Kenneth (kensmind) wrote in potus_geeks,
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Presidents in Parody: We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover probably received an unfair share of criticism for the Great Depression. Economists disagree on what caused the great economic catastrophe, but it seems unlikely that it was the work of just one man. But after the October stock market crash in 1929, many people blamed Hoover for not fixing the economy pronto. Many people at the time and after blamed Hoover for taking a hands-off approach to the Depression, but some historians argue that Hoover actually tried some things, over the objection of his Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, who was the real advocate of the "leave-it-alone" approach. Hoover called many business leaders to Washington to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages. He began a number of public works programs, and increased the Federal Buildings program to spur public works construction. In July 1930 he approved the expenditure of a giant $915 million public works program, which included construction of what would become known as the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

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But despite these and many other programs Hoover pushed for to combat the depression, Hoover's name became synonymous with hard economic times, and an entire Hoover lexicon developed to mock the unfortunate president. Here are some examples of depression era terms that attached themselves to Hoover's name:

Hooverville: a collection of shacks or shanties in which the poor sought shelter
Hoover Wagon, Hoover Buggy or Hoover Cart: an automobile which had its engine removed and was pulled by horses
Hoover Blanket: a newspaper covering a sleeping person
Hoover Flag: a person's empty pockets pulled out
Hoover Leather: cardboard used to line a shoe when the soles wore through

Hoover was also remembered in the Broadway musical "Annie" (even though the production didn't open until 1976, after Hoover's death) in a song in the first act called "We'd Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover". The play is set in 1933, when eleven-year-old Annie is in the Municipal Girls Orphanage. Annie runs away from the orphanage and meets a friendly stray dog that she saves from a dog catcher. She later finds a collection of homeless people living in a shanty town (or a "Hooverville"), and in that scene, the people sing their song to Hoover. The lyrics go as follows:

[ALL]
Today we're living in a shanty
Today we're scrounding for a meal

[SOPHIE]
Today I'm stealing coal for fires
Who knew i could steal?

[MEN]
I used to winter in the tropics

[WOMEN]
I spent my summers at the shore

[FRED]
I used to throw away the paper--
Not any more.

[ALL]
We'd like to thank you: Herber Hoover
For really showing us the way
We'd like to thank you: Herbert Hoover
You made us what we are today

Prosperity was 'round the corner
The cozy cottage built for two
In this blue heaven
That you
Gave us
Yes!
We're turning blue!

They offered us Al Smith and Hoover
We paid attention and we chose
Not only did we pay attention
We paid through the nose.

In ev'ry pot he said "a chicken"
But Herbert Hoover he forgot
Not only don't we have the chicken
We ain't got the pot!
Hey Herbie

[WOMEN]
You left behind a greatful nation

[ALL]
So, Herb, our hats are off to you
We're up to here with admiration

[SOPHIE]
Come down and have a little stew

[ALL]
Come down and share some Christmas dinner
Be sure to bring the missus too
We got no turkey for our stuffing
Why don't we stuff you?
We'd like to thank you, Herbert Hoover
For really showing us the way
You dirty rat, you Bureaucrat, you
Made us what we are today
Come and get it, Herb!


Here is a YouTube video of the song being performed by the Bakersfield Music Theatre:

Tags: herbert hoover
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