President, the incumbent was delighted, considering him a lightweight, and the weakest of all possible challengers. When he soundly BEAT the incumbent, the other party still didn’t take him seriously. “He just got lucky,” they said. “He beat a weak, upopular incumbent during a recession… and besides, there was a 3rd party candidate drawing votes away from our guy. NEXT time out, we’ll nominate a SERIOUS candidate, and demolish him.” But when the opposing party nominated their most respected Senator, they lost by a LANDSLIDE!

  5. Survey after survey shows that the American people love the guy, even though they don’t agree with him on any of the major issues.

So… here’s the test. What President am I describing? (The answer, of course, will tell us more about you than the PResident.)

Too easy.

This is both a description of Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.

And if you had said he was born in a log cabin, it would’ve also been a description of Abe Lincoln. :wink:

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

Tracer: It could not have been Reagan; he lost to Ford in 1976.
It would not have to applied to Lincoln, either; some of his bitterest enemies were Republicans. Also, the histories I‘ve read of The Civil War Era don‘t mention too many famous scandals, beyond U.S. Grant‘s fondness for strong waters. People had more important things to worry about.
Offhand, I would say it sounds like a description of Woodrow Wilson.

I think it’s FDR. No one thought he was going to win. There was a little recession I heard about when Hoover was President. You might have heard about it.

“There are many sweeping generalizations that are always true” -Space Ghost

Dear LongHrn99:
I agree with you that the first three criteria apply to FDR.
However, the only serious third-party candidate in those times was Eugene Debson the Socialist ticket, and somehow I don’t think he was going to take away too many votes from Republican candidates.
Also, I believe the majority of Americans at that time favored FDR’s policies.

Let’s apply some logic, people.
Since Astorian said the mystery president won a second term, that limits it to those presidents who have been elected two or four times.
I would say it cannot be George Washington since no one would have taken him lightly at the time. Grover Cleveland held the office twice, but was defeated in his second run.
Lincoln is out for the reasons I suggested above as well as the fact that he ran against Gen. McClellan in the 1864 election.
Coolidge, LBJ and Truman were re-elected to office, but they got to the presidency through the deaths of incumbents.
I’m going to rule out FDR and Eisenhower because there was no serious third party to drain votes away from their opponents.
That means the candidates are Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Grant, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Nixon and Clinton.
Astorian, Tracer is right; much, if not all, of this description could apply to Slick Willie, but it is too damn easy to name him, especially for the SDMB.
I would say Jackson and Wilson best fit the description.

It’s got to be Reagan, and Astorian forgot that he ran against Ford in 1976. All of the other criterion fit perfectly. He beat Carter in 1980, because Carter was weak, the country was in a recession, and a 3rd party Candidate (John Anderson) had a pretty strong showing. He then beat Senator Mondale in 1984.

Warren G.Harding…no,wait, Chester Arthur.

Fillmore - I bet it’s Fillmore!


I think the first criterion eliminates both Clinton and Reagan, but I know the OP intends for you to guess either Clinton or Reagan. Clinton has done plenty of things heavily feared by the ideologues of the right (gun control, gays in the military, humanitarian military interventions), and Reagan had the B-1, the Peacekeeper, mining Nicaragua harbors, etc. I think the first criterion should be something like, “This President is loved by his partisans and hated by opposing ideologues even though he did a lot of things not typically associated with his professed ideology.”

I also think that by the “first time he ran for President” I think it means the first time he was nominated.

I think Reagan also ran in 1968, but maybe it was just so he could control the California delegation at the Convention. In any case, he won more total popular primary votes than Nixon (showing how little primary votes mattered back then).

I also don’t buy that Perot took more votes from Bush than he did from Clinton in 1992, but I can’t remember my source for that. I’ll try to find it.


Gotta be Jackson.

If you’re hot, that’s good.
If you’re cool, that’s good.

I don’t get it.

You “Jackson” people are kidding, right?

  1. Jackson vetoed the Bank of the United States, something his ideological opponents really feared and really hated him for. (I think he did plenty of other things that Jacksonian Democrats wanted, and the National Republican feared, but I can’t really remember what they were.)

  2. I don’t think Jackson was charming or amiable. He tried to beat a man to death when that man tried to assassinate him. He kept grudges for years

  3. When Jackson ran for re-election, his main opponent was Henry Clay, who was a member of the House of Representatives. I don’t think Clay ever served in the Senate. I also doubt that John Q. Adams considered Jackson the weakest of all possible challengers in 1828, since Jackson had won a plurality of the popular vote in 1824.

  4. I don’t think they had surveys back then. If they did, I bet most people would have agreed with him on a lot of major issues, including territorial expansion and the tariff.

Of course, this is all from memory, so feel free to correct any history I have recalled incorrectly.

Would you not want to beat a man to death who had just tried to kill you? You make it sound like this is a bad thing?


p.s. I am sure he wants us to choose Clinton and it does seem to apply to Clinton, but I am sure he has someone else in mind. Though I am not sure who, my guess is Nixon or another such republican.

If someone tried to assassiniate me, and I had a steel-tipped cane, I would probably beat them in the head with it. But then, I’m not an amiable person.

If Jackson were an amiable person, he would have said, “Hey old chap, it seems like both of your pistols have misfired. What sort of way is that to murder your chief executive? Just hand me over your pistols and I’ll show you how to load them properly so that doesn’t happen again.”

Then when the Marines tackle the assassin (instead of the President as they did in the actual event), our hypothetical amiable Jackson would say, “Oh look! The Marines are here! Wait a minute now, don’t handle the man roughly, I was just having a conversation with him on misfiring pistols. Can’t we all just go shooting together and have some hard cider afterwards?”

That’s my ideal for an amiable politician.

Sounds like a stupid politician to me. A person who is out to kill you is not likely to be won over by your being nice to them. They are probably a little off their rocker anyway. Beat the heck out of them and maybe they and no one else will ever mess with you again.


Hey, amiable and stupid are fully compatible. What Jackson did was totally acceptable at the time.


Can’t be Nixon. Not only didn’t his popularity go up after a scandal, also, he lost his first run at the presidency to Kennedy.

My guess is Grant.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

I have not studied the details of most presidents. All I really know is what I have experienced. Since Carter is the first President I remember, I do not know much before him other than the big things that get mentioned in history class.


Gotta be Jackson. Henry Clay WAS elected to the senate in 1830. IIRC, Horace Greeley (Grant’s opponent in 1872), Charles Evans Hughes (Wilson’s in 1916), and Alfred M. Landon (Roosevelt’s in 1936) were not senators. Jefferson’s wife died long before he was elected to his first term. Madison, Monroe, and (I think) McKinley did not run against an incumbent. Nixon probably couldn’t be described as charming and amiable, but I guess that’s a matter of personal preference…

On registration day at taxidermy school
I distinctly saw the eyes of the stuffed moose

  • Gavin Gunhold

Fretful Porpentine, you are exactly right. I looked at a bio of Clay’s on the web, and I found he was elected to the U.S. Senate three different times! So I did remember stuff incorrectly.