Book Report: Great Presidential Wit by Bob Dole (2001)

This book collects some humorous anecdotes and quips from each president, ranked by how humorous the presidents were (according to Bob Dole, I guess) as well as the Al Gore and George W. Bush, who were running for President in the year in which the book was written.

Only a few of the anecdotes are truly examples of the President’s wit, and most of those come from recent presidents whose every utterance and quip lies either in archival television footage or in Presidential library complexes. Other anecdotes include amusing anecdotes about the President or the President’s family or insults and barbs directed at the President.

That said, it gives a little historical insight into the conditions of each President and his times and tribulations that everyone could probably use now and then. However, the arrangement of the Presidents not in historical order makes this a little more tricky to put into historical context. It also provides perspective into how vile politics has been throughout history. Somehow, in our current self-flagellating ways, we have forgotten this in a quest to be the worst ever at everything.

And as every one of these books leads to Jeopardy!, reading this book let me question the answer “This US President’s son died as a pilot in World War I.” So I got to impress my wife anyway.

A good little read.

Books mentioned in this review:

4 thoughts on “Book Report: Great Presidential Wit by Bob Dole (2001)

  1. Me, specifically.

    I was seven years old and on a family trip to DC. Tourists were allowed to sit quietly in the Senate galleries for ten minutes at a time. But the chamber was designed before modern acoustics, so instead of carrying sound from the well to the galleries, it carried sound from the galleries to the well. So it was absolutely critical to remain silent while in the galleries.

    Alas, I was seven, and rambunctious at the time even by my lofty standards, and was not quiet. So Senator Dole, who was giving a floor speech at the time in a nearly-empty chamber stopped, turned, and glared up at the gallery where my family sat. He said “Will someone get that kid to shut up?!”

    It was my one brush with political fame.

    But it might not be the last. Perhaps the Brian J. Noggle political star will rise. And years from now, people will confront me and say, “Hey! You used to be a regular at Noggle’s blog!” And I’ll say, “No, I never knew him!”

    During the impeachment proceedings, I may have to fess up, but otherwise, I’ll disappear, like eighteen minutes of audio tape.

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