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The US President is, as I understand it, the leader of the USA.

Is it a necessary ability for leaders of your nation to be able to, fairly consistently, deliver effective, respectable, plausible speeches in front of TV cameras?

Your last President was, to be very very very kind, not good at this.
Palin seems to lack this ability.

I can tell you how much more respectable and believable the US looks from out here when its leader can come up with the goods on TV.

What's up with such people even being considered for such an office if they can't do the work required?

Or is having your leader able to communicate using the spoken word on TV no longer considered necessary?

I'll leave it for one of our classics scholars or early American history people to tell you how important speech-making was in earlier times.
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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DCAnderson wrote:
In a weird way Palin and Bush are actually good at public speaking, at least in the way that will get you votes. For some reason Americans are enamored with this idea that by sounding like you know what you're talking about, that you're a "know it all" who is out of touch with the common man. Ignorance -or at least the appearance of such-is a virtue....

When do you reckon this set in? - I find it hard to imagine that Lincoln consistently mis-spoke and didn't differentiate between his tenses, and the subject and object of his sentences and phrases.
 
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The electors of R Reagan surely thought putting up a good show is the single most important quality of a US president.
 
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Nah, talking is overrated. According to DWTripp the Leader of the Free World[TM] has to be able to toss a ball.

Yeah.
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"Delivering a TV speech successfully" has only been an issue for the last half century or so. Before that there was no TV, so looking to earlier American history really isn't relevant or useful.

 
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verandi wrote:
"Delivering a TV speech successfully" has only been an issue for the last half century or so. Before that there was no TV, so looking to earlier American history really isn't relevant or useful.


Although Pinook highlights TV, I read his post as speaking about effective communication, whether on the radio, in newspapers or live speeches. I don't think TV is his salient point, rather he poses the question of how important is it for an American leader to be an effective communicator.

My first thought is why this special standard for the American president. Does the question not apply equally to any national leader anywhere, or at minimum any national leader of a liberal democracy.
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isaacc wrote:


My first thought is why this special standard for the American president. Does the question not apply equally to any national leader anywhere, or at minimum any national leader of a liberal democracy.
.

I don't see it as special standard. But as the country with the biggest military, the biggest GNP, a sometimes champion of freedom and as a leader in the experiment of democracy the USA is a special case.

I can think of violent despots who can't make a speech, I can think of a few nations in transition whose leaders talk rubbish occasionally. But a powerful nation? All of them that come to mind seem to have speech-makers for leaders.
 
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People who have mistaken, wrong-headed beliefs, are naturally going to prefer illogic to logic. This part of the problem seems insuperable. But a gifted communicator can combine emotional and logical appeals and reach out to both. That's better than discarding logic.
 
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To answer the OQ, unfortunately, yes.

It's not clear to me that being able to deliver speech better than one's opponent is a particularly good way to decide who will make better decisions, but it's definitely how it works.

People that speak well are always considered by most to be intelligent. If you are telling people what they believe, you will be considered even more intelligent.
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qzhdad wrote:
To answer the OQ, unfortunately, yes.

It's not clear to me that being able to deliver speech better than one's opponent is a particularly good way to decide who will make better decisions, but it's definitely how it works.
...

How do you square your answer with Bush Jnr's and Palin's offices and abilities?
 
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Pinook wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
To answer the OQ, unfortunately, yes.

It's not clear to me that being able to deliver speech better than one's opponent is a particularly good way to decide who will make better decisions, but it's definitely how it works.
...

How do you square your answer with Bush Jnr's and Palin's offices and abilities?


I said being able to deliver a speech doesn't mean one is smart.

That doesn't imply that not being able to make a speech makes one smart.

If you are referring to Bush and Palin being elected, I think he did give better speeches than Gore, although neither were particularly inspiring.

I don't regard Bush's administration as the unmitigated disaster that many seem to. I suspect that in fifty years, he will be regarded as a middle of the road president neither in the top nor bottom five. I suspect that Gore would have been in the same group.

I don't know enough about Palin's administration to comment. I do think she is an effective (in the sense that she energizes her audience) speaker.
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I wonder if speaking well is of all that much value to begin with. Churchill elucidated very well, step-by-step, the machinations of Nazi Germany all through the 30s, to little effect and only to be labeled a warmonger.

What I believe counts so much more is whether you are saying what your audience wants to hear to begin with. Kennedy could lead the US to spend 4% of her budget on the pursuit of reaching the Moon because people were receptive to it. In another time he might have been ridiculed for suggesting such a huge "waste of money".

