Title: Great Presidential Wit (.I Wish I Was in the...
Publication Date: 2001
Book Condition: Collectible: Like New
Dust Jacket Condition: Like New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by Dole on laid in book plate without inscription. First Edition with full number line. Bookseller Inventory # 10-1-959
Famous for his deadpan humor, New York Times bestselling author Senator Bob Dole here brings us his favorite witticisms and hilarious remarks of this country's commanders in chief.
Referring to his own run for the presidency, Senator Dole writes: "President Nixon and I have much in common. We both grew up amidst rural privation. We both served in World War II. We both served in the House and Senate. Of course, there are some differences as well. That's why we call him President Nixon."
Just in time for the inauguration and President's Day comes this delightful book chock-full of presidential quips and humor collected by Senator Dole -- one of the country's most recognizable political figures and commentator for Comedy Central's Indecision 2000.
Great Presidential Wit collects the former senator's favorite funny stories and remarks by and about American presidents -- from George Washington to the first president elected in the twenty-first century. Senator Dole tackles the assignment of ranking the presidents from the funniest (Abraham Lincoln) to the least funny (Millard Fillmore), and everyone in between. With chapters cleverly organized according to the senator's own opinions -- from "A Class by Themselves" (Lincoln, Reagan, the Roosevelts) and "Yankee Wits" (Coolidge, Kennedy) to "The Joke's on Them" (Taylor, Harding, Van Buren, Buchanan, the Harrisons, Pierce, Fillmore) -- Great Presidential Wit is the perfect antidote to the long political season.
Review: Friends and foes alike recognize that Bob Dole is one of the funniest men in American politics, and Great Presidential Wit is an excellent collection of wit and wisdom drawn from public life. It reads much like Dole's previous book, Great Political Wit, even if it has a narrower focus. Dole begins by ranking every president on a humor scale, and in doing so, he makes an interesting point: "At the top of the heap ... I place Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and the two Roosevelts. By most accounts they are also among the most effective chief executives. Coincidence? I don't think so." (At the bottom of the heap is Millard Fillmore. Writes Dole: "Don't get me wrong. Fillmore's been good for many a chuckle over the years. It's just that most of the laughter has come at his expense.")
Dole frankly assesses each president for his wit: "Now comes the part sure to keep this book out of several presidential birthplace gift shops," he deadpans. Here he is on John Adams: "Often cranky and full of insults--an eighteenth century Don Rickles." On George Washington: "First in peace, first in war, but middle of the pack when it came to humor." On Richard Nixon: "Those weren't jokes that were deleted from the Watergate tapes."
The bulk of Great Presidential Wit, however, is a collection of jokes and humorous stories. Sometimes they are old-fashioned knee-slappers. When Stephen A. Douglas called Lincoln two-faced, Lincoln asked the audience, "I leave it to you. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?" Sometimes they have a deeper meaning. "It has been my experience," said Lincoln on another occasion, "that folks who have no vices generally have very few virtues." Ronald Reagan fills up quite a few pages: "An economist is someone who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it'd work in theory," he once said. Calvin Coolidge, one of the most underrated presidents, turns out to be one of the best at combining wisdom and humor: "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business." Here's John F. Kennedy answering a reporter's question about how he became a war hero aboard PT 109: "It was absolutely involuntary. They sank my boat." Bill Clinton delivered this howler in 1995, on (humorous) ways the government can save money: "Combining the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with both the Bureau of Fisheries and the Interstate Trucking Commission. We're going to call it the Department of Guys." Great Presidential Wit is a joy to read or browse, and highly recommended for anyone who likes politics served with a dash of humor. --John J. Miller
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