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The Charisma of Calvin Coolidge


Speaking of Coolidge, I don’t think I’ve ever posted this Coolidge speech, the first film of a presidential speech with sound.

Pure charisma!

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  • mark f

    Our most underrated Dutch robot president.

    • Bill Murray

      until robot Reagan gets the Presidency

  • rea

    Be cool with Coolidge!

  • Barry Freed

    Like the teleprompter.

    • Mark Centz

      An electricity-free proto iPad version of the dread teleprompter. Clearly ahead of his time.

  • Maybe “Silent Cal” was an aspirational nickname.

  • p j

    My great-grandfather always referred to that man in the video as that son-of-a-bitch. It was the only time we were allowed to use the term in mixed company.

    • Joe Bohemouth

      Coolidge makes a cameo appearance in Randy Newman’s song “Louisiana 1927”. Pretty much that sentiment exactly.

  • Murc

    There’s some evidence to suggest that, in private, Coolidge was a witty, urbane man, full of wisecracks and bon mots.

    It’s just that he was incredibly stiff in public, due to a combination of being genuinely awkward when in front of people and due to not wanting to appear too smart.

    • CJColucci

      My two favorite Coolidge quips, which I pass on without having authenticated them:

      1. Coolidge ws coming out of church one Sunday when a reporter accosted him:
      R: “What was the sermon about?”
      C: “Sin.”
      R. “What did Pastor X say about it?”
      C: “He was against it.”

      2. A woman at a dinner party accosted Coolidge, and told him she had made a bet that she could get him to say more than two words. Coolidge replied: “You lose.”

    • LosGatosCA

      due to not wanting to appear too smart.

      He nailed his objective then. In 90 years since he became president, the phrase ‘too smart’ has never been linked in any serious fashion with Coolidge.

  • Hob

    Coolidge also wrote the following poem, which was printed on the front page of the New York Times. It’s kind of charming in a “written by a well-behaved 6th-grader with a good vocabulary” kind of way.

    Vermont is a state I love.
    I could not look upon the peaks of Ascutney,
    Killington, Mansfield and Equinox
    Without being moved in a way that no other scene could move me.
    It was here that I first saw the light of day;
    Here I received my bride;
    Here my dead lie,
    pillowed on the loving breast of our everlasting hills.
    I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys,
    Her scenery and invigorating climate,
    but most of all because of her indomitable people.
    They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves
    to serve others.
    If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the union
    and support of our institutions should languish,
    It could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people
    Of this brave little state of Vermont.

  • Aaron Baker

    Completely off-topic, but I don’t have your email address, Erik Loomis, and I wanted to thank you profusely for drawing my attention to Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion. Very informative, and wonderfully brief for a scholarly book.

    I thought: If I’m going to derange a comment thread, better the one on Calvin Coolidge’s charisma than some others.

    • Oh yeah, no problem. That’s a good book.

    • Murc

      Threadjacking here at LGM has a long and proud tradition. Just last month I personally invaded a Labor History thread to try and draw awareness to the Toronto Library Strike.

      • Aaron Baker

        Well, that would seem to be more thematically related.

        • Aaron Baker

          Anyway, my next Civil War book will be an older one (nice and short, too): Dwight Dumond’s Antislavery Origins of the Civil War. I’ll let everyone know what I think about it when I’m finished.

  • LosGatosCA

    Watched the Coolidge video on YouTube – it places Amity Shlaes’ video on The Forgotten Man next to it, which I clicked continuing my pattern of poor judgment triggered by coming to this blog. Which I hold solely responsible for my brain cells that were murdered in the process.

  • Calvin Coolidge: Also stupid.

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