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Nixonian incompetence, redux | Letters From Home Nixonian incompetence, redux | Letters From Home

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Nixonian incompetence, redux

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Not one single song-lyrics site has the words to Arlo Guthrie’s “Presidential Rag” correct. They must all be feeding off each other, because they all have the exact same mistakes. And the transcriptions have obviously been done by someone who wasn’t even born at the time. “You said you didn’t know that the cats with the birds were there,” indeed!

In the interest of clarity and a weary observation of history repeating itself:

Presidential Rag

You said you didn’t know
that the cats with the bugs were there,
and you’d never go along with that kind of stuff nowhere.
But that just isn’t the point, man,
that’s the wrong wrong way to go.
If you didn’t know about that one, well then what else don’t you know?

You said that you were lied to,
well, that ain’t hard to see,
but you must have been fooled again by your friends across the sea,
and maybe you were fooled again by your people here at home,
’cause nobody could talk like you,
and know what’s going on.

Nobody elected your family,
and we didn’t elect your friends,
no one voted for your advisors,
and nobody wants amends.
You’re the one we voted for, so you must take the blame,
For handing out authority to men who are insane.

You say it’s all fixed up now, you’ve got new guys on the line,
but you had better remember this while you still got the time:
Mothers still are weeping for their boys that went to war,
And fathers still are asking what the whole damn thing was for,
and people still are hungry, people still are poor,
An honest week of work these days don’t feed the kids no more.
And Schools are still like prisons,
’cause we don’t learn how to live,
and everybody wants to take, nobody wants to give.

Yes you’ll be remembered, be remembered very well,
and if I live a long life, oh the stories I could tell,
Of men, wars and poverty. of sickness and of grief,
Hell yes, you’ll be remembered,
be remembered very well.

You said you didn’t know,
that the cats with the bugs were there,
And you’d never go along with that kind of stuff nowhere.
But that just isn’t the point. man,
That’s the wrong ,wrong way to go,
If you didn’t know about that one,
well then what else don’t you know?

Copyright© 1974 Arlo Guthrie

The song was very popular on the braver radio stations in 1974. I doubt it’d get past the Chain Gang bean counters today. One unusually fearless radio station from Green Bay played that song and back-timed it perfectly… to end right before “Ladies and gentlement, the President of the United States…” as Nixon stepped up to resign. Can you picture any of the Chain Gang stations having the balls to do that today?

(If I were Arlo, I’d have written that fifth verse as “men, wars and poverty, of sickness and of greed/ Hell yes, you’ll be remembered, remembered well indeed.”)

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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