The Corner


In my column today I write about Obama’s Farewell Address. In a section dealing with the history of Farewell Addresses:

Of course, the era of radio and television necessitated — or created the perception of necessity — that presidents address the people directly. Whether that amounted to progress is for others to decide. But until Obama, it never occurred to a president to deliver a televised address from anywhere but the Oval Office.

This has two errors. One is relatively innocuous. I should have written a “televised Farewell Address anywhere but . . . ” Some readers, particularly on Twitter, seem to think I meant that no presidential address of any kind was ever delivered outside the Oval Office. Given the context of the paragraph, I think this is an unfair misreading. Of course I meant Farewell Addresses. I shouldn’t have omitted the word “farewell.” But I don’t think it’s a big deal either.

The second error is more significant. It’s just not true that until Obama no modern president has delivered a televised Farewell Address outside the Oval Office. Most have. But LBJ and Gerald Ford delivered theirs in the House chamber. The first president Bush delivered his at West Point. And the second president Bush delivered his in the East Room.

I truly regret the error, and while I can offer explanations about writing fast — and dyspeptically — amidst several looming deadlines, the truth is such explanations are not excuses. I should have checked. My apologies.

At the same time, my larger point still holds. If I had written something like, “It never occurred to a modern president to deliver a televised address from anywhere but in a dignified official setting,” I would have been entirely right.

Most Popular

Economy & Business

The Swamp: Navarro Nucor Edition

The Wall Street Journal has a story today about the ties between President Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, and the biggest steel company in the U.S. -- Nucor Corp. It is particularly interesting in light of the stiff steel tariffs successfully pushed by Navarro, which he championed ever since he joined the ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More

Nancy MacLean Won’t Quit

One of the biggest intellectual jousting matches last year was between Duke history professor Nancy MacLean, who wrote a slimy, dishonest book about Nobel Prize–winning economist James Buchanan and the whole limited-government movement, and the many scholars who blasted holes in it. If it had been a boxing ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More

How Germany Vets Its Refugees

At the height of the influx of refugees into Germany in 2015–17, there was little doubt that mixed among the worthy cases were economic migrants taking advantage of the chaos to seek their fortunes in Europe. Perhaps out of instinctive pro-immigrant sentiment, Germany’s Left obscured the difference. Its ... Read More