It’s a fact of life that we expect our politicians to be some kind of great orators. Probably because we all saw Frank Capra’s <a href=”URL”>Mister Smith Goes to Washington</a> as kids, with Jimmy Stewart talking himself hoarse in the House of Representatives, we expect some kind of oratory to be minimum standard for politicians.
It’s also a fact of life that our politicians are human beings, and human beings tend to have certain verbal shortcuts, fallbacks, or “tics” that they rely on. And some particularly more than others, it appears.
Cases in point: Number 1; Caroline Kennedy.
Caroline Kennedy is not the only politician to suffer from, you know, a verbal tic. Yes, she may have used the phrase some 144 times in a New York Times interview.
The President-elect is widely regarded as one of today’s great rhetoricians. But that doesn’t prevent him from falling back on the odd ‘uh’ when the talking gets tough. And by odd, we mean some 30 times in this David Letterman clip. The nickname Obam-uh wasn’t far behind.
McCain may have lost the presidential race but he certainly didn’t lose the repetition war. His obsession with the phrase ‘My friends’ won him ridicule in the campaign and this splendid article in Slate. Sadly for McCain, he just didn’t have enough of them at the end of the day.
President Bush said recently that the United States has a ”fabulous” military. On other occasions, he has proclaimed himself proud of such a fabulous country, and of his fabulous cabinet. Texas and Alaska are both fabulous states. Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, is a fabulous senator.
Laura Bush is doing a fabulous job as first lady, and Mr. Bush’s father is a fabulous man. Last fall, Mr. Bush attended a fabulous World Series, and last summer proclaimed baseball a fabulous sport.
That was around the same time that Mr. Bush said he hoped to make ”some fabulous history” with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Last year, despite all the tragedy, was a fabulous year for Mr. Bush and his wife.
Students of the presidency have noticed that Mr. Bush says ”fabulous” an awful lot. ”Fabulous is not a Texas word,” said Molly Ivins, the Texas columnist and longtime George W. Bush watcher. ”Oh, man, where did he pick that up? It’s time that boy came home for a little cultural retraining. ‘Fabulous?’ What is that?” ”I never heard him use it down here,” she said. ”We would have noticed, I promise.”
Apparently nobody noticed enough to make a video, Molly. Sorry.