Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush and Churchill’s Mid-War Speeches

Rick Richman compare's mid-war speeches between President Bush and Winston Churchill. Probably the most sound historical lesson that can be taken from the comparison is that there are times when leaders have to re-state the case for war (or any other endeavor, for that matter) and that sometimes a simple re-phrasing or re-statement of reasons and objectives can "buck up" the people. Of course, sometimes it doesn't help at all. (Via Jonah Goldberg)

UPDATE: Goldberg's gotten some feedback and an explanation:


Please! There is no comparison. As we know from Martin Gilbert's work,
Churchill spent hours and hours crafting his speeches. And he was dynamite
in debate and on his feet when challenged. Bush recites very well what has
been written for him by a team of speech writers and, as far as speaking
"off the cuff" or in taking questions at press conferences he is more often
than not virtually tongue-tied. I love the President, but making this kind
of comparison is apples and oranges.

Me: I'm inclined to agree. Churchill and Bush are obviously very different men. I just thought the rhetorical similarities were "interesting."

Update: More email pouring in to defend the comparison:

The point of the article was not to compare the two men's rhetorical styles but to show that: (i) the UK almost lost its nerve in the middle of WW II but did not because of executive leadership; (ii) we should take a lesson from that; and (iii) we should be thankful that the President is taking action in a manner similar in substance (not style) to the actions Churchill took -- I pray, to the same result.

Let's leave it here.

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