Cool, Cool Conservative Men: Still a Scourge on the Republic

Forever to the right, never to the left. Most uncool.
Never to the left, forever to the right. Most uncool.

Of late I’ve been thinking of the 2016 presidential election and the GOPper shenanigans it is engendering, the Klown Kar Krew crap show, the rise of Drumpf. Ugh.

With foul ‘wingers on the brain, I was rocked by news of the deaths of Ken Howard (who portrayed Thomas Jefferson in the original Broadway cast of  1776 in 1969 and in the 1972 film adaptation) and James Noble (who played Rev. John Witherspoon of New Jersey in the film). The musical about the writing of the Declaration of Independence happens to be one of this Broadway baby’s favorites. Around the same time, I read a transcript of a chat between 1776‘s John Adams, the great William Daniels, and Hamilton writer, composer, and star Lin-Manuel Miranda.  So, I had to watch 1776 again — for perhaps the hundredth time. And this time I was laser focused on the divisions between left and right.

Composer and lyricist Peter Sherman offered a spot-on summation of the right-wing mind and of those who vote against their own interests in the cutting anti-conservative song, “Cool, Cool Considerate Men.” Richard Nixon long ago knew how close this song hit to reality; there are stories that he prevailed on Jack L. Warner, producer of the 1972 film version of the Tony-winning show, to excise it from the movie.

According to Joe Caporiccio, producer of a 1990 laserdisc restoration of the film, editor Florence Williamson said that Warner told her he wanted “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men” cut out, claiming he had screened the film for the president, who asked that the number be excised.

When Hunt got back to the U.S. and found the number had been cut, he stormed into Warner’s office. “I asked him, ‘Jack, how could you do this?’ and he said, ‘With a pair of scissors.”‘

Warner also told Hunt that he had ordered the negative of the cuts shredded, saying, “I don’t want history second-guessing me on this.” Meanwhile, editor Williamson showed less allegiance to Warner and more to film history by quietly putting all the negatives into storage, and there they remained until the Sony team working on the current restoration uncovered them.

Although Nixon’s diaries show that Warner had dinner with Nixon two months before the film 1776 opened, they do not show that a screening took place. What is almost certain though, according to those involved in the film, is that if Nixon did indeed ask that the number be removed, he was merely pulling the trigger on a target already well in Warner’s sights.

Thankfully, the restored footage can be found in the 2002 director’s cut of 1776  and in the 2010 expanded DVD.

So I watched. And sang along. And wept. And I hit upon a realization: The composition is the perfect theme song for the sorry lot — Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, the Bushes, et, al. Even the Democratic establishment candidate and others like Patrick Murphy, Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (By God, I have had this Con-GRESS.)

Share this, if you care to do so. Let’s teach some history and remind the world that the horrors of the forever-to-the-right obstructionist GOP and the “No, We Can’t” Republican-lite Democratic Party establishment have been a national scourge for a very, very long time. Adams and Co. took them down (via a terrible compromise) more than 200 years ago. We can take them down again in the 2016 elections. Vote for the people, whether we’re considering the presidency or downticket positions: Vote for true progressives.

As for 1776, buy, borrow, or rent a copy, and enjoy. Why wait until July 4? And if you are in New York, do catch the latest revival — performed in modern clothing and, a la Hamilton, boasting a multiculti cast including John Larroquette as Ben Franklin — at City Center.

John Dickinson:
Oh say do you see what I see?
Congress sitting here in sweet serenity
I could cheer; the reason’s clear
For the first time in a year Adams isn’t here
And look, the sun is in the sky
A breeze is blowing by, and there’s not a single fly

I sing hosanna, hosanna
Hosanna, hosanna
And it’s cool

Come ye cool cool conservative men
The likes of which may never be seen again
We have land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
Fortune flies, society survives
In neatly ordered lives with well-endowered wives

We sing hosanna, hosanna
To our breeding and our banner
We are cool

Come ye cool cool considerate set
We’ll dance together to the same minuet
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
May our creed be never to exceed
Regulated speed, no matter what the need

We sing hosanna, hosanna
Enblazoned on our banner
Is keep cool

What we do we do rationally
We never ever go off half-cocked, not we
Why begin till we know that we can win
And if we cannot win why bother to begin?
Edward Rutledge:
We say this game’s not of our choosing
Why should we risk losing?
We are cool

To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
We have gold, a market that will hold
Tradition that is old, a reluctance to be bold.
I sing hosanna, hosanna
In a sane and lucid manner
We are cool
Come ye cool cool considerate men
The likes of which may never be seen again
With our land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
And we’ll hold to our gold
Tradition that is old, reluctant to be bold.
We say this game’s not of our choosing
Why should we risk losing?

We cool, cool, cool
Cool, cool, cool
Cool cool men.

Note:  The use of the words “left” and “right” are a product of Sherman’s license showing his own modern sensibility and progressive leanings; they were not used in a political sense until 1789, during the time of the French Revolution.

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