The Presidents: the Reactions

I have this fantasy of going back in time, seeking out a person from the time of the American Rebellion… sorry, the American War of Independence… the George Washington stuff, okay? — and after establishing my credentials either as a time traveller or as a spooky divinator worth a listen, playing at that person the prophetic  intonations that are the Jonathan Coulton song The Presidents.

Mostly because the lyrics of that song would so make a Washington-era person freak out. Imagine it!

Washington came first and he was perfect,

“Well yes, obviously.”

John Adams kept us out of war with France

“What, that wastrel?”

Jefferson made a Louisiana Purchase

“Not that scribbling little atheist, too!”

In 1812 James Madison kicked the British in the pants

“Huzzah!”

James Monroe told Europe they could suck it

“I approve this message.”

John Quincy Adams looked just like his Dad

“Huh?”

Andrew Jackson got rid of all the Indians

“I approve this message… why the long face, Future Person?”

Van Buren served one term but he wasn’t bad

“What do you mean, van Buren? The fop sounds distinctly Hessian to me! Elect a Germanic character and next you’ll be electing a… a Pacific Islander or someone from the Kilimanjaro who doesn’t even have a birth certificate!”

William Henry Harrison died early

“Oh pooh.”

John Tyler annexed Texas from Mexico

“Hey! That sounds like a good idea!”

James K. Polk fought Mexico to keep it

“Heck!”

Taylor was a Mexican War hero

“Hooray!”

Filmore gave a boat to Commodore Perry

“I… look, this is unwholesome innuendo, is this not? And that better be Ms. Filmore and President Commodore Perry!”

Pierce repealed the Missouri Compromise

“Yes! No compromise with the Indians! Because I know the Missouri are some Indians — would be called, ha, Jefferson or something, if it was a place of ours. What? No, indubitably Massachusetts is about them Papists, Mass-a-choosers, see? There went those that would not have the tyranny of Rome! And Connecticut is because they are well connected. Or are you calling my nanny a liar?”

Buchanan saw the Civil War’s beginnings

“My nanny is not a liar!”

Lincoln saved the Union, then he died

“So… there was no Civil War? Good job, Mr. Lincoln! Also, my nanny was the most perfect person ever to grace this earth, except for her unfortunate sex. Why, I might even flatter her by admitting her intellect might not have been entirely inferior had she been a man! Indeed, she well hid the universal female weaknesses of character she surely possessed…”

Andrew Johnson just survived impeachment

“What the hell? What is this impeachy thing? Is it catching? Did it kill Lincoln too? Keep your mitts off me, Future Person!”

General Grant enjoyed a drink or two
Rutherford B. Hayes ended Reconstruction

“Of what? Was that Grant a house-wrecker too?”

Garfield was assassinated in 1882

“What? Hashishin? IN AMERICA?”

Arthur suspended Chinese immigration

“Well that explains it! Lunatic future-Americans! Letting Chinese Mahometan Hashishim from Persia into America!”

Cleveland made the railroad people squirm

“What road? Is this one more Indian tribe there somewhere? With funny angry roads or something?”

Harrison signed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Grover Cleveland served another term

“Ha, the railroad-scalper returns! Get them Indians, Cleveland! Wahoo!”

McKinley kept the Spanish out of Cuba

“Huzzah!”

Roosevelt was handy with a gun

“I’m too!”

Taft was big and fat and had a mustache

“I’m too!”

Wilson kicked some ass in World War I

“That… World War? The Northern Hemisphere versus the Southern?”

Harding said let’s laissez-faire with business

“This is a war too, isn’t this?”

Coolidge made the roaring 20s roar

“What.”

Hoover screwed the pooch in the Great Depression

“The fugue-state private affairs of heads of state are not a fit subject for such crude versifying! Not now, not ever!”

Then Roosevelt beat the Nazis in the war

“Oh great, the Nazis? Another Indian tribe, what? Or… they sound a bit Semitic to me. The Nazis… Arabs? Are we taking over Arabia now? Well, at least it’s the bush, not another world war.”

Truman dropped the bomb on Hiroshima

“What, he walked there and shoved it off his saddle? What kind of action heroes are these future presidents? And what kind of a name is Hieroshame anyway?”

Eisenhower kept the commies well in hand

“What, more Indians? Must America grapple forever against those Reds?”

Kennedy was killed by a magic bullet

“Kennedy… sounds Irish. Figures, a leprachaun killed by a magic bullet! Ha ha ha! It’s funny because he’s a foreigner.”

Johnson murdered kids in Vietnam

“What the hell, future America?”

Nixon was a sweating filthy liar

“I’m too!”

Ford gave Nixon pardon for his crimes

“I sure hope so!”

Carter lusted in his heart for peanuts

“Me too!”

Reagan won the Cold War and lost his mind

“Now we have Canada, too? And Greenland? Hot pocket! Must be the cold that got to the man.”

George Bush senior poked at Saddam Hussein

“What did I say about the bedroom affairs? Shush!”

Clinton gave an intern a cigar

“So how is this news? I give anyone a cigar if they want one. A big, fat, black one. I’ve got lots of them in the shed out back. They’re good for your health!”

W’s legacy’s a work in progress

“Du… you mean, ‘W’? Sure thing, by this weird song Mr. Washington’s legacy sure is a damn horsecarriagewreck in progress!”

Well, usually when I imagine it, it doesn’t come out quite that bad.

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