I was repeatedly embarrassed for G.W. Bush when he spoke so poorly. And yet, like so many Americans Bush was forgiven that because those people felt he was a good commander and leader. I believe that he did what he felt was correct regardless of how those decisions might play with the public, which is what we (say we) expect of a leader.

Vis-à-vis the public's seemingly indignation to "logic" or intellectualism, it is not that they actively disfavour intelligence. Rather, I think the public has come to see the intelligensia as hollow. That is, they aren't delivering the goods. Experts abound and yet there are financial disasters of epic proportions and initiative after initiative that fails (e.g. public housing). The reality of the World is that one does not get paid for being smart. Being smart gets you in the door because people have expectations that one will use those smarts to good effect. Success is still required at the end of the day, not just the theory of how there will be success in the future.

I, like many others, have gained a respect for the nebulous nature of so-called "common sense". This rubs intellectuals the wrong way as it doesn't jibe with all that they have studied, "that's illogical; it doesn't work that way!" Perhaps the general public would listen to them more intently if they firstly were correct more often than not, i.e. deliver the goods, and secondly if they stood by their advice and were subject to dismissal for example like any other service provider.
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I find it interesting that people actually enjoy it when the POTUS makes statements like:

"And I could have calibrated those words differently."

Who the f*** says "calibrated" in a sentence when not talking about pipettes in chemistry class, other than the ivory-tower elite? People usually use "big vocabulary" as an attempt to impress their audience, when all it really does is show how smug and condescending they can be.

Obfuscating one's extraneous language usage only leads to one looking like a popinjay, which ultimately leads to the bifurcation of the audience.

It's no surprise that those who like Palin and her "homegrown" approach to communication are totally put-off by a guy like Obama.

Even a simpler, more directful approach of "I am sorry I said what I said - it wasn't very nice," probably would have gone a lot farther than trying to sound all "hoity-toity" by using words like "calibrate".
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Uh, you actually think that "calibrated" is some savvy elite big vocabulary word?
Reminds of some guys who called me an "intellectual" because I was reading some random door stopper in a train.
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I just realized that I answered the wrong question. You certainly need to have a minimum level of TV presence to get elected.

Is the question really, is the ability to deliver a speech a key element of the job?

I would contend that it doesn't need to be, but seems to be regarded as essential by the President's employers. (the electorate)
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DCAnderson wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
I don't regard Bush's administration as the unmitigated disaster that many seem to. I suspect that in fifty years, he will be regarded as a middle of the road president neither in the top nor bottom five. I suspect that Gore would have been in the same group.



Nixon wasn't all that bad a president, but it seems like people hate him more as time goes on.

I think this is what will happen to Bush as time goes on. Sorry.


You may be right. Let's check in fifty years. laugh

My view of Nixon has probably remained the same or improved since 1974.
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DCAnderson wrote:

Really?

The conventional wisdom caricatures you generally see for these two are as follows:

Kennedy: Near angelic sexy super-president who passed too soon.

Nixon: Curmudgeonly paranoid and stand-offish. Also Watergate, watergate, watergate.


I think it depends on your politics. I'm too lazy to do it, but I'd bet a poll would show that liberals agree with your views and conservatives would tend to the opposite.

After I got over the whole fascination with the Lincoln-Kennedy similarities (I was seven or eight, I think shortly after Bobby was assassinated), I was never overly impressed with Kennedy. I loved the space program. Hated the Bay of Pigs. Ted Kennedy and the general fascination with all things Kennedy probably have done more (unfairly) to diminish my regard for JFK's Presidential abilities. His court at Camelot certainly has a fascination for those that follow the glamorous.

Nixon got a raw deal, but brought a lot of it on himself. He did (with the help of an opposing Congress) balance the budget a couple times. I think he dealt with Vietnam about as well as the inherited mess could have been dealt with.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
Quote:
Same can't be said for Kennedy, however.

Really?


Yeah, but that may be attributable to the rest of his crazy family. I think people are over Camelot. (Finally!)


Were you paying any attention to the Obama inaugural hoopla? I heard Camelot more often than any time recently except with playing Shadows.
 
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isaacc wrote:
Kennedy could lead the US to spend 4% of her budget on the pursuit of reaching the Moon because people were receptive to it.


If facts matter, the cost of the Apollo program was never close to 4% of the Federal budget. Over the 13 years of the program the cost was around $20-25 billion, the total Federal budget for those 13 years was around $2.5 trillion, so the cost was 1% or less of the budget.
 
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