Monday, November 10, 2008

Famous But Fatuous Political Statement

Some of the most famous statements in recent political history are bull biscuits.

In 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Nonsense. People had a lot to fear, during the Great Depression, things like unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger, and the like. Just ask my Dad, who lived through it.

In his campaign for VP with Michael Dukakis in 1988 against George the Elder Bush, Lloyd Bentsen said to Dan Quayle, the Republican candidate, "I know Jack Kennedy . . . and, Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy." That statement was mean, gratuitous, insulting, vacuous, obvious, just to get started.

In 1961, John Kennedy said, "Ask not your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Nice rhetoric, has a nice sound to it, clever to use the reverse images, etc. But the statement is empty without some specifics to give it content.

And not universally applicable, e. g., those who were sent to Iraq to fight this senseless war have every right to ask what their country can do for them when they return -- if they do.

Kennedy's speech to the Baptist preachers in Houston in 1960 is lauded as a clear-headed statement on church and state, but it is actually shallow and confused regarding the difference between church and state and between religiion and politics.

Maria Cumo and Obama have a much better and more profound grasp of the issues.

See my article:

Why, then, are they so famous and so often repeated? Beats the heck out of me.

No comments: