Many of you may be familiar with the haunting American pop standard, “September Song.” It was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson as a vehicle for the limited vocal range of Walter Huston in the 1938 Broadway production of Knickerbocker Holiday. Though it dealt with the story of Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam in 1647, the show was, by all accounts, a biting satire on the then-current political goings-on, and even had the temerity to equate FDR’s New Deal with Fascism. Anderson, the noted playwright and forerunner of what today would be called a libertarian, had this to say to critics of his play (emphasis mine):
[T]here has been a good deal of critical bewilderment over the political opinions expressed in the play, and not a little resentment at my definitions of government and democracy. I should like to explain that it was not my intention to say anything new or shocking on either subject, but only to remind the audience of the attitude toward government which was current in this country at the time of the revolution of 1776 and throughout the early years of the Republic. At that time it was generally believed, as I believe now, that the gravest and most constant danger to a man’s life, liberty and happiness is the government under which he lives.
An amazing statement, especially when considered in light of the virulent big-government liberalism that chokes nearly all of the entertainment industry today. But I digress. As written for the stage, the song is sung by an older, powerful politician (Stuyvesant) to a sweet young thing he seeks to make his own. He wants her love but knows that she views him as a tired old man with little to offer. He plaintively laments that his days are dwindling down “to a precious few” and promises to spend “these golden days” with her if she’ll only choose him. A future scenario, I think as November approaches America to woo her away from the tired thrall of Democratic “hope and change.”
And so I see the song, a bittersweet yet wistful ditty, again being sung by an older man to a reluctant maid, albeit in this case one who has been around the block yet seeks to make a kind of a virginal comeback nonetheless. An older man, one who is slowly slipping into the twilight of life, who dreamily refers to one colleague as “the hottest member in the Senate” and another as his “pet.”
When I was a young man counting the votes
We played the race-baiting game.
If a group opposed us with sour notes
It wasn’t too hard to get at their goats;
We’d play fast and loose with a couple of quotes;
And as Fall came around they changed their ways,
As Fall came, it found them lame.
Oh, it’s a long, long race from May to November
And the cash grows short when you reach September.
When the Oval Office runs out of folks to blame
You haven’t got time to defame and shame.
Oh, the TARPs dwindle down to a precious few
But these few billions left, we’d spend on you;
These surplus bucks, we’d spend on you!
When we met with the Congress early in the Spring
We put forth the healthcare bill.
We knew that our fortunes in the Fall could swing
If the voters examined all the harm it’d bring,
When they found that it sprouted from our far left wing;
That the people have had their fill of us,
The people have had their fill.
Yes, it’s a long, long slog to that day in November,
And our days grow short when the folks remember.
When the moving finger marks eleventh frame;
One hasn’t got time for the blaming game.
As the states dwindle down to a shrinking blue;
I’ll have some precious days, though they’ll be few;
When all my gaveling days are through.