Our eighth President, Martin van Buren, has sent me his latest screed, this time analyzing the early decisions of President-elect Obama. Enjoy. -Freddie
THE CHOICES, or, A PATH IN TWAIN: ONWARD TO RESPITE, OR RUIN?
Wherein Martin Van Buren, CITIZEN, evaluates the early investiture of Chief-Executive-Elect Obama’s Regime, &c.
From Mr. Martin Van Buren, CITIZEN
Lindenwald in Kinderhook, New-York
My kindness and sympathy is with you Mr. L’Hote, and to the L’Hote fam. & assoc., as you continue to recover from your recently manifested illness. Though custom and propriety dictate that one should only discuss debilitating diseases in private, I am thankfully exempted from giving any such quarter to scurrilous Jacobin curs who lack honour.
Therefore, forgive this old man’s venturous assumption, but I can only attribute the recent quality of your broadsides to a severely damaged mind. Pray tell…have you sensed Foreign plaques on the brain, or some other encephaloed swelling? Has the enteric fever befallen your community of late? Has a horse kicked you? I further surmise from your previous broadside on beer that spoiled drink has likely hastened the decline. Aye, for only derangement can excuse the amorphous deposits that you have lately deemed fit for the publick discourse. Why, what man of sensible tastes and learning would waste good ink prattling on about his brawling with other drunkards, while plainly ignoring the debates in the Congress on the protective Tariff? You are not well.
As I expect that your descent into madness and incontinence shall be swift, if not already well along (if this letter should reach the care-taker, Madam, please keep Mr. L’Hote’s chamber pot well within arm’s reach), I shall take this opportunity to opine in your place.
* * * Fellow-CITIZENS of Our Republic, I wish you glad tidings as we once again celebrate the harvest this week in a spirit of thanks-giving. Observe, dear friends in Liberty, how the typically staid surroundings of the field, shop, mill, or counting-house will soon be replaced by a mirthful familial feting of the Republic’s bounty! I salute you, Americans, as you gather with family to slaughter the turkie and indulge in the holiday’s signature custards, crumbles, cobblers, buckles, pandowdies and tea cakes.
At Lindenwald, my Special Emissary from Meals on Wheels, Amy, has promised to bring me a luxuriant sampling of the finest fried game for the Holiday. I am told that this game is the “secret receipt” of one of Kentuckey’s most renowned military veterans! I intend to follow this feast with a glass of fine warmed Scotch, a Fish-House Punch, and then indulgence in my newly-discovered “tele-vised” broadsides on Fox’s News. I find it remarkable what gaiety and subversive ribaldry is presented by Mr. Fox! My favorite theatrical at the moment features the untamed gesticulations and war cries of the Wild Irishman, Hannitie. However, I do question the propriety of transplanting this Hibernian shant to the publick stage. Is he not more fit for building our Republic’s palatial urban bridges or mining our precious coal?
Yet as we prepare to fill our bellies to the breaking with roasted meats, we must not lose sight of the latest dispatches from Washington. My post rider arrived with the news today that Sen. Obama is beginning to select his cabinet members, and that he is already crafting his plan to rescue the economy from the cold abyss wrought by those Whiggish, over-moneyed, speculator-banker-canal magnates.
Obviously, I have followed the news of the Chief-Executive-Elect’s plans with great interest. As you may know, my own administration was wracked with the Ills of Financial Panic, and I am eager to see how this tyro Senator of the Illinois Territory will combat the maelstrom. From Mr. Obama’s recent treatises to the publick, I glean the following choice crumbs of their Whig economic plan...
Our future Chief Executive and the Delawarean Mr. Biden will first enact a “windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills.” Mr. Obama, I heartily embrace this proposal! For far too many years, the rapacious scions of New Bedford and Nantucket have crushed American liberty, their spermaceti-greased fists clutching at the hard-earned dollars of the common yeoman! Big Whale Oil, my fellow-CITIZENS, is corrupting our country.
Yea, our cities may gleam in the night with modern shining brilliance, but at what cost?? And now, as the Briton demand for our oil reserves increases by the year, the price skyrockets! What better fate can we hope for than that we will all soon be pawns in the pocket for the oily rogues of the Near Atlantic! We have no choice but to end this laudanum-like addiction to the whale’s milky gold. I suggest a mass transition to cleaner and more accessible fuel alternatives…kerosene, mayhaps, or coal.
Mr’s Obama and Biden have also pledged to “fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. They will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world…Obama and Biden will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports.” Though I hath not traditionally been a supporter of jingoistic or bellicose sentiments, I can discern the hidden meaning in the Senators’ rhetoric. And I understand that enforcing “trade agreements” will require negotiation by cutlass and cannon. However, so long as the standing army is disbanded when we return with our treasure, I can endorse Pres. Obama’s use of forces to, say, capture the prized Caribbean sugar islands or to obliterate the piratical Barbary States from the face of the Earth. I doubt not too that overland military expeditions against the wily Shawanese and Sioux may also uncover secret Treasures hidden heretofore from the whiteman! I know not how Obama will proceed, but I eagerly await his larger plan for rebuilding our federal stock of precious gold specie!
Sadly, however, I also find that Mr. Obama plans to burden the American publick with a stunning amount of putrid Whig offal. The new Regime believes “that it is critically important for the United States to rebuild its national transportation infrastructure – its highways, bridges, roads, ports, air, and train systems – to strengthen user safety, bolster our long-term competitiveness and ensure our economy continues to grow.” The new Regime further claims that it “will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation’s most challenging transportation infrastructure needs.” Oh me! The ghost of Alexander Hamilton walks again, and that lascivious product of bastardy is to be found violating dear and defenseless Liberty upon her bedstead! Must she further suffer the conspiracies of these politicos and Daemons of Public Works? I doubt not that the incestuous melee of banker, speculator, and bureaucrat will once again sully chaste Liberty’s name, if not fully extirpate her Virtue. I pray that such needless Whiggish Waste will not be a familiar stratagem for our new Chief Executive.
And yet, with all the weeping and teeth-gnashing for our Republic’s economy, I feel that the American People are obfuscating the greater Question regarding our children and their preparedness for the future. Should not the substandard education of our offspring be treated as the greatest hindrance to the continued Excellence of Our Republic? Certainly, the conveniences of ready market-food and indoor plumbing have made the latest generation so torpid and languorous, their attentions not attuned to husbandry but to their baubles, dandy-couture, and romantic dalliances. It is no surprise, then, that the educational benchmarks of our fathers have fallen into disrepair. Are you aware, for instance, that our young CITIZENS currently trail their counterparts in Hindoostan in both calving and farriery? It is this true crisis – the death of Yeoman Life itself -- that The Republic must head off, or the economic revivification shall be for naught.
Until next time, I remain your Publick Servant,
MARTIN VAN BUREN