The Presidents of the United States of America (Volume 3)

by Electric Needle Room

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about

By day, Matt Beat is a middle school social studies teacher. By night, the multi-instrumentalist writes and records songs about dead Presidents. Actual dead Presidents. Not the rap duo. He recorded them chronologically, and this is the final volume, from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush. Didn’t know anything about Gerald Ford? Now you do. These songs are educational and catchy.

credits

released February 18, 2013

All music and lyrics by Matt Beat. All recorded performances by Matt Beat. Produced by Matt Beat. Artwork by Matt Beat. For goodness sake, if it's on the album, he did it.

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Electric Needle Room Lawrence, Kansas

Electric Needle Room are an indie pop band based in Lawrence, Kansas. It is mostly a solo project for Matt Beat, but his brother, Steven Beat, also helps with percussion. Emcee DL, Bryan Poole, Dave Thomas, and Chris Huggard have all helped the band with live performances throughout its history. ... more

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Track Name: Franklin Roosevelt
From the rich important family
Roosevelt was his famous last name
Theodore was his fifth cousin
His wife Eleanor was sixth cousin

FDR was idealistic, far from simplistic, opportunistic, highly ambitious
Had lofty goals and lots of compassion
Knew what he wanted, always demanded
Only one who served more than 2
The Great Depression, World War 2

A beacon of hope during dark times
Comforted the nation with his voice
He firmly believed that the only
Thing we have to fear is fear itself

He thought he came to the rescue
with his New Deal he would push through
Self serving in the beginning
Later, passion for the underdog

In his first 100 days would
Start a socialist experiment
His way out of the Depression-
expand government and subsidize

Helped create the AAA, CCC, TVA, NRA, PWA, CWA, SEC, REA, FHA, FSA, FDIC, NLRB

Welfare state to help poor people
Helped pass social security

A beacon of hope during dark times
Comforted the nation with his voice
He firmly believed that the only
Thing we have to fear is fear itself
and he kind of was right

World War 2 all over Europe
U.S. stayed true to neutrality
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor
A day that still lives in infamy

Despite attempting to pack the Supreme Court
Despite the fact he suffered from paralysis
Despite the fact he forced Japanese Americans into internment camps after the hysteria
He considered one of the very best
Influenced generations well after his death
Only President who served more than two terms
Elected 4 times the people dependent on him

Thrust into the deadliest war
Saved Europe and the Pacific
He met with Churchill and Stalin
He hoped they could finally have world peace

A beacon of hope during dark times
Comforted the nation with his voice
He firmly believed that the only
Thing we have to fear is fear itself

Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) (Frankie D)
Track Name: Harry Truman
He was born and raised in the Show Me State
Wore thick glasses and spent much time reading
Snuck into the army memorizing an eye chart
Captain in World War 1 of the Dizzy Ds

He was a farmer, never went to college
Lifelong Democrat, failed businessman
No one heard of him before he was 50
He played piano well

Man from Independence
Down to earth, and average
Determined, never gave up
Always unassuming

Jackson County judge thanks to Mike Pendergast
Loved people, and boy, they sure loved him back
Crisscrossed Missouri to become Senator
Helped end mismanagement in the defense industry

Then what happened came as a great shock
Asked to be Roosevelt's Vice President

His worst fear came true when Roosevelt died
He now was in charge to end World War 2
Made the tough choice to drop the atom bomb
Bringing World War 2 to a deadly close

Fought for the United Nations
All about the Marshall Plan
Containment of Communism
That was the Truman Doctrine
Soon Korea needed help
Truman then sent troops to them
But here we go again less than five years later back at war, back at war
The Cold War has begun
Time to police the world
The Cold War has begun

Harry Truman, man from Independence
Harry Truman, down to earth, and average
Harry Truman, determined, never gave up
Harry Truman, always unassuming

Fired MacArthur, yeah the buck stops here
Foreign policy defined his presidency
His Fair Deal called for progressive ideals
Underdog when he defeated Thomas Dewey
Track Name: Dwight Eisenhower
Here's the story of Dwight D. Eisenhower

President from '53 to '61
A time when the economy blossomed
Military man for most of his life
Skilled leader and strategist and athlete
Born in Texas, raised in Abilene, Kansas
But moved around a lot as an adult
Bored with coaching and behind the scenes
Wanted to be where the action was at
Eventually promoted to major general
It was World War 2 where he got his chance

They all said "I Like Ike!"

