Wednesday, June 14, 2006

But do they really ...

... or does someone do it for them? More senators write books. And if they, I hope they do it on their own time. And even so, maybe they ought to pay a little more attention to their day job.


  1. How many of 'em write poetry? Paint pics in oil? But nothin' they can't get a lobbiest to buy in warehouse quantities when needed, right?

    No, no, these are people who have to be highly literate to keep their jobs, why wouldn't they need to vent creatively? They're human.

    And if a convenient sale here and there happens? Well, it is an American legislature, the best money can buy. No, that's the house, huh? I always get politicians confused, they look so much a like.


  2. "Even the poets are restless now. They[']re not content to go along with Shelley and be the unacknowledged legislators of the world. They want to be acknowledged just a little bit.

    "Eugene McCarthy March, 1968"

    ". . . it was in the thick of the 1968 [U.S. presidential] campaign, when his more prominent foes were declining to debate McCarthy that the senator suggested 'a poetry contest' where the battle would [come] down to 'who can develop the best rhymes or the best lines -- if we leave it that open...'"

    "[McCarthy t]he poet is gone now. But something of him lingers, on a shelf of finer books than we have much right to expect of a politician and in the memory of a campaign more lyrical than all but the luckiest of . . . us have since experienced."

    From Eugene McCarthy's Lyrical Politics, a blog post by John Nichols, "Posted 12/11/2005"

  3. I see you both and raise the stakes:

    "The burner is out of incense the dripping has almost stopped

    the wind comes in gusts the cold in waves

    springtime disturbs me and keeps me from sleep

    the moon casts shadow flowers on the balustrade"

    This is Wang An-shih, 11th century Chinese poet and imperial councilor, pondering the onset of spring and the beginning of his agricultural reforms. Wang did not sit on the political sidelines and carp. He was deeply involved in affairs of state - which were every bit as messy then as now.

  4. Why must we look so far back to find truly literate men in office? Our times are being cheated. Who were the most literate in our country's history? You have to go back to those years of the republic's creation. In our time we have ol' mangle-mouth dubya and a congress full of men with sticky palms. This can't be the way it's s'pose to be, can it? Can you imagine how bad Dubya's first book's gonna be? Sheeeesh, that's a terrible crawl up my arm that just happened.


  5. A former colleague of mine who worked for years at the Washington Post had a colleague there who had known the incumbent president when he worked in his father's administration. He was surprised at how Bush had come to sound, since when he knew him "he sounded like any other guy who had gone to Yale." Then there is the story that, after he lost his first bid for elective office, Bush turned to his campaign manager and said, "Guess a Yale accent won't carry you too far in West Texas." Add to that his remark that "lot's of people in this country sound like me."
    I suspect Dubya will surprise everybody and write a rather good book - if he chooses to write one at all.
    But I think this equating facility of speech with intelligence is silly. A couple of years ago, in order to report a story, I had to slog through a large chunk of John Kerry's extemporaneous remarks. Now, if you don't listen too carefully, Kerry sounds eminentlyb articulate. But if you actually examine what the man says, he comes off as a hopeless - if eloquent - dolt who can't remember by the time he gets to the end of one of his interminable sentences whatever the hell it was he started talking about.

  6. "I suspect Dubya will surprise everybody and write a rather good book - if he chooses to write one at all."

    That's probably true. And some ghost will be livin' large.


  7. Nah, I mean one of his own - I can always tell when they're ghosted. Hey, he writes something, I'll bet I could edit it. And believe me, I've edited some rough manuscripts in my time.