Dawn Of Chickenhawkery

Alas, the cock has now crowed much more than thrice. But when did its awful racket first disturb the barnyard, inciting so many jackasses to bray and warpigs to snort?

I’ve been reading an older biography of the Eighth President, Martin Van Buren: a Democrat, it’s true, but the original Master Triangulator of American politics; a Jacksonian, a creep, a man utterly without principle — in short, he had a wingnut’s spirit. I thought the following paragraph was funny:

..[M]ost important of his measures [as an immensely powerful State Senator] at Albany was one promoting the aggressive conduct of the War. For this he was hailed as the noblest of patriots, and doubtless he was so long as patriotism could be practiced at a safe distance from the smoke of the battle. He doted on calling the affair of 1812 the “Second War of Independence” and one of his published speeches “the Second Declaration of Independence.” But though he devoutly served the cause by drafting a bill for compulsory enlistment, he himself never smelt gunpowder. When the state he so professed to love was invaded, nearly everyone of consequence rushed to join the colors. There still existed at that time the now-obsolete theory of noblesse oblige, that men who rule a country are the ones to protect her in an emergency, but the Red Fox was a man too much ahead of his time to be influenced by any such trumpery. His own brother donned a uniform, the Governor, the Mayor, the Adjutant General, the Patroon, flocks of Senators and Assemblymen, three future Presidents and a dozen future candidates — family men all — but not Martin, though he dutifully spent his sessions cheering on the combatants and his recesses scouring the landscape for new recruits. Mr. Monroe, Secretary of War, so mistook the Kinderhooker’s zeal as to offer him an Army commission, but Martin […] preferred to express himself only in words. Not the least of his examples to posterity was this salutary mode of enacting patriotism. After his day there would never be an American War which was fought by the same men who encouraged it.

To his credit, though, Martin Van Buren was an excellent blogger.


Comments: 22


I didn’t know it was already Thursday.


Wow, guys had really creepy hairdos in the olden days.


Look, Retardo, if that’s still your name. What he was, see, he was SMART!! Combat sucks ass, dude. You get bitten by all sorts of bugs, leeches and spiders, and even worse. You don’t get to wash, you get rashes and crotch rot. You have to shit outdoors, and if you’re not lucky you could drop one on a mine. People shoot at you, throw grenades at you, launch rockets and mortars – damn, those things can fuck up your day. Then there’s the smells. Jeez, don’t even get me started on the smells. Policing up dead people in the summer. Holding some kid’s hand and telling him it’s gonna be ok while not letting him see how gross it is that his guts are all out and laying in the dirt. It’s hard-ass work, you hump all day, you get diarrhea, you carry a bunch of heavy shit like belts of 7.62 and mortar or 40mm rounds. It’s boring and unpleasant until somebody decides to try to kill you, then it’s scary and unpleasant. Nah, my recomendation? Stay home and root on the dopes that are willing to go…



I thought the neo-cons had already claimed “Little Matty Van” as their patron saint? You have to admit, a professional grifter & dedicated sybarite like MVB who managed to convince a half-bright, semi-literate sociopath with rage issues & a poor taste in female companionship that he was Jackson’s only true friend and wisest counselor — that’s a role model that people like Perle and Wolfowitz have to respect, if not worship outright.


Note that the picture on the linked blog is of John C. Calhoun, a different type of heartless bastard than Van Buren entirely.

Van Buren was a doughier type — more like the pathetic Scrooge trying to project a hard shell rather than Calhoun’s demon barber of Fleet Street.



Holy Buddha, Retardo: You are in fact the only Communist with whom I’d have sex.

It’s hilarious that van Buren is a more manly president than Bush…


Sorry, that Wikipedia entry started me laffin’ fit to split. His mother was Maria Goes Hoes!? It doesn’t matter how you pronounce it, *that’s* funny.


that’s quite a progression we’ve had in the presidency, from “old kinderhook” to the current occupant, “old shithook”.


I’ve been reading an older biography of the Eighth President, Martin Van Buren. . . .

I’ve only been reading about you reading the biography and I’m exhausted.


Alas, the cock has now crowed much more than thrice.

Forget about Godlstein, Retardo. Live in the now!!!


Little Matty figures in Mr. Vidal’s “Burr”- an interesting, if brief, portrait with Aaron Burr claiming to be Van Buren’s real father.


What, no Seinfeldian references to the Van Buren Boys? I want my scholarship back so I can be a city planner!


The last sentence in the “biography” section of that wikipedia article on Van Buren reads “I don’t like AP History class.”


Van Buren may have been president, but he will forever be remembered for founding Frito-Lay.


Retardo, what you and all the chickenhawk-baiters don’t get is that these patriots are continuing Van Buren’s tradition of using a mightier pen instead of a heavier and much sharper sword. In fact, right-wing bloggers are way ahead of the curve here, for they are fighting the way all future wars will be fought, on the Blogosphere, blog by blog, comment by comment. They are not only patriots, they are visionaries!


Martin Van Buren? Isn’t he the ruler of Latveria?

Do more HAWK AND THE DOVE covers.


He was only a democrat because Republicans hadn’t been invented yet.


Doc, all the Hawk and Dove covers were the same.



Nah. Some of them were by Gil Kane. I grant you, the basic PREMISE was always the same — “Hawk is suffering from the inevitable consequences of his irrational, uncontrollably violent fits of rage! I should help him, but I might get hurt! Oooooh what shall I do?” But the actual trappings varied from issue to issue.


[…] generically corrupt politicos (Colfax), energetic bullshit artists (TR), morally abject fucktards (Van Buren), and irrascible old farts (G. Clinton) among many other forgettable losers as Vice-Presidents of […]


How dow you defame MVB, so?! Jefferson and Adams weren’t exactly shooting redcoats in 1776, either. And, nice of you to recognize that he was a “Democrat, true.” As if there would even BE a Democratic Party without Van Buren. And in your other post you call him “morally abject.” This was a man poised to make a comeback in 1844 when he denounced talk of annexing Texas, which was free territory under Mexican control but became a slave state upon annexation. He eventually abandoned the very party he had so carefully constructed to run as a Free Soiler in 1848 and single-handedly gave the election to a Whig.

And Monroe offering Van Buren a military commission is a canard. This isn’t exactly William Jennings Bryan resigned from the State Department and offering to serve as a private whenever Wilson needed him on the front. Military commissions were given to any public servant who wanted one, without regard to his talents or skills. This holdover from British tradition was hardly good for the American military, where real generals (like Andrew Jackson) were feared.


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