Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

LBJ ~ His first State of the Union

I am finishing a biography of Andrew Jackson.

Hate the partisan bickering of today? Blame Jackson and the political climate around him. "A willingness to wage constant partisan combat, no matter what the issue, was an emerging requirement in the politics coming into being in the 1830s" is what Jon Meacham says about the time.

It sounds so familiar, doesn't it?

Jackson had a newspaper started that would publish articles entirely in support of his policies. It was called the Globe. Heh. Think about that happening today.

Of course, then there was John C. Calhoun, the vice president who broke a tie vote in the Senate by voting against one of the President's nominees. Imagine. That went down well. Of course, Calhoun wanted to be president himself. There were other problems with him. {No, I am not a Calhoun fan.}

Not that Jackson was a saint by any means. I will say this for him: He believed in public service above all else (which conveniently came with a lot of power) and he would do anything to preserve The Union. Because at this point the seeds for the Civil War were sown (hey, thanks Calhoun!) and Jackson was doing his darndest to weed them out. (Yes. Darndest.)

It just goes to show that politics has never really been clean and polite in this country. There have always been men with good intentions (and some with simply intentions) and large egos and divergent interests and values.

We think things are crazy now. And they are. But if we knew our history, really knew it, we might realize the miracle of anything ever getting done and that we're still here, despite ourselves.

Tonight is Barack Obama's first State of the Union address. He's had a tough year. He's made some good calls and some bad ones. The NY Times reports that he will tell us so.

You should tune in. A good way to learn about history is to start with the present.


  1. Yea for political history! Sounds like an interesting read. I liked the reminder of our political history. We are a little silly, aren't we.

  2. Yes, true.

    I need to tune into more politics, really. My lack of political depth and patience for it is sad, really. Thanks for the nudge.

  3. Jefferson and his supporters were pretty nasty himself.

  4. Can't wait! I am so enthralled with our country's history. The more I learn, the more grateful I am to be an American, flawed yes, well intentioned yes, blessed by God...without a doubt. Our Constitution is one of the most amazing documents I have ever studied, truly divinely inspired. I am also intrigued by the ever emerging '3rd Party' who are sick of the bickering and are longing to be heard by the group as a whole, instead of pure partisanship (essentially thumbing their noses at both parties). Politics is full of more drama than late night tv. ha. In high school I could have never guessed how interested in politics I would become. Here is to a prosperous, humble Union. :-)

  5. Does seem like it's all been done before. A miracle indeed that the country has worked so well for so many. And hope springs eternal that congress can look beyond their next election to do some bipartisan good. But I have my doubts. I thought Obama did well tonight. Here's a link to an example of the problem. (Yes, both sides do it--and just look the other way for the Trump commercial, and suffer thru Brad growing a a beard. It's pretty hysterical.)

  6. Oops, wrong link! Here's the correct one:

  7. I hope his next year is better for him in terms of support. And yes, hope many did tune in or will read it - I hate hearing from people that they don't want to hear what he has to say because they do not agree with his point of view. That's just ignorant. We should sustain our leaders in all capacities.