Obama more pro-business than Coolidge?

A linguist comparing recent Obama speeches with Coolidge’s rhetoric today on NPR appears to think so. I’ll reserve judgment on this… but it seems to me that “rhetoric” is the key word here – where Coolidge was consistent in word and deed, Obama so far has been mostly talk and no action that would justify the label “pro-business”.

5 thoughts on “Obama more pro-business than Coolidge?

  1. I tried to post this comment on the NPR site but don’t know if I succeeded:

    Mr. MacWorter says of President Obama’s speech that he suggests that “government will change its ways to suit the preference of business, as opposed to, for example, a rather similar speech in intent that Calvin Coolidge made in 1925 . . . where he made the famous quote, ‘The chief business of the American people is business.’ ”
    I question Mr. MacWorter’s ability to fathom President Coolidge’s “intent” in his address to Newspapers Editors in 1925. It is interesting to run a word count but not very illuminating. Coolidge was not delivering a “business speech” – the title of his address was: “The Press Under a Free Government”. The reference to business was in the nature of an “aside” – He was defending the financial interests of newspapers and observing that the idealism of the American people takes precedent over interest in business.

    • Jim, you no doubt have noted that I “borrowed” (to use a charitable term) the news item from Joe Thorndike’s SilentCal blog. Your comment is valid, and it is unfortunate that the misplaced emphasis on the truncated Coolidge quote keeps getting airplay. As you say, word counts can only tell you so much about the intent of a speech. The whole comparison is at best rather superficial, with no acknowledgement of the personal and situational context.

  2. Obama never has, and never will cut taxes by 20% and expenditures by 35% like Coolidge did. It’s all rhetoric.

    And Obama’s policies won’t get the unemployemnt rate down to 3.2% while increasing per capita income by 30% like Coolidge did either.

    Kai, I know that you already know this. It’s just that I feel so much better by saying it. Regards, and keep up the great work on your blog. JB

  3. What President Obama says and what he does are two entirely different things.

    Obama will never reduce taxes by 20% and also reduce government expenditures by 35% while at the same time decreasing the unemployment rate to 3.2% and increasing per capita income by 30% as Calvin Coolidge did.

    Kai, I know that you know all of the above. However, I feel much better after having stated these facts.

    Calvin Coolidge is a great and good man. His legacy lives on. We can only hope that President Obama will do some research on Calvin Coolidge and try to repeat some of Coolidge’s policy accomplishments.

    • JB, I’m entirely in agreement with you and I can’t imagine anyone seriously comparing the two. Somehow I doubt Obama will ever try to emulate Coolidge…they’re really worlds apart in terms of outlook, character and personality. I’m sure President Obama has his qualities, it’s just that I totally disagree with most of what he is doing or trying to do.

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