The Corner

Too Many Words

Brilliant piece by the boss this morning. British novelist Jilly Cooper famously (well, famously over there) said that her husband could bore for England. Barack Obama could bore for the U.S.A. If there was a Nobel Prize for enjoying the sound of your own voice, Obama would definitely have qualified.

Though Obama is a very bad cse, all modern presidents speechify too much. It was not always thus.

Constrained by the “rhetorical common law” of the time, the 19th-century president spoke only rarely, and even more rarely on specific policy matters. But by the 1960s the president couldn’t manage to keep quiet for very long. He was as uncomfortable with silence as his predecessors were with speechifying.

                    — Gene Healy’s The Cult of the Presidency, p.86

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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