By Jack Jodell, Dec. 7, 2011
As I look over the current seeming parade of 2012 presidential wannabes we have seen from the Republican side thus far, I am struck by how downright provincial and totally unqualified most of them have shown themselves to be for the office. Whether it has been Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Herman Cain, few have exhibited much knowledge of the world around them, and many obviously prefer to exist in their own made-up world of limited scope and delusional cliches. Simply put, few of this batch have what the office of President actually requires. They are one-dimensional, lacking the necessary breadth or depth. This becomes even more evident when we compare these to the great past Presidents of history. NONE of them can hold a candle to the likes of Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, or even Abraham Lincoln, in terms of their knowledge of the world around them and the major issues or forces which influence their times. Instead, they seem to be immersed with special interests or those bearing little widespread importance…
We have had 43 different Presidents in our history. One of them, Grover Cleveland, served two non-consecutive terms and that is why President Obama is considered our 44th President. Of these 43 different leaders, I have heard the actual speaking voice of more than HALF of them; 22 to be exact. Through old gramophone, victrola, and film clip recordings, all of which can be found at YouTube, YOU, TOO, can have the same privilege. I ran this info a little more than a year ago over at my old blogspot site, and I am repeating it here today, this time complete wuth hyperlinks and a few extras. As you click on each President’s link, listen to how contemplative and intelligent most of them were. I’m sure you’ll agree their degree of sophistication and speaking tones are quite a contrast with what we have today! For these Presidents spoke from an era when by and large the opposition party was a LOYAL opposition which didn’t engage in obstructionist methodology and wasn’t limited by strict, unyielding ideology. These individuals knew their stuff, and were dedicated to doing what they believed would be best for the country, not only that which was politically expedient at the moment. We could certainly use a return to such governance today!
Here, then, beginning with president-elect Benjamin Harrison way back in 1889, a full 122 years ago, is a chronological listing of each President’s actual speaking voice!
BENJAMIN HARRISON, 23rd President (1889-1893), Republican
A mere 24 years after the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison made this voice recording of the President-elect. This is the oldest-known recording of any U.S. President!
GROVER CLEVELAND, 22nd and 24th Presidents (1885-1889) and (1893-1897), Democrat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcyhqq6Q_bo This is from an 1892 campaign speech given before his secord term began. He was the first Democrat elected President since before the Civil War, and the last one until Woodrow Wilson, 15 years after his second term ended.
WILLIAM McKINLEY, 25th President (1897-1901), Republican
Hear candidate McKinley, very aristocratic and eloquent, as he campaigns from his front porch in Ohio in 1896 for his first term. He won election that fall and successfully guided us through the Spanish-American War in 1898. Immensely popular, he was re-elected, but then assassinated by an anarchist only three years later, not even five months into his second term.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, 36th President (1901-1909), Republican
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv-VNTtUYZo and also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5XlY4nKJI
Hear this very articulate and aristocratic-sounding trustbuster as he speaks in 1916, running again unsuccessfully for President after having had four years off following his very influential previous two terms. (His entry into the race created a split among Republicans which enabled Woodrow Wilson to become the first Democratic President in 16 years). Today’s ultra-conservative Republican Party wpild be well-advised to give his second link several listens, and even memorize it!
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, 27th President (1909-1913), Republican
Listen to this very last progressive Republican President, and the only President ever to subsequently serve on the Supreme Court, giving a very scholarly and eloquent anti-war speech in 1909!
WOODROW WILSON, 28th President (1913-1921), Democrat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcnbDQKsBoE and also
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo2FCQy5fMI Hear the President who guided us through World War I, who worked tirelessly for the creation of a League of Nations, who created the Federal Reserve Board, and the man who was President when our modern income tax came into being. as he is running for the presidency in 1912 and then as he addresses native-Americans early in his first term the next year!
WARREN G. HARDING, 29th President (1921-1023), Republican
This is the President who surrounded himself with crooks and gambling buddies who soon embroiled his administration in the notorious Teapot Dome scandal. Not the brightest bulb on the tree, he was nonetheless arguably much more intelligent than our recent George W. Bush. Hear him campaigning for the presidency in 1920. You’ll soon notice he’s every bit as dull and uninspiring as a conservative Republican can be. Here’s your cure for insomnia, folks!
CALVIN COOLIDGE, 30th President (1923-1929), Republican
Listen as this tight-lipped, very conservative Republican with the nerdy voice speaks early in his presidency, in 1924. This, incidentally, is the first sound fulm of an American President, havomg been filmed experimentally prior to the commercial release of “talkies” three years later. His message sounds as tired then as it does today, and provides proof that our current Tea Party and conservative Republicans are peddling the very same unoriginal philosophy Coolidge did back almost 90 years ago! No wonder Reagan liked this wholly uninspuring dullard so much…
HERBERT HOOVER, 31st President (1929-1933), Republican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbkMh-XcY88
I have never failed to be amazed at how this President, who had so nobly marshaled tremendous resources to feed the starving population of Europe just after World War I, could be so inept with half-hearted attempts to marshal resources for his own people in the first few years of the Great Depression. Here he is at Madison Square Garden in 1932, angrily denouncing Franklin Roosevely’s proposed New Deal, something which DID come to the direct aid of many starving Americans when adopted after Hoover was soundly defeated!
If we only look at the pictures of these past, dead Presidents, it is easy to think of them as cold, lifeless, and stodgy, with no human warmth or feeling. But when we actually hear them speaking, it brings them to life for us in a way no photo can ever do. We’ve all seen and heard clips from Franklin Roosevelt up to our cirrent President so I am not presenting any of those here now. But as we have listened to the actual words and inflections in each former President’s voice, it is undeniable to assert that almost all of them were well-educated and eloquent speakers and thinkers, and nearly all of them were well qualified for the position they attained.
Regrettably, the same cannot be said for most of today’s current Republican front-runners.