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Here's an incredible quote.(38 posts)

Here's an incredible quote.jesse1
Apr 3, 2003 5:39 AM
I don't know if this actually hapened (it was forwarded to me). Can anyone confirm it? It is as follows:

How to silence a crowd w/one simple answer.

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is
enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.
your answerClydeTri
Apr 3, 2003 6:36 AM
Incredible indeed! nmLive Steam
Apr 3, 2003 7:01 AM
It generally is when folk are trying not to laugh. nmHoopes of glory
Apr 3, 2003 7:06 AM
he's a smart guyDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 7:56 AM
I like Powell.

He's right on the money with that one, too.

if you start by ignoring the whole North American continent...Silverback
Apr 3, 2003 8:46 AM
...which we stole from the natives, and then don't count Central America and the Caribbean (sugar, bananas, mining) or the Middle East, where our oil companies have dominated for decades, we just do our duty and go home.
I guess you have a pointDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 8:58 AM
But, everyone did it back then.

Besides, we let the Indians have casinos now. Doesn't that compensate? (fecetious)

I think the point is, at least since WWII, that we might have had the right and ability to create an empire by liberating Europe, etc., but we didn't.

Excellent, evocative rhetoric.OldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 8:10 AM
As a speechwriter, I admire that construction. Worthy of Peggy Noonan, the best speechwriter of my lifetime. Something that galls me no end, since she's one of 'them.'
Ed's onto something a lot of people miss...Silverback
Apr 3, 2003 8:50 AM
Remember, folks: These quotes come from SPEECHWRITERS, not from the people who read them for the cameras. For an example of how important that is, listen to GWB when he gets off the script. One minute he's Abe Lincoln, and the next he's Slapsy Maxie Rosenbloom.
Hold on there53T
Apr 3, 2003 8:55 AM
Powell is not GWB. Powell did not have his daddy pay for Yale, then spend his life investing in oil and baseball. Powell actually became educated as he grew older. I have nothing against GWB and I suport him, but you can ride your relatives coat-tails to the presidency. GWB is not the fist to do that. To be a General, you typically have to apply yourself. To be Chairman of the JCS, you have to know how to speak.
You're probably right.jesse1
Apr 3, 2003 9:44 AM
Powell is a sharp guy. He handles himself as well as ANYBODY in a news conference.In that "arena", there's no speach to fall back on. Everything is off the cuff and you're esentially on your own.
He's good all right, and no criticism intendedOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 10:05 AM
but these guys are CONSTANTLY fed sound bites, quotes and 'lines' to use. Nothing they say in public is off the cuff. Every question is anticipated, and the answer is fixed in their heads before they ever take the podium -- or even walk across the street. Successful politicians never utter an unplanned sentence.

Powell's deal about not asking for any ground other than to bury our dead soldiers -- an obvious great line written and stashed away for use at the appropriate time. I bet he's used it in other situations too.

That said, it takes great skill to keep those lines in mind and use them appropriately. Some never master it. Powell is very impressive.
I have a question53T
Apr 3, 2003 6:09 PM
Is there a difference between the behavior of politicians that you describe above (reading, listening, thinking, forming opinions and positions, remembering, aplying past conversations to current conversations) and being truly educated?
Most politicians I know are very bright andOldEdScott
Apr 4, 2003 6:10 AM
very well informed. Few are what I would call 'scholars.' But that's certainly no criticism. The few scholar-politicians I know tend to be insufferable ideologues.
Did you know Moynihan?mickey-mac
Apr 4, 2003 6:23 AM
He appeared to be an exception to that rule.
Oh yeah, he rose to the level of statesman. AnOldEdScott
Apr 4, 2003 6:37 AM
amazing mind. He transcended politics. Never met him, wish I had.
Bush has been blessedOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 9:54 AM
with some excellent speechwriters. I gotta give the SOBs credit. His acceptance speech ('the soft bigotry of low expectations') was masterful, and several of the others have been. David 'Axis of Evil' Frum, for whatever his considerable shortcomings as a thinker, is/was just terrific at putting together a memorable speech with bell-ringing lines.

It just drives me nuts. We Dems haven't had a great speechwriter, or delivered a great speech, since Mario Cuomo at the '84 convention. ('But there's another City, Mr. President.') Clinton was a great speaker, but was given crappy speeches to deliver. Partly his fault -- he was a wonk, he revised to the last minute and beyond, and he didn't trust the pros to put it together for him. He did a lot of the writing himself, and it shows.

Sometimes I claim to be the best Democratic speechwriter in the country. No one contradicts me, because there's not a real strong field of contenders for the title!
was "I feel your pain" Clinton's? nmDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 10:17 AM
Sounds hokey butOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 10:44 AM
it was a tremendously effective line to use against George H.W. Bush, who came across as patrician and out-of-touch with the economic hardships of average Americans. Remember him saying 'I don't understand your question' when the woman at the debate asked him how the recession had hurt him personally? Clinton 'felt her pain.' Wow. Game, set, match for Clinton.

DISCLAIMER: We're talking technicalities here, the political/rhetorical effectiveness of 'lines,' not whether Clinton was a right bastard who ruined Western civilization, so can we PLEASE not start a feeding frenzy of Clinton-bashing? I know: Fat chance.
I understandDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 10:50 AM
My question really was only whether that was speech-written or off-the-cuff?

