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Eloquent Barack Channels Silent Cal

Last night, I remarked on President Obama's paean at his press conference to the virtue of persistence. Indeed, the president embraced "that whole philosophy of persistence."

Today, a friend e-mails me the following from one of Barack Obama's predecessors:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

Who said this? The 30th president of the United States, a man not usually thought of as an inspiration for Barack Obama -- Calvin Coolidge.

By William Kristol  | March 25, 2009; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Kristol  | Tags:  William Kristol  
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blather. Despite Coolidge's reputation, and since I am not 134 years old it seems irrelevant, it stands as sound advice. Also, Coolidge was a Republican, so what is your point?

Posted by: jcck | March 25, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kristol,

I am heartened to see that you realize that Mr. Obama is not just another cookie-cutter liberal Democrat. He is an advocate of fairness, hard work, responsibility, and, yes, perserverance.

The fact that Calvin Coolidge once said something on the same subject does not make them kindred souls. (Take Coolidge's veto of the Veteran's Bonus Act, for example). I can't imagine any president making a statement AGAINST perserverance--can you?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I applaud this paper's sense of humor. Putting the scribbling of neocon scum and all around circus freak Kristol in the "Post Partisan" section is a laugh and a half.

Posted by: branfo4 | March 25, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse


You are great in propaganda war and turning good quality of your opponent to something to be worried about.

I never liked you and as a matter of fact your very presence disgust me but I admire your perseverance in belitteling O'bama.

Its a shame that Wapo keeps this idiot in their punditocracy.

Posted by: smart_sha | March 25, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Eloquent Barack Channels Silent Cal

How true a statement from Coolidge. It has proven to be true throughout the duration of time-Persistence and efforts from all to pursue a worthy cause. The agenda that President Obama has incorporated for restoration of our country is by all means a well display of his love and concern for us all. We have been down under long enough, yet we shall rise. I have confidence that should we turn from our evil ways here in America that the Creator will heal our land. Should we continue our disobedience, we could no doubt end up a collapsed nation.

Posted by: Nisey01 | March 25, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I am starting to feel pity for Mr Kristol week after week of having people thrash his columns in the Post. I don't necessarily agree with much in the neoconservative agenda, but I think the Post hired Mr Kristol to balance out their slightly left-leaning OpEds (possibly filling in the vacancy left by Bob Novak).

This 'PostPartisan' post truly as non-partisan as you can get. It feels almost like a 'twitter' thought of Mr Kristol than an OpEd. I don't usually pay enough attention to the PostPartisan segment to know if this is the typical length of the editorials there.

I wish Mr Kristol all the best in reviving his weakened reputation.

Posted by: scadolph | March 25, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting that, Mr. Kristol. I did think you gave short shrift to Persistence the other day. According to my wife, it was my persistence that won her, so I tend to think quite highly of the trait as I am very happily married.

Posted by: Holmes76 | March 26, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Kristol says nothing and gets paid for it. I need a job like that. In fact I am sure I can get soemthing right on occasion. Kristol has yet to achieve that status.

Posted by: palnicki | March 26, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

scadolph wrote:

"I think the Post hired Mr Kristol to balance out their slightly left-leaning OpEds"

Slighty left leaning?

That would be the slightly left-leaning stylings of Charles Krauthammer?

George Will?

Michael Gerson?

Am I getting warm?

The WAPO's copius offering of extreme right wing pundits is so extreme right that it would take much more than "slightly left leaning" on the part of any other pundits to "balance them out".

There is no one on the left at the WAPO anywhere near the degree that Kristol is on the far right, there's simply nothing like that. The WAPO suffers from that worst of Beltway blindness, thinking that the extreme right wing voices masquerading as "centrists" represent the country. They do this because whenever they publish anything truly moderate, a handful, but very loud handful, of Rush Limbaugh listeners deluge them with illiterate screeds.

They've ruined the newspaper all in the interest of keeping that tiny minority happy. And it still doesn't work, that's the ironic part, the dittoheads keep screaming.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | March 26, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, What a great mind you have Mr. Kristol. You managed to write an article saying great men are most often students of history, are often moved by a good idea or principle, they then incorporate, assimilate and grow based on what they believe to be good principles and then stand by them. Wow, who'd a thunk it......What was your point, sir, because I have a feeling it fell flat which usually happens when someone lets all their hot air out............

