Good advice from Silent Cal

In this blog, I’ve frequently quoted from the syndicated daily column Coolidge contracted to write after leaving the presidency. He only did that for one year, and as his very lucrative contract was about to expire, he decided not to continue. Naturally, there was speculation as to his reasons. Henry Stoddard, at the time the former publisher of the New York Evening Mail, demanded of Coolidge why he had thus decided.

“I’ll tell you a story about reasons,” Coolidge responded. “A Massachusetts Governor some years ago appointed a judge. He named a young lawyer. The latter called and expressed his gratitude. ‘There’s just one piece of advice I care to give you as to your course on the bench,’ said the Governor. ‘Give your decisions – they may be right; but don’t give your reasons – they may be wrong.’ And so, I’m not going to give you my reasons. I’ve decided to stop.”

Come to think of it, similar reasoning may have been behind his refusal to elaborate on his 1927 statement that he “did not choose to run” for re-election. His decision made, he did not care to state his reasons.