I grew tired of Clinton bashing long ago, and generally only bring up references to him to demonstrate hypocrisy of some people currently bashing Bush. No need to get into that, though.

I think you nailed it; Clinton was a very good deliverer of speeches, but the substance (and truth ;-) was usually lacking.

It was a prepared line designed to appear off-the-cuff, nmOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 10:53 AM
we lawyers do this all the time, tooDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 11:05 AM
Nothing strange about it. Especially for appellate arguments, you have all sort of canned "mini-speeches" ready to use in response to judges' questions or rebuttal. As some may not know, appellate argument is about 90% answering questions and very little continuous argument. So, you try to have prepared something to say for any question the judges might ask. Probably not a whole lot different than a political debate or press conference.

Lawyers and politcians have an incredible amountOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 11:16 AM
in common. It's all about framing and arguing a case, staying on message, anticipating questions and objections. It's also, sometimes, similarly amoral (not immoral, mind you). You find yourself arguing somthing you don't necessarily agree with, to serve a larger political goal or strategy. Just as lawyers defend clients they're pretty sure are guilty, to serve the larger concept of justice.

When people talk about 'lying politicians,' they don't take into account that politicians are, like lawyers, advocates. They are necessarily one-sided and selective in what they say, and sometimes you just KNOW they don't mean it. Doesn't mean they're lying, any more than a lawyer is lying when he tells a jury his obviously-guilty client is innocent.
sure; and carryover here, tooDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 11:32 AM
Heck, I'd bet lots of us here say things that we don't 100% think, or at least completely acknowledge our arguments' weaknesses, for the sake of "taking a side" and sticking to it.

One of the clearest examples I've see were the Daschle comments about Iraq around 1998 and then recently. Total flip flop. We all know he's paid to be partisan, but then we still try to act, both sides, like they really believe it.

In some ways, law or politics, it's purely a game.

And we feign outrage about the flip-flop! HAHAHA! AndOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 11:48 AM
THAT's part of the game too.

I'll never forget the look on my wife's face, years ago, during the first campaign of our marriage, when she realized all this. We had just done some INSANE flip-flop on an issue. 180 degress at 90 mph. We like sold out 10,000 supporters on a minor issue to pick up 100,000 on a major one, three days before the election, and it happened to be something my wife cared about. I was just 'Oh well, next time maybe.' Totally unperturbed. Pissed her off. We has a fight, a long discussion, and at the end she sputtered: "Politics is just ... just ... a GAME!" To this day, she pays no attention whatsoever to my work, or to politics in general. She says its like basketball, which she doesn't watch either.
Mario Cuomo - 84moneyman
Apr 3, 2003 10:38 AM
I hate to admit this, being the reactionary that I am, but I was absloutely mesmerized by that speech. I remember it oh-so-well, watching from my in-law's living room on a hot August night. That was the year that I thought (shudder) that (Why do I feel the compulsion to admit incredibly embarassing and stupid actions to the world via the internet?)it wouldn't be so bad electing Jesse Jackson to the White House, and that I voted for Walter Mondale.

I hope that if I ever run for public office, this admission never comes out of the closet.

And the truly amazing thing isOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 10:49 AM
Cuomo wrote it himself, every word. Zow. My hat's off to him.

Matter of fact, a few years back I mailed him a transcript of that speech and asked him to inscribe it. Just to have a signed edition of that incredible piece of political literature. Signed by the AUTHOR. He was kind enough to do so. It's displayed in a place of honor in my library.
Can you imagine what Bush would say with no writers? (nm)ColnagoFE
Apr 3, 2003 10:58 AM
That would be very bad strategery. (nm)OldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 11:03 AM
beat me to it :-) (nm)DougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 11:06 AM
LOL! (I love the way Rush uses that word all the time!) nmOldEdScott
Apr 3, 2003 11:20 AM
Apr 3, 2003 2:20 PM
My paternal grandmother, who was very sharp witted, very sarcastic actually, used to say words wrong on purpose just to mess with people, and then argue what she was right. One "gray lady" (hospital helper) friend of hers was one of those very literal people, and never got it. My grandmother would sit around with our help and think up wrong ways to say things. I think Rush has a little of that in him, too.

Ever say things wrong just to get a rise out of people? Naw. Probably not... :-)

What I think is funnyOldEdScott
Apr 4, 2003 6:20 AM
is screwing someone's name up just slightly. It's an old trick (from an earlier era) in political campaigns. If I were running against you for sheriff or something, I'd say: "Who's this Doug Stone fellow? Never heard of him. Bet you haven't either. And he wants to be your SHERIFF?" You make someone a dismissive object of ridicule by not even getting his name right.

I ran a mayor's race once where our opponent called himself 'Save a Buck Chuck.' I instantly told my guy to start referring to him in every reference as 'Spend a Buck Chuck.' In the debate, my guy said: "Well, if you listen to old Spend a Buck here ..." It brought the house down.

It's sort of like calling the Contract with American the Contract ON America. I thought that was funny too.
Works in sports toomickey-mac
Apr 4, 2003 6:30 AM
The year Claudio Chiappucci burst onto the scene at the Tour, Lemond referred to him as "Cappuccino" throughout the race.
Barney F@g (nm)53T
Apr 4, 2003 8:35 AM
Apr 4, 2003 9:52 AM
ps: what's funny is that you can picture Bush saying it, too nmDougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 2:22 PM
"strategery" (nm)DougSloan
Apr 3, 2003 11:06 AM