Posted by: mancoff | March 26, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

My mother talked about persistance, too.
And Bush yelped, stupidly and daily about "staying the course".

Twins, undoubtedly.

Isn't it a shame (disgusting) that WAPO had to jettison it's good columnists and has to use Kristol daily.

BUT Of course, he is one of the most devout Israel firsters, and that's what WAPO, (bought by Eugeue Myers, the current bunches' grandfather, a major and first financial supporter of israel) is all about.

Check it out. It's become obvious.

Posted by: whistling | March 26, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Kristol has been so very wrong so very often in the past that the approach he's now taking to writing "opinion" pieces is to basically say nothing at all. Two U.S. presidents have extolled "persistence" in speeches to the American people! What an astoundingly insignificant observation! And if A extolled persistence and B extolled persistence, then A must have been the inspiration for B! What an astoundingly bold example of the informal fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

But persistence isn't always a virtue. At least, the Washington Post's persistence in retaining Kristol as an example of "conservative wisdom" and Kristol's persistence in proving he's not.

Posted by: multiplepov | March 26, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I Google'd the word persistence and found 17,600 references. Within those references there are web pages with more quotable quotes and this adds to the definition of persistence. What I'm trying to say that anyone who has ever had a passion or desire to something has persevered. Mr. Kristol is undeniably guilty of this because he studied hard and graduated from collage and worked hard to be a journalist. The bottom line is that everyone who wants to be successful, liked, or a leader in their field has persevered. President Obama is stating a universal truth which Americans have forgotten, i.e. to get out of these mess we have to keep shoveling. And as we all know you don't stop shoveling until you hear the hollow thud of the treasure chest.

Posted by: Ahsay | March 26, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Bill Kristel missed the point of what his "friend" was trying to tell him.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Bill Kristel: Persistently wrong.

Posted by: BradW_S | March 26, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

And the significance of your friend's observation is what?

Posted by: anders1 | March 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What's your point you Ziocon propagandist perpitrator and traitor? Doesn't matter I hold the worms in my compost pile in higher regard.

Posted by: mot2win | March 27, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: smv604 | March 27, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The subtleties of great writing often go unrewarded. Persistence when coupled with intelligence and humility leads to awesome things. Persistence coupled with ego but without understanding apparently leads to the White House and the Foreign Diplomat Corps. Yes Julia, the Emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: newyorkmike | March 27, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
28 March 2009

Since President Obama has made it quite clear that he is PERSISTENT, does it follow that he will be a successful President--meaning he succeeds in stopping the economic crisis dead in its tracks, in laying the foundation for the U.S.'s future growth, progress, and prosperity, and in winning the "war on terror" in Afghanistan?

Is persistence all that it takes to successfully tackle these huge issues?

I have my usual reservations.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 28, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Thank God, this was short and to the point. The point, of course, is that Kristol is fresh out of ideas. Coolidge and Obama are a non-sequitur. And so is Kristol - of himself.

Posted by: raiffer | March 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

It was the Press (New York Times, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, MSNBC, Chicago Sun Times, et. al. ad nauseum) that stridently promoted the “wonders” of this untested, inexperienced, newcomer whose rise to power was unprecedented in the history of our Great Nation. The Press indorsed this fellow as the “savior of the country” and the true “American Idol” who’ll bring real change to Washington. The Press urged White Americans to beat their breasts in atonement for the calamity of slavery some 144 years ago by electing the first and only Black presidential candidate regardless of his competence.

Now the Press is bewailing his economic inadequacies, lack of focus and socialist predilection.

Why didn’t the Press speak up loudly ten months ago!!? Why did the Press allow this guileful, incompetant imposter to rise to such level of prominance that he will now destroy the greatest country on earth, burying us in a pile of debt so immense that our grandchildren’s taxes will still be paying off these irrational expenditures, and sabotaging the valuation of the U.S. Dollar as the world currency standard?

Now, where’s the Press? It was the Press’ job to bring to the people of the country the facts about the abilities of the candidates, even before they become nominees. the Press knew this man was not experienced and not suited to the presidency. Months ago, the Press put this political charlatan on a pedestal; he was the golden boy. Now the Press calls him anathema.

Now, our once-great nation is in an economic death spiral and the Press’ newly conceived opinion is too damned late!

Raymond Edwards

Posted by: redwards_mail | March 28, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Keep up the good work, Mr. Kristol!

Posted by: rgraves2 | March 30, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

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