He never cared what anyone else thought. He was the President after all and if you aren’t with him, then you’re against him.
He came from humble beginnings. Raised by a single mother, he was forced to depend on family members for help throughout the first half of his life; even more so after the death of his mother. He was a dissolute youth, getting in trouble frequently and spending more time partying than sober. It wasn’t until he attended law school that he began to leave behind the misbehavior of his youth and start looking for ways to make his mark on the world. By the time he reached the zenith of his career, he would be one of the most powerful men in the world and would find ways to stretch the boundaries of the Presidency like no one had done before him.
This man was President Andrew Jackson.
There are plenty of interesting correlations between our 7th President and our 44th. The two men came from similar domestic circumstances and arrived in Washington after bruising campaigns. Jackson fought scandalous allegations spread by John Quincy Adams’ supporters about the supposedly adulterous timing of his marriage to Rachel Donelson. It was alleged that they had met while Rachel was still married and had lived in sin until Donelson was able to obtain a divorce from her estranged husband. The Adams camp spread similarly damaging rumors about the virtue of Jackson’s widowed (and long-dead) mother. Old Hickory was seen as a reckless frontiersman: uncouth, drunk, and with a temper as quick as his morals were loose.
Obama arrived in Washington after a tumultuous campaign where he inadvertently revealed his redistributive financial agenda to a plumber on-camera, dodged past affiliations with an anti-Semitic, America-hating pastor under whom he sat for 20 years, as well as an anti-Semitic, America-hating academic mentor. Rumors continued to swirl about his ineligibility to serve as President, due to questions regarding his American birthplace. Barack Obama was seen as a radical progressive whose gift for oratory was not enough to compensate for his lack of administrative experience and nefarious political ideology.
Despite the contentious arrival in D.C., both men entered the fray determined to bend the nation to their will. Jackson, hell-bent to defeat the cries for Nullification, secession, and rebellion in South Carolina and preserve the Union. Obama determined to upend the status quo and remake the nation along the lines of his radical, progressive ideology; gutting Constitutional rights while fabricating new ones out of thin air. Obama has become the Emperor, championing the Rule of Ideology over the Rule of Law, gorging on public money which he borrowed on our credit to fill the tank of his utopian machinery. It must be noted that he has done all of this with no resistance from a spineless opposition party. (The Gutless Old Party, indeed…)
It is at this point that the differences begin to make themselves clear. Superficially, and circumstantially, these men appear similar, yet substantially, they couldn’t be further apart. On the subject of finances, Old Hickory made it his mission while in office to repay the Federal Debt, a mission he accomplished in 1835. Under Obama, the Federal Debt has ballooned by more than seven trillion dollars. If this increase was spread across all Americans (as it inevitably will be), each household would each owe $61,000 more than before Obama took office.
Jackson loved his country with a patriotism which was fierce and personal. Obama believes his country is to blame for much of the world’s grievances and has systematically worked to weaken its impact. President Jackson was a rigorous and hearty man, who carried around a bullet in his body for 19 years which he incurred in a duel over his wife’s honor. President Obama wears “mom jeans”, can’t name a single player on his so-called favorite baseball team, and bows in deference to leaders of minor foreign nations. Old Hickory was inordinately loyal to his family and friends, standing by his Secretary of War, John Eaton, up until his Cabinet was on the verge of rebellion. Barack will throw anyone and everyone under the bus if it’s politically-expedient for him to do so. It’s what he did to both his spiritual mentor and the man who hosted his first campaign fundraiser after the attention got too hot on the campaign trail. Heck, he even threw his maternal grandmother under the bus, making her out to be a barely-closeted racist.
Jackson dramatically expanded the power of the Federal government, but he did so by working against special interests on behalf of the people (e.g. his fight against rechartering the Second Bank of America). Obama has dramatically expanded the power of the Federal government by subjugating the freedom and prosperity of the people for the benefit of special interest groups. He chastised the “greedy” healthy insurance companies and then forced through a law which has generated millions of new customers for these companies, which in turn will likely lead to millions of campaign dollars for the Democrats.
Now all of this is not to imply that Jackson was a paragon of virtue. He was not. As much as he championed “the people”, his concept of that population didn’t include the black man or the American Indian, as he strenuously acted to deprive them of their property and freedom throughout his career. As horrible as Obama’s actions have been, I cannot equitably compare the defense of slavery and forced emigration which took place during Jackson’s administration to the discrimination and trickle-down poverty of Obama’s. Yet we have not seen the complete reverberations of Obama’s imperial presidency. It may be that the repercussions of the 44th President’s actions outstrip the horrendous ones taken by the 7th President in the end.
© Luke Hamilton 2014