August 19, 2009

Why Martin Van Buren Sucked: The Song

#8. Martin Van Buren
Lyrics can be found on the YouTube page itself.


Anonymous said...

Isn't that a little harsh? Seems the slant with these songs about the Presidents finds fault with actions/decisions made (Washington and the Jay Treaty, Jefferson and the Embargo Act) that dealt more closely with impacting citizens at a more personal or local level... and then we have Van Buren blamed for not interfering with orders of the sovereign state government decisions of Missouri?

Are the "sucked" elements to be measured based on hindsight, the feelings of the time, or a consistent political philosophy? Just seeing a libertarian streak to the earlier posts about Washington and Jefferson overreaching their federal powers, but then here it's an attack on not trampling on the states.

Eric Olsen said...

A lot of the faults are obvious, universal and bi-partisan. But I admittedly overlook some of the common faults typically assigned to these presidents based on my political lens. I am more easily able to forgive acts of omission than acts of commission.

Through my research, this was one of the only blemishes on Van Buren's presidency. In fact, he is often thought of among historians as the "least bad president". It's the attributed quote that bothers me the most about Van Buren.

"Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you; if I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri."

His refusal to defend the liberty of American citizens was not based on a moral objection, but a political one. In his own eyes, this was a sucky action.

I'll leave you with the final paragraph of the intro of my book.

"When reading the entries in this book, keep in mind that “suckiness” is subjective. You may disagree with me on the action I selected for each president, or even that the action itself was bad at all. Each of us forms our political interpretations from different perspectives. We praise some presidents for their intentions. We praise some for the fortunate results of their poor decisions. And we blame others for situations they inherited. I am assuredly guilty of all these actions. But I urge you to consider the overarching question. Despite more than 200 years of evidence for futility in the search for presidential perfection, why do we still hold out hope for just that?"

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