Why me, in fact–in USA Today, that is, with a column on why presidents might be more popular if they shut up more often.
Some day, it might occur to a president that one secret of preserving public support is to talk less. Before the 20th century, presidents spoke publicly very seldom, and then usually in the most general terms.
Our first 25 presidents gave an average of 12 speeches a year. And even this low average is skewed upward by late 19th century presidents, who began giving more speeches around the country after railroads made presidential travel more feasible. Washington averaged three public speeches a year; John Adams only one;Thomas Jefferson five; and James Madison— zero. Even President Andrew Jackson, thought to have introduced a measure of populism into presidential politics, averaged only one public speech a year.
This material, of course, is adapted from some new book that’s out and about this week (and which I note is opening the day at #499 on Amazon.)
Meanwhile, I have ended my Twitter virginity. Yes, I’ve joined the Twitterverse. If you like these things, you can follow me (I think) right here. (Still not quite sure I have the hang of this.)