What do you bring people who are sick and tired of hearing about politics? Why more politics! Suck it up people, everything is politics. And on this night when we are all setting around the TV and computer waiting to hear the results so we can either gloat to our misguided friends and family or go into hiding for three days (kind of like SEC football), we should all sit back and take things easy. I mean you think OUR time period has dirty campaigning and political ads? Well you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve run for office in 19th century Tennessee. That was a time of politicking.
Which got me to thinking…wasn’t Andrew Jackson promised another guest blogging shot? I think he was and I for one am not one to go around angering Old Hickory. The big cable news channels and regular networks will bring you the pontificating of various strategists, reporters, and commentators, but no one else will bring you the inside look at the political trail from the perspective of our seventh president.
So without further ado I hand over the blogging duties to our good friend President Andrew Jackson…
– Southern Blogger
Thank you Southern Blogger,
It’s good to be back. Not many 19th century former presidents have done took to the inter nets but I’ve been a proponent of blogging for some time now. See folks like ol’ John Quincy Adams like to talk about how smart they are and such just cause their daddies get on HBO and they make a guest appearance on a Spielberg picture show, but that’s a load of week old turnip greens. It ain’t right and it just smells funny.
Well I’m back now by popular acclaim. I always was the man of the people, and I was so popular the last time I done blogged, the people spoke and here I am on this here world wide web. I’ve been following the campaign for president y’all got going on and I am very unimpressed with these here candidates. I mean do either of ’em know how shoot a pea off of a skunks behind at twenty paces? Any of ’em ever take a state from a f’urin power just with an ornery look, a rusty cannon, and a loaded Colt? Any of ’em ever saved New Orleans? I figure they could lose it. Can they even run a non sissy britches, raw hide, whiskey bent hell fire and damnation of a political campaign? I thought not.
Well, here we are then. I’m here to tell all you future candidates for high office, whether president of these States United or Knox County log cabin inspector of them intricacies and aggravations of a political candidacy. If you take to heart my easy to follow advice, you too will soon be closing down no good stock jobbing banks and runnin’ them redcoats out of our continent.
STEP ONE: GENERATE TURNOUT
Now friends, this one should be easy. If you can’t get people to come out and vote for you, then well you ain’t gonna win no office. A horse can’t be no thoroughbred if them other horses say it’s a mule. And that’s that.
But the question then is, well then how do you get people to come out and vote for you? Well, this is where people in your time just have it plum wrong. And I mean as wrong as Henry Clay singing during a sponge bath. That kind of wrong. I’ve been to your polling places. I’m even registered as a Jacksonian Democrat. But I got to tell you, you get nothing for going to the polls these days. Well a little sticker patch that says you done voted. That and some dern fools trying to hand you ballots already filled in with the people you ain’t even gonna vote fer.
In my day we had a sure fire way to get out the voters. Libations. I mean brandy, wine, port, whiskey, punch, ale, and even lager beer fer them German immigrants. Electoring was a party and if you didn’t have the right stuff on hand, you didn’t win. I’m telling you even the Father of this here country George Washington lost his first election because he didn’t bring him some hooch. America was founded on liquor, smuggling it, not paying taxes on it, and writing Constitutions on it. You can look it up…well not in them sissy britch textbooks you can’t.
STEP TWO: GET THE UNDECIDED VOTERS
Now this here is considered great political wisdom today. If you hadn’t noticed some pretty poor canards passes for wisdom these days when it comes to politics. Of course you want to get them undecideds. Everybody knows your kin, your kin’s kin, your kin in laws, and your friends that are such friends they is nearly kin are gonna vote for you. And of course you know that them other feller’s no good kin, and varmit friends is gonna vote for his side. So you need to get them other people. The problem was (and is) in Tennessee that that leaves only about twenty or thirty people left to go out and get.
They is the worst people let me tell you. Them people that can’t make up their minds. Do they want gravy or molasses on their biscuits? These are them folks that wants both. But you can’t have both. That would be bipartisan and that’s disgusting. It’s like I always said “that might be something a hog would eat, but I ain’t got to swaller it”.
So I had a tried and true method to get them extra votes. I used my old hickory cane. Now any proper gentleman’s got to have him a cane. I noticed these here Senate folks today ain’t got no time fer it. Well then, I’d just love to be in the Senate today, because I’d have one and then I could do some persuading.
If you are denser than John C. Calhoun after his hanging and don’t catch my meaning I feel sorry fer you. It’s pretty durn simple. Use your persuasion stick to help jump start their noggins. Either they see the error of their ways or they won’t find themselves to the polls. Either way, you got yourself the undecided vote.
