The Stupidest Moments in Not-Very-Great Political Rhetoric (or When Political Speeches Turn Stupid)

It’s the day after the State of the Union address and pundits and plain people alike are rehashing, evaluating, and otherwise analyzing President Obama’s speech.

Here at, we’ve decided to turn our eye to other political speeches, ones we’ve been culling through for our upcoming book, specifically those that wound up . . . well, let’s just say a tad stupid  and definitely not as eloquent as the speechifying pol hoped.  Herewith the stupidest rhetorical clunkers in political speeches:

  • The argument about the Labor destroying any prospects of recovery may be deja vu here … It’s certainly not deja vu in the country.  It’s very much vu.  It’s very much what, er … It’s very much, er …  shows what sort of education I’ve had. —British MP Chris Patten
  • People don’t want hand outs!  People want hand jobs! —Connecticut Governor William O’ Neil at a political rally, followed by riotous applause

The Stupidest Hanukkah Observation Made During a White House Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Tonight the National Menorah in Washington D.C. will be lit to mark the first day of Hanukkah.   This annual event is typically marked by singing, celebration, and, of course, snappy soundbites from the politicians on hand.

Sometimes, though, said soundbites don’t quite work . . . as in the following we filed in our Can’t Argue with That Department:

Osama Bin Laden would never understand the joys of Hanukkah.
— President George W Bush in a speech at a Menorah-lighting ceremony at the White House

You know, we have a hunch he’s right.

The 10 Stupidest Things Said About the Economy, Banking, and So On By People Who Really Should Know Better

So many people are a little annoyed and a little worried after hearing that Wells Fargo is going ahead with foreclosures even after an employee said she signed off on 500 foreclosures a DAY without even looking at the paperwork.

We‛re here to tell you there‛s absolutely NOTHING to worry about.  Everyone in the finance industry – bankers, investment advisers, economists, why, even government officials dealing with the economy, are as trustworthy as can be!  Here’s the proof.

You should trust economists because . . .

•  They‛re always on top of things!

Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.  – Irving Fisher, economist, in a speech made nine days before the 1929 stock market crash

•  They always make a lot of sense!

It is a tricky problem to find the particular calibration in timing that would be appropriate to stem the acceleration in risk premiums created by falling incomes without prematurely aborting the decline in the inflation-generated risk premiums.  – Alan Greenspan, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, in testimony before a Senate committee, explaining why anti-inflation policies weren’t working

You should trust government officials when it comes to economic matters because . . .

•  They have unique insights into the future!

The worst effect of the [Stock Market] crash upon employment will have been passed during the next sixty days.    President Herbert Hoover, speaking in March 1930.  (He was wrong by 10 years)

• They have great ideas on how to improve matters!

The only way to get our economy going again and solve our budget problems is to get the economy moving.  – Sen. Minority Leader John Boehner on Meet the Press

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