George W. Bush was president of the United States when Randy Newman started performing this song in 2006. Bush was rather unpopular, in large part because the Iraq War was not going as planned. In this song, Newman points out that other world leaders throughout history have been far worse. For example, Hitler and Stalin.
In 2007, before he recorded the song, Newman published the lyrics as an editorial in the New York Times under the title "State of the Union: Another Take."
Newman told The Guardian newspaper July 28, 2008: "I knew when I wrote it, it wasn't going to last, because we're never going to have an administration this bad again. We haven't in 200-some years. I believe in numbers and the odds are against it."
When Newman spoke with Rolling Stone in 2017, the first year Donald Trump was in office as President of the United States, he said: "I wrote it because I thought the Bush adminstration would be one of the worst of my lifetime, maybe the worst we'd ever have. Little did I know [Donald Trump] would make him look like Winston Churchill. The comparisons in the song are ridiculous, saying Bush is not as bad as the Caesars. He's not as bad as Tiberius, because he didn't kill little boys. He's not Hitler or Stalin. But I do that song now, and it gets a bigger reaction. Who could have prepared for this?"
John from St. Paul, KsGreat song Tyree? No, It's a Horrible song. Mr. Newman should realize we don't need to try to defend or apologize our great nation. Saying at least our leaders aren't as bad as Hitler or Stallin is a stupid argument. Our country does more for the world than any other nation ever.
Tyree from Portland, OrThis is a great song. Love it.
"Crank That (Soulja Boy)" was the most successful digital track of 2007 in the US with 2,909,000 downloads. On January 6, 2008 it became the first song ever to sell 3 million digital copies in the States.
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."