Woodrow Wilson – Hmm, he seems familiar…. “frenzied pedagogue”

What intrigued such gentlemen [the press corps] in the compositions of Dr. Wilson was the plain fact that he was their superior in their own special field – that he accomplished with a great deal more skill than they did themselves the great task of reducing all the difficulties of the hour to a few sonorous and unintelligible phrases, often with theological overtones – that he knew better than they did how to arrest and enchant the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else. The vulgar like and respect that sort of balderdash. A discourse packed with valid ideas, accurately expressed, is quite incomprehensible to them. What they want is the sough of vague and comforting words – words cast into phrases made familiar to them by the whooping of their customary political and ecclesiastical rabble-rousers, and by the highfalutin style of the newspapers that they read. Woodrow knew how to conjure up such words. He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of his dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts.

But reading his speeches in cold blood offers a curious experience. It is difficult to believe that even idiots ever succumbed to such transparent contradictions, to such gaudy processions of mere counter-words, to so vast and obvious a nonsensicality. Hale produces sentence after sentence that has no apparent meaning at all – stuff quite as bad as the worst bosh of the Hon. Gamaliel Harding. When Wilson got upon his legs in those days he seems to have gone into a sort of trance, with all the peculiar illusions and delusions that belong to a frenzied pedagogue.

Quotation of the Day (H.L. Mencken)

Speeches of Woodrow Wilson

Final Address in Support of the League of Nations

“Only one cause, only one purpose.” Hmmm, sounds like a fascist….

Déjà vu

Ah yes, it’s this guy:

For a man who was elected president partly on his ability to give a great speech, Barack Obama has been at times a surprisingly poor communicator in office and on the campaign trail.

That may have been most evident earlier this month during the first presidential debate. But Obama generally hasn’t been as impressive at getting his message across in his four years in the White House as he was during the campaign that put him there.

His relatively few press briefings have drawn mediocre reviews, and it’s hard to think of a single speech he’s delivered as president that was as powerful as several he gave when originally running for the office.

“He has had trouble rhetorically in selling his vision,” says Martin Medhurst, a professor of rhetoric and political science at Baylor University. “In the last couple of years, he has not really given any memorable addresses and seems to have been on the defensive a great deal.”

The Not-So-Great Communicator: Is Obama Overrated As A Speaker?

Sun King Obama

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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