Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Republican Inarticulateness
Mike Rappaport

When one thinks back over the last 20 years of politics, one fact stands out: Republican presidential candidates are inarticulate.  While people have commented on particular Republicans who are inarticulate, I don't believe much has been said about the pattern. 

Ok, George W. Bush is unbelieveably inarticulate.  And it has hurt his presidency tremendously.  But before Bush, the Republicans ran Bob Dole, a man who couldn't speak in sentences and referred to himself in the third person.  And before Dole, there was Bush's father, who was also pretty bad. 

And now, of course, we have another bad communicator: John McCain.  I didn't remember him being this bad of a speaker in 2000, but maybe he has gotten worse.  Or maybe the press helped him then.  In any event, he seems pretty bad.

I wonder what it is about Republicans that leads them to support these inarticulate candidates? 

Of course, it hasn't always been that way.  Ronald Reagan was the great communicator.  And Newt Gingrich was also excellent, although he did have a certain overconfidence. 

My hope is that the Republicans will pick a better communicator in 2012.  There are several possibilities, not all of whom have politics I find acceptable: 

  1. Sarah Palin -- Clearly, her communicative abilities are not for everyone, but give her four years to read up and seem more knowledgeable, and free her of the lead weight that is John McCain, and she will be formidable.
  2. Bobby Jindal -- The current governor of Louisiana, he is said to be very articulate, although I have not heard him speak.
  3. Mike Huckabee -- He is clearly a very effective communicator, and with four years to hone his message, he will be that more effective.

I don't know if any of these candidates would be any good as President, but if the Republicans are to be effective, they need a communicator. 

https://rightcoast.typepad.com/rightcoast/2008/10/republican-inar.html

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

"Newt Gingrich was also excellent, although he did have a certain overconfidence."

Was and is, I might volunteer. I don't think he's over the hill yet, certainly as an ideas man and possibly even as a candidate. He chose not to run this year, which is unfortunate, because the nomination would likely have been his for the asking and he would have cleaned Obama's clock in the debates.

Posted by: Simon | Oct 14, 2008 8:08:38 AM

Though Fred Thompson did not always sound his best in the primaries, he also has the capacity to articulate ideas (and, frankly, to understand ideas) much better than can the recent Republican nominees. (Disclosure: I supported Thompson for the 2008 nomination.)

Posted by: Mike Dimino | Oct 14, 2008 10:25:35 AM

"Clearly, her communicative abilities are not for everyone, but give her four years to read up and seem more knowledgeable, and free her of the lead weight that is John McCain, and she will be formidable."

This is an amazing statement. To my knowledge, no political candidate for president has ever appeared as inarticulate as Palin in an interview with reporters -- she couldn't even fake an articulate answer. Spin it anyway you want, but I'm sure that Bush I & II, Dole, Gerald Ford or Warren G. Harding could at least discuss what newspapers they read (or had read to them).

I find it interesting that you give Palin four years to "seem" more knowledgeable.

A high standard indeed

Posted by: DTH | Oct 14, 2008 12:36:19 PM

Well, I hesitate to engage in a discussion about Palin, but let explain my post. Yes, Palin seemed pretty bad with Couric (although not with Gibson). But Palin is great giving a speech and at other times. In predicting her performance four years from now, the better indicator is how good she can be as opposed to how bad she can be, especially when the bad stuff simply involves getting up to speed on specifics in response to reporters playing gotcha.

Posted by: Mike | Oct 14, 2008 1:49:10 PM

". . . in response to reporters playing gotcha."

What newspapers do you read?

I'm sure glad I wasn't asked that question!

Posted by: SotS | Oct 14, 2008 3:50:24 PM

I agree about Jindal and would add Mike Pence from Indiana to that list for future GOP leaders.

However, after the debacle this year, I have a feeling Mrs. Palin will go back up to the great white north and won't be heard from again.

I don't care how articulate the Huckster is, no self respecting conservative will ever support that clown.

Posted by: JJ | Oct 15, 2008 2:07:46 PM