War hero after leading the D-Day invasion
The five-star general who brought down Germany
Came back home, Americans now wanted him President
But he didn't want anything to do with that
Changed his mind in '52 and won as Republican
Growing weary of war, brought the troops home from Korea
But never stopped his fight of Communism
And led NATO for a little bit
So concerned about the domino theory
But still kept the country out of war

And most said "I Like Ike!"

Cold War Hysteria
Covert Operations
The CIA started overthrowing governments
Arms Race
Space Race
Militarism
The military industrial complex begins

The appointment of Chief Justice Warren was big
Brown v Board of Education caused a stir
And the Interstate Highway System was started
Had a heart attack, didn't know if he'd run again
He took the Suez Canal Crisis in stride
Kept the country safe, rewarded with re-election
Sent troops to keep order in Little Rock
Helped start NASA, sent a rocket to space
Began to think the military was too big
Liked diplomacy, but hard to plead his case

And some said "I Like Ike!"

They all said "I Like Ike!"

And most said "I Like Ike!"
Track Name: John Kennedy
Privileged kid from Massachusetts
Roman Catholic, Irish ancestry
Loved football, history, and reading
Growing up well-traveled and well-rounded

He could talk to anyone
and he could solve most problems
Legacy overshadowed by his death
Most say hero, most say one of the best
They called him John F. Kennedy

Saved lives as commander in World War 2
Published author, Pulitzer Prize winner
His dad pressured him into politics
And boom! Young Congressman and later Senator

He had charisma and charm
He always seemed to say the just right things
He had passion and youthful energy
He gave Americans hope to chase dreams
Some called him Jack Kennedy

His presidency started out shaky
With the failed invasion of Bay of Pigs
Began sending troops to Vietnam
Just before he died he wanted them back home

He could talk to anyone
and he could solve most problems
Legacy overshadowed by his death
Most say hero, most say one of the best
They called him John F. Kennedy

When the country panicked
with the Cuban Missle Crisis
He was calm and collected
And he won with diplomacy

Of course he was far from perfect
Had affairs with various women
Today most believe a conspiracy
Was behind his assassination

He had charisma and charm
He always seemed to say the just right things
He had passion and youthful energy
He gave Americans hope to chase dreams
Some called him Jack Kennedy
They called him John F. Kennedy
Track Name: Lyndon Johnson
Helping the poor was his main goal
Helping the helpless was his main fight
But the Vietnam War got in the way of his domestic agenda
The Vietnam War escalated and he did not try to stop it

Lyndon B. Johnson

Progressive Texas thinker, started out as a teacher
After that, most of his life- career politician
Left Congress to help out with World War 2
Senate Majority Leader, Minority Leader, too
Wife Lady Bird invested, helped him earn millions
Known to be domineering to advance legislation

Helping the poor was his main goal
Helping the helpless was his main fight
But the Vietnam War got in the way of his domestic agenda
The Vietnam War escalated and he did not try to stop it

As President sent more and more troops to Vietnam
Underestimated the strength of the Viet Cong
A strong anti-war movement grew out of this
But with growing numbers against him, LBJ persisted
Back at home tried to build a Great Society
Medicare, Medicaid, a full out war on poverty
Expanded the space program, the U.S. went to the moon!
But with riots in the streets back home, the country seemed doomed
In '68 LBJ said he'd not run again
Between Vietnam and inflation his time was limited

They said "Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

Lyndon B. Johnson
They said "Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"
Track Name: Richard Nixon
From California
A brilliant man who
Never got close to
About anybody
Richard Nixon
We won't forget
But perhaps for
The wrong reasons
Became well known when
Called out Communists
But he was not like
crazy McCarthy
Vice President
With Eisenhower
Couldn't beat JFK
In a close one

First and only to resign
Said he wasn't a crook, but there were three crimes
Got out of Vietnam, but it took him awhile

Came back again and
This time he won
Went straight to work before
His term started
Went to China
And opened trade
Eased tensions with
The Soviets
Conservative who
Expanded government
The EPA and
The War on Drugs
No gold standard
Just price controls
Helping Israel
Caused an embargo

Reaction to the Pentagon Papers
and mischief at the Watergate
Then trying to cover it up
That would determine his fate

First and only to resign
Said he wasn't a crook, but there were three crimes
Got out of Vietnam, but it took him awhile

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Accomplished much
That's forgotten
Track Name: Gerald Ford
Played football at Michigan
Turned down the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers
Instead went to Yale to study law and coach
Even spent a summer working Yellowstone
Served in the Navy in World War 2
Held on to bachelorhood
Next he was Congressmen
After wedding Betty

He was Gerald Ford
Classic moderate
Did not shake things up too much
He was Gerald Ford
Tried to heal the wounds
That his predecessor caused
Studied the death of JFK
But did he get it right?
Survived two assassination tries
Gerald Ford

Struggled with public speaking
Pardoned Nixon soon after sworn in
Dealt with oil shortages and inflation
Worried greatly about the deficit

He was Gerald Ford
Classic moderate
Did not shake things up too much
He was Gerald Ford
Tried to heal the wounds
That his predecessor caused
Studied the death of JFK
But did he get it right?
Survived two assassination tries
Gerald Ford
Track Name: Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter grew up in Georgia
Picking cotton, growing peanuts
Hanging out with all of the black kids
When most of the grownups were racist

For many years he served in the Navy
Came back to work on his Daddy's farm
Next he joined the local school board
Later became state senator

Though many in Georgia didn't like him
He would become their most famous governor

Then decided to run for President
Promised he was the outsider
Some called him two-faced and phony
In '76 won anyway

Had fireside chats with the people
Liked all the deregulation
Helped produce the Camp David Accords
Strongly for a balanced budget

But then the Iranian hostage crisis
And so many Cuban refugees
Between high gas prices and inflation
The country had enough of him

Though many thought his Presidency didn't go well
He did a lot for human rights long after that

Jimmy Carter
Track Name: Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Raised poor, didn't know it
Athletic, thought poorly of government
Became a disc jockey and an actor
Hollywood didn't know what to think of him
People pleaser, great communicator
Stopped acting, got involved in politics

His mission was to end Communism
He was the oldest to be President
He said government was not the solution
He said government was the problem

Became governor of California
With a surplus, gave rebates to everyone
After five years of running, elected President
Shot and wounded, nearly assassinated
Tensions rising, with the Soviets
The Iran Contra affair raised questions

His mission was to end Communism
He was the oldest to be President
He said government was not the solution
He said government was the problem

Nominated O'Connor
First woman on the Supreme Court
His eight years saw prosperity
Inflation dip, drop in unemployment
But caused the debt to soar
Expanding the military
He tried to help with lots of tax cuts
and trickle down economics

Bombed Libya, invaded Grenada
He said Gorbachev, tear down that wall
And soon Communism would fall
Still popular when he left office
Alzheimer's would get him in the end
But his legacy is still strong today

His mission was to end Communism
He was the oldest to be President
He said government was not the solution
He said government was the problem
Track Name: George H.W. Bush
His dad was Prescott Bush, the U.S. Senator
Did well as a Navy pilot in World War 2
Went to Yale then got rich in the oil business
Then Congressman where he made lots of friends
UN Ambassador, chairman of the RNC
Ambassador to China, and CIA Chief

Persian Gulf War, recession, raised taxes
Even though he promised he would not
Public service seemed to be his purpose
George Herbert Walker Bush woah

Vice President to Reagan, took over after him
Came off as preppy and, well, maybe out of touch
The Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War came to an end
He signed lots of bills to help the environment
Launched Operation Just Cause, saved Kuwait from Iraq

