Sunday, January 7, 2018

They Might Be Giants – "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" (2004)

Sure, let 'em talk about hard cider
And log cabins, too

As I noted in the previous 2 or 3 lines, President Trump is and always has been a teetotaler.  (You would think that word should be “teatotaler,” but it’s not.)  

Brothers Freddy and Donald Trump
Trump doesn’t drink because his older brother (who died when he was 43) had a serious drinking problem:

I had a brother Fred, great guy, best looking guy, best personality, much better than mine, but he had a problem.  He had a problem with alcohol.  And he would tell me don't drink.  Don't drink.

He was substantially older, and I listened to him and respected [him].  But he would constantly tell me don't drink. . . . [H]e would say it over and over and over again.  And to this day I've never had a drink.  And I have no longing for it.  I have no interest in it.  

To say that most of our previous Presidents were not teetotalers is putting it mildly.

*     *     *     *     *

William Henry Harrison was known as the “log cabin and hard cider” candidate when he ran against incumbent President Martin Van Buren in 1840.   

Harrison was the first American chief executive to die in office.  He picked up some kind of nasty bug – probably from sewage getting into the White House’s water supply – and served barely 30 days as President before he died.

"Death of Harrison"
While governor of the Indiana Territory in 1811, Harrison led about 1000 men into battle against the celebrated Indian leader, Tecumseh.  His victory in the Battle of Tippecanoe made him a national hero.

In 1836, he was one of four Whig candidates for President.  (The Whig strategy that year was to run different candidates in states where they were personally popular in hopes of denying Democrat Martin Van Buren an electoral vote majority, and then uniting behind one candidate and winning the election in the House of Representatives.  It didn’t work, although it might have if Harrison had gotten  4000 more popular votes in Pennsylvania.)

In 1840, Harrison ran against Van Buren again.  His victory over Tecumseh had taken place almost 30 years earlier, but that didn’t stop the Whigs from campaigning under the slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!”  (John Tyler was the party’s vice-presidential nominee.)

A Harrison campaign cartoon
Van Buren’s supporters tried to paint Harrison as an dumb hick.  One anti-Whig newspaperman wrote that the country should “[g]ive him a barrel of hard cider, settle a pension of two thousand a year on him, and . . . he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.”

The Whigs turned this gibe against the Democrats.  Although log cabins were few and far between in the United States by 1840, many Americans had grown up in one, or had parents or grandparents who had grown up in one.  Hard cider was a popular working-class drink, and the Harrison forces served  many barrels of cider at their campaign rallies.  

A Harrison log cabin bottle
*     *     *     *     *

The Van Buren campaign tried to persuade voters that the 67-year-old Harrison was too old and feeble to be President.  

Of course, 67 seems almost young for a Presidential candidate nowadays.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump turned 69 and 70, respectively, during the 2016 campaign.  Bernie Sanders was almost 75 when he conceded the Democratic nomination to Clinton, and Joe Biden turned 74 just days after the election.

Trump will be 74 in 2020.  Clinton will be 73, but that doesn’t matter because she has no interest in running again.  (HAHAHAHA!)  Sanders and Biden will be 79 and (almost) 78. 

Jerry Brown first ran for
President 41 years ago
Some have suggested that California governor Jerry Brown might seek the Democratic nomination.  Brown will turn 82 in 2020 – 15 years older than Harrison was when he was elected.

*     *     *     *     *

They Might Be Giants got the lyrics for “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” from an 1840 campaign song.  (The 1840 original had twelve verses, but the They Might Be Giants version has only three.)

Here’s “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”:

No comments:

Post a Comment