“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” – Could McCain pull a William Henry Harrison on us?

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Just something that popped into my head today, after days of watching Senator McCain’s frequent coughing, brain freezes, and other indications of bad health, and then seeing the gruelling schedule he has planned for himself today and tomorrow.  Just something that popped into the head of the Orange Juice’s resident American history buff, and I’m jotting it down quickly off the top of my head between walking Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley precincts, so if I have any details wrong, feel free to correct me.  But it’s a bona fide original observation, just for you-all, never before made in another blog or news source to my knowledge!

During the long dry Presidential spell between Andrew Jackson and Abe Lincoln – specifically 1840, during the death throes of the Whig Party, when they were having trouble deciding what exactly they still stood for, they chose a popular general for their standard bearer – since the success of Jackson it had been common wisdom that popular military heroes had the best chance of becoming President.  But Harrison’s celebrated success kicking Indian butt in the Battle of Tippecanoe had happened thiry years earlier, and he was now a sickly, albeit good-humored old man.  And for his running mate, the Whigs – wanting to avoid the controversy of brilliant orator-statesmen like Daniel Webster or Henry Clay – went with what they thought was a safe pick with relatively unknown John Tyler.

It all turned out badly – good old General Harrison worked so hard speaking and shaking hands all over the young nation, that he contracted pneumonia and died (I hate to tell you, from diarrhea) after only a month in office.  And his successor Tyler proved to be the most frustrating and incompetent President ever, apparently interpreting the sole function of his office to veto any bill Congress would send him, no matter how necessary and painstakingly worked out.  For three years and eleven months, Americans asked themselves: “What were we thinking?”

SO MANY PARALLELS!  Except I think a President Palin would make President Tyler look like FDR.  OK, one last OINK for the road…


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.