Persian Gulf War, recession, raised taxes
Even though he promised he would not
Public service seemed to be his purpose
George Herbert Walker Bush woah

Growing national debt, rising unemployment
Also Ross Perot prevented re-election
Public service continued after retirement
And two of his sons followed him into politics

Persian Gulf War, recession, raised taxes
Even though he promised he would not
Public service seemed to be his purpose
George Herbert Walker Bush woah
Track Name: Bill Clinton
Always one for politics
Never seemed to escape scandal
Had many accomplishments
But all they remember was scandal

Bill Clinton, born and raised in Arkansas
Never knew his real papa
Long planned to go into law
Avoided the draft into Vietnam
Went to Georgetown, Yale, Oxford
Got with Hillary Rodham
It didn't take long before his first campaign
Attorney general, soon youngest governor

Always one for politics
Never seemed to escape scandal
Had many accomplishments
But all they remember was scandal

President, and second youngest elected
and he quickly would be tested
with violence near Waco and the World Trade Center
Signed a law that made it harder to get guns
the FMLA and NAFTA
Favored collectivistism
Extramarital affairs, accusations abounded
Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Zippergate, and Vince Foster's death
Second President impeached, for perjury and obstruction of justice
Personal life got in his way but people would forget

Always one for politics
Never seemed to escape scandal
Had many accomplishments
But all they remember was scandal

Saxophone solo (you know, because he plays the sax)

New Democrat, centrist, Third Way, met halfway
Gave Republicans the time of day
But taxed the rich so he got his way
Welfare reform, a budget surplus to end his term
A failed health care reform attempt
"Don't ask, don't tell" controversial
He bombed Iraq, the Balkans, Black Hawk Down
Still kept the empire, even though no Cold War
OKC bombing, the rise of Al Qaeda
Pakistan, India, Middle East, fragile peace

Always one for politics
Never seemed to escape scandal
Had many accomplishments
But all they remember was scandal

Left office, with a high approval rating
His wife, she kept debating
and he's still doing his thing
Track Name: George W. Bush
Everybody liked him, he had a lot of friends
Loved sports growing up out in Western Texas
Felt pressure from the bar set high by his dad
The more his dad pushed, the more he rebelled
Struggled academically, but turned it around
Even made it through Yale, and later Harvard
Pilot for the Texas Air National Guard
Made riches with the Rangers, drilling oil, went far
Alcohol battles, turned to his religion
Struggled with public speaking, had some Bushisms
Pushed reforms as governor of Texas
Success there later helped become President

He was an average good guy
Who rocked the boat in his Presidency

Okay he was President, but barely beat Gore
The Court stopped the recount in Florida
Compassionate conservative, No Child Left Behind
Many say this broke the tenth amendment

But then 9/11 happened, and everything changed

Well Bush changed many things drastically
Formed the Department of Homeland Security
The people were scared of Al Qaeda and more
They demanded the government just do more
So Bush did more, signed the Patriot Act
Said the government could spy and wiretap
Signed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Decided to preemptively strike Iraq
Invaded Afghanistan and they're still there
Detained with no trial, tortured many suspects
Half the Bill of Rights abused and ignored
in the name of security, protect the borders!

He was an average good guy
Who rocked the boat in his Presidency

George W. Bush
Dubya W. Bush
George W. Bush
Dubya W. Bush

No weapons of mass destruction found
Hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq
Began the never-ending War of Terror
Or as they call it the War on Terrorism
But will this war, will it ever end?
Yes it will but terrorism will not

Popularity soared after 9/11
And in 2004, he was re-elected
But the wars dragged on and people were dying
The money was gone, debt and deficit rising
Housing bubble burst and everything with it
Everybody affected by The Great Recession
Bush and friends bailed out the big banks,
big corporations, and even citizens
Foreign policy questioned around the world
A shoe thrown at his head, heck it was hurled
Now things didn't go as well as he planned
But he changed the world forever, this is where it stands

George W. Bush
Dubya W. Bush
George W. Bush
Dubya W. Bush