What Would Past Presidents Think of Current Presidential State Of The Union?
(Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on Jan 29, 2014)
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I want to read something to you from the — I realize I am boring you people to tears today with all these tales of history and whatnot. It’s all that really excites me about this stuff anymore. I could give two flying rat flatulates about what politics are going on inside Mordor on the Potomac. Don’t care; not interested. Nonetheless, I do them for your benefit. Let’s talk about Mordor before it was Mordor, Thomas Jefferson, December 2, 1806. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I want to read something to you from the — I realize I am boring you people to tears today with all these tales of history and whatnot. It’s all that really excites me about this stuff anymore. I could give two flying rat flatulates about what politics are going on inside Mordor on the Potomac. Don’t care; not interested. Nonetheless, I do them for your benefit. Let’s talk about Mordor before it was Mordor, Thomas Jefferson, December 2, 1806. Here’s a real state of the union address, written in his hand. You can find this in the library at the
University of Virginia, but it has been transcribed and digitized. By the way, we do have phones here, last I checked. I even have a website with this stuff on it, MikeChurch.com.
In a country whose constitution is derived from the will of the people, directly expressed by their free suffrages; where the principal executive functionaries and those of the legislature are renewed by them at short periods; where under the character of jurors they exercise in person the greatest portion of the judiciary powers [Mike: Not anymore, TJ.]; where the laws are consequently so formed and administered as to bear with equal weight and favor on all, restraining no man in the pursuits of honest industry and securing to everyone the property which that acquires, it would not be supposed that any safe-guards could be needed against insurrection or enterprise on the public peace or authority. The laws, however, aware that these should not be trusted to moral restraints only, have wisely provided punishment for these crimes when committed. But would it not be salutary to give also the means of preventing their commission? Where an enterprise is meditated by private individuals against a foreign nation in amity with the United States, powers of prevention to a certain extent are given by the laws. Would they not be as reasonable and useful where the enterprise preparing is against the United States? While adverting to this branch of law it is proper to observe that in enterprises meditated against foreign nations the ordinary process of binding to the observance of the peace and good behavior, could it be extended to acts to be done out of the jurisdiction of the United States, would be effectual in some cases where the offender is able to keep out of sight every indication of his purpose which could draw on him the exercise of the powers now given by law.
[Mike: The reason I picked this one is because it has to do with the Middle East.] The States on the coast of Barbary seem . . .
Mike: [mocking] “Mike, it’s not the Middle East. It’s the northern part of Africa.” Just go with it, correctee, go with it.
The States on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship; with Tunis alone some uncertainty remains. Persuaded that it is our interest to maintain our peace with them on equal terms or not at all, I propose to send in due time a reenforcement into the Mediterranean unless previous information shall show it to be necessary.
We continue to receive proofs of the growing attachment of our Indian neighbors and of their dispositions to place all their interests under the patronage of the United States. These dispositions are inspired by their confidence . . .
Mike: By the way, when he says “I propose to send” reinforcements into the Mediterranean, that doesn’t mean he’s acting as Commander in Chief and he’s ordering them there. He’s saying to Congress, because this is a State of the Union, it’s addressed to members of the House and Senate: I need your authorization to send reinforcements to Tunis. I want you to understand what TJ just said. While he’s saying: I think there’s a problem on the Barbary Coast. I propose to send reinforcements there. He’s not saying: I just sent the 101st Airborne (or whatever they would have called it then) to Tunis. He’s telling the Congress: I desire your orders, your appropriation, your act to authorize those troops to be sent and to communicate it to me. Then I’ll act as CIC and I’ll send them. People that have this fantasy about how Jefferson just willy-nilly ordered about the entire army of North America to go fight the Barbary pirates and that’s an excuse for our presidents to do it are el wrongo and el dumbo. Proof right here, State of the Union, 1806. There’s another paragraph I want to share because I find it fascinating.
The expedition of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke for exploring the river Missouri and the best communication from that to the Pacific Ocean has had all the success which could have been expected. They have traced the Missouri nearly to its source, descended the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, ascertained with accuracy the geography of that interesting communication across our continent, learnt the character of the country, of its commerce and inhabitants; and it is but justice to say that Messrs. Lewis and Clarke and their brave companions have by this arduous service deserved well of their country.
The attempt to explore the Red River, under the direction of Mr. Freeman, though conducted with a zeal and prudence meriting entire approbation, has not been equally successful. After proceeding up it about 600 miles, nearly as far as the French settlements had extended while the country was in their possession, our geographers were obliged to return without completing their work.
Very useful additions have also been made to our knowledge of the Mississippi by Lieutenant Pike
[Mike: By the way, no, he did not star in the pilot episode of Star Trek, this particular Pike.], who has ascended it to its source, and whose journal and map, giving the details of his journey, will shortly be ready for communication to both Houses of Congress. Those of Messrs. Lewis, Clarke, and Freeman will require further time to be digested and prepared. These important surveys, in addition to those before possessed, furnish materials for commencing an accurate map of the Mississippi and its western waters. Some principal rivers, however, remain still to be explored, toward which the authorization of Congress by moderate appropriations will be requisite.
Mike: Again, he’s not saying: I can order these guys to go do this because I’m El Jefe Thomas Jefferson. He’s saying: You guys in Congress are going to have to appropriate this and you’re going to have to do it using an enumerated power. Wow!
End Mike Church Show Transcript