STEP THREE: DEAL WITH NEGATIVE ADS
Now this here one really gets my goat. Them simple no good sons of a guns that run then no account attack hand bills in the newspapers and then hide behind their campaigns, or better yet trees (when the time comes to make amends). This of course is a word y’all all know and understand…. poltroonery. I done hate poltroons. I hate poltroons like nothing else in the world. Them feckless, hyena breathing, tea sippin’, bullet duckin’, treaty makin’, Harvard goin’, willy whistlin’, Brit bungling’, stock jobbin’, bank bringin’ cowardly fools.
Now I’ve dealt with my share of attack ads. I remember this here one from one of my first presidential bids. Cost me the election. A cabal of poltroonish partners named Clay and Adams got together and found some scribes to print up this little ditty. You see it? They done printed a picture of me whoopin’ on some rascal (that deserved it) as if it were some kind of crime, and then had the gall to put a bunch of coffins on top of the page of all them men I supposedly assassinated.
Can you believe that? The whole thing were a bunch of damn lies! Everybody knows I killed more than six. You see my point? If the good people of Tennessee thought I only won six duels in my lifetime I’d have never gotten past county attorney. Six! That is an insult!
But here’s the point. Learn you some code duello and find you a trusty second and you will soon put an end to them political attacks. Shoot, you’d even have them “print-troons” working for you they’d be so scared. That’s called rising above the fray.
STEP FOUR: STICK TO YOUR MESSAGE
The real reason people done hate politicians is because too many of them make a bunch of promises and then get to Washington and get all cozy with them good fer nothing lobster mongering Federalists. They done ferget about Kentucky and their Western roots and settle in with the Adams crowd. They think because they get to be big ole senators that they don’t have to bring home the bacon (literally…in my time you actually had to bring home several pounds of bacon to your district). I’m talking about you Henry Clay! You name the time and place. We can have us an “interview”!
But back to my point….Henry Clay is the Bonaparte of Poltroonery. His ambition hath no bounds but he will run hiself up the wrong tree. Me…well I always stuck to my message. It was pretty simple….death to poltroons, an end to all banks, a big middle finger to them redcoats, and whiskey and cheese for all Americans.
You can call me corny, you can call me old fashioned…and you can call me a two term president!
STEP FIVE: BE GRACIOUS NO MATTER WHAT
Now friends, sometimes it can be easy to win an election and gloat over the misfortune of your opponent. But that wouldn’t be gracious now would it? The Good Book says we are supposed to get along with our enemies and turn our cheeks and all that. And who am I to disagree? I was always gracious to my defeated opponents. I even paid for a few of their funerals.
This of course applies only to worthy foes. It don’t apply to poltroons that make up nefarious stories about your wife or who undercount your dueling prowess or who are named Clay. For those people there ain’t no cheek turning. For those people win or lose it’s best for them to get out of town.
Did you ever hear what John Quincy Adams said at my inauguration? Of course you didn’t because that rascal didn’t stick around long enough to hear it. Although he missed out on some grade A cheese block, he was pretty smart in the end I guess. He figured I was none too happy about the fact that his campaign put my poor Rachel in her grave. And I suppose he had enough brains to know he wanted to keep his brains. All I’m saying is he knew enough math to figure out the quickest coach from Washington city to New England.
And I was gracious enough to let him have a head start. Sometimes I think I’m getting too soft in old age.
Your Humble Obedient Servant,
– A. Jackson
From time to time on The South Will Blog Again we will be featuring guest bloggers who are experts on certain topics. This week I’m honored to welcome Andrew Jackson the 7th president of the United States. “Old Hickory” will be discussing “How to Defend your Honor”, something every Southerner should know how and be prepared at a moment’s notice to do. President Jackson is no stranger to “honor defending” as he has survived over 17 duels, 27 feuds, 74 brawls, and 478 “cuss fights” (and has even survived to live over 250 years). So without further ado….
– Southern Blogger
Now…notice I didn’t say “S.O.B.”…I said “S.B.” for “Southern Blogger”. If I had said “S.O.B.” well…we would’ve had us a problem…a problem with honor violatin’. Now even though it would have made for a great demonstration, I happen to like Southern Blogger and there’s no need to needlessly get into a feud (even though I would win). I rather liked that Choosin’ Barbecue piece and would like to see him continue writing.
Now I’m rather new to this whole bloggin’ sphere so you’re gonna have to forgive me…I’ve only gotten into the whole social media thing about three years ago (Thanks to Henry Clay) so this is new for me. I love the chance to talk about my favorite thing in the world…puttin’ down fee simple, knock-kneed, scalawaggin’, mugwumpin’, poltroons. In other words, defending my honor. Even though I’m an expert in this field, with a little practice, and my advice, you too can cane any dune bug, and win you a duel any time.
(Disclaimer: Since dueling is officially illegal in 49 states, Southern Blogger does not recommend you take all of President Jackson’s subsequent advice literally.)
So, if you follow my steps, you too will know how to defend you honor.
