Friday, September 05, 2008

Taking The President-Speaking Vote

Watching John McCain deliver his speech last night, I couldn't help but think about how different his speaking style is from what we heard from Barack Obama a week earlier.  As I look back over my life, I have seen some presidents who were gifted orators (Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton) and some who were not (LBJ, Ford, Bush III).  I'll beat some of you to the punch (Jeff):  I never heard Lincoln speak, but I bet he was good.  Being a professional speaker myself, I am inspired by good orators.  However, it doesn't necessarily mean that their policies / ideas are better.

Who would you rank as the BEST speaker-President? 

I keep thinking about McCain being in a prison camp for 5-1/2 years.  I cannot get my mind around that.  That's a LONG time!  I can't imagine the post-traumatic stress he must still deal with.  And bless his heart, he can't even lift his arms above parallel to the ground.  Yet he led the fight to reestablish diplomatic relations with Viet Nam.  Go figure.  I hope that I would be that big a man. 


Anonymous said...

Obama is talented when he has a teleprompter. Listening to him think on his feet is annoying. McCain is exactly opposite. He is no good with prepared speeches (almost stiff), but very good on his feet.

As one who requires notes, I wish I were a little better without them.

Missed your blog for the past couple of days.

randy said...

Best speaker, bar none, that I ever have heard was Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali in the early 70's when he was banned from boxing for refusing to serve in Vietnam. He was absolutely captivating - very much different than today. Second best was the late Abbie Hoffman - leader of the Berkley free speech movement and later one of the Chicago 7 - he was excellent despite dogging rotten tomatoes thrown at him from the audience.

Kyle R. said...

In my lifetime, Reagan would have to top the list. Afterall, he was call the great communicator and wrote a lot of his own speeches.

Of reading of Lincoln's speeches, I bet he was magnificent. This was before the days of professional speech writers too. He was so witty and had common sense insight.

I agree Kennedy was very good. And I hate to admit it, but Clinton is a pretty good speaker as well. (That is, Mr. Clinton)

James A Garfield, the 20th President, who was gunned down by an assassins bullet in 1881 was also a pretty gifted orator as well. Listen to this excerpt (before Garfield was President speaking to an angry mob shortly after Licoln himself had been assasinated) taken from Joseph Nathan Kane's Presidential Fact Book:

Fifty thousand angry citizens anwered a call to assemble at the Custom House in New York City, on April 15, 1865, ready to take the law into their own hands to avenge the death of President Lincoln. Two men in the crowd who expressed sentiments against the martyred President were attacked; one was killed, the other severely injured. About ten thousand people prepared to march to the office of [A New York newspaper] crying "Vengeance!" A telegram that arrived from Washington stating the "Seward is dying" stopped the march for a moment. Garfield, then visiting New York as a member of Congress, lifted his arm in a loud voice addressed the mob:
"Fellow citizens! Clouds and darkness are round about Him! His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies! Justice and judgment are the establishment of His throne! Mercy and truth shall go before His face! Fellow citizens! God reigns and the Government at Washington still lives!"

The crowd was deeply moved by Garfield's words and the threatend riot never occurred.

Jeff said...

Reagan and Clinton are the best I remember. Joel Osteen would be a close 3rd.

OK, I just threw in the last line because you took "didn't you hear Lincoln" away from me.

Anonymous said...

I must concede that there is a possibility ... slight as it may be ... that I misunderstood the question.

Overall, I would place President Reagan at the top of both categories. IMO he was a great orator, and the greatest president in the history of our country. Yes, even greater than Lincoln.