STEP ONE: ISSUING THE FIRST CHALLENGE
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Poltroons like to run their mouths. They do so because they think they can get away with it. Now I’m an avid follower of politics, and I have to say that in your time “poltroonery” may be at an all-time high. Now you might say “well, Andy we don’t have honor defenders in our day like yourself”. Hogwash!!!!
One of my favorite challenges of all-time occurred in your generation. During the 2004 presidential election, a TV poltroon, Chris Matthews, was flapping his jaws and being rather belligerent about “answering questions”. Well now, nothing would make me madder than a cornered possum on whiskey than a rascal asking me to answer the question but then not letting me answer it.
Well the target in question, a U.S. Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller (a true Jacksonian Democrat if I saw one) wasn’t about to let Chris’ gums keep on flapping without a proper response. He told this poltroonish pundit that he “wish we lived in the days when you could challenge a person to a duel”. Now due to legal interference, he couldn’t SAY he wanted to duel, just imply it. But the message was sent, and the loud pundit responded with a nervous chuckle. That my friends, is a back down. And let me add that Sen. Miller pronounced “duel” properly, as in rhymes with “jewel”. Anyone who pronounces the word like that definitely has been in one.
But what if a poltroon won’t shut his mouth…what then?
STEP TWO: DETERMINE THE PROPER RETALIATION
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Now friends, not every foe is worthy of a duel. Sometimes certain opponents are so fiendish they deserve a good whoopin’. Take the case in point of one Charles Sumner.
Now Sumner, he was a smart man, a little too smart for his own good. He was a Harvard man, a true Brahmin, and quite the wordsmith when he laid into his opponents. Except this one time he chose the wrong opponent. Long story short, in 1856, Sen. Sumner was attacking the State of South Carolina and its Senator, his former friend, Andrew Butler. He referred to South Carolina as a “harlot” and attacked Butler when the man wasn’t present.
Those were fighting words.
Calling the state of South Carolina a whore in any age is a bad idea. And laying into someone, when they can’t defend themselves is poltroonery of the highest order.
Well, in the House of Representatives Butler had a cousin (South Carolinians always have cousins readily available) named Preston Brooks. He carefully analyzed the situation (in the 32 seconds he went from red hot to white hot anger) and decided Sumner wasn’t worthy of the “field of honor”. He took his walking stick, walked over to the Senate chamber, and broke his cane on Senator Sumner’s forehead…repeatedly.
Problem solved. But what if the opponent is of a higher caliber? (get it?)
STEP THREE: ISSUING THE FORMAL CHALLENGE
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Just because your blood is boiling and your honor is at stake doesn’t mean you can forget your manners. In fact, when issuing a formal challenge it is of the upmost importance to remember your raisin’. After all, honor is at stake.
Personally, I like to keep my challenge letters pretty simple and direct…firm BUT polite. Always address the challenged party by their proper name and title, NOT what you really think of them (there’ll be time for that). Remember anyone being issued a formal challenge is at least worthy enough of the field of honor, so you should address them properly.
At the same time, you ain’t writing a love letter so keep it simple and to the point. If you haven’t issued a formal challenge before I can help you. I have written hundreds of them and have one here for you to look at. I can’t remember who it was to, there’s been so many.
Good luck with all that fuss…I’ve always found the shooting much easier than the writing part anyhow….which brings us to…
STEP FOUR: THE FIELD OF HONOR
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If you’ve reached this point, congratulations, you have truly found a worthy foe (usually). Since dueling etiquette is as intricate as wedding etiquette it’s important to follow good advice. First, you need to properly follow the “Code Duello”. I keep a copy of Emily Post’s “Guide to Dueling”, third edition, with me.
Following the proper Code means you must have a second. Your second is like your best man at a duel. He should be a friend, but a friend that knows what he’s doing. Seconds arrange the details like the time, place, form of combat, and other sundry rules.
Once you’ve reached the field of honor the rest is up to the participants. An apology might be issued by the offending party. In that case you should accept. Anyone who shows up to the field of honor in the first place may be a poltroon, but not a cowardly one. You may also decide to waste your shots or some other arrangement whereby honor is kept, but you both walk away (I found those very disappointing).
In the end, you may find that the best course of action is to duel it out. Good luck! Stand your ground and keep a steady eye!
Like this picture here. Now one look at this “bear” and I’d have personally gone the cane route. But Colonel Reb (a close friend of mine) had too much honor for that. Despite the grave insult this Bear did him (a couple of Poltroons replaced the Colonel as the Ole Miss mascot with this rascal) , the Colonel gave him the ultimate honor of meeting in the field. Either that or he knew that was the only way to get rid of the mugwump.
Best wishes dear readers, and thanks again S.B. for the opportunity.
– Andrew Jackson
Thanks President Jackson! That was great, if not somewhat illegal, advice. I hope y’all now understand the importance of honor and how to maintain it. Next week we have another guest blogger from history, as General Robert E. Lee will teach us HOW TO WIN A CIVIL WAR BATTLE.
Until next time y’all,