I am not trying to impersonate Calvin Coolidge as Jim Cooke did so well after dinner last night. Nor do I pose as an expert in his life and work as President of the United States.
“Silent Cal” is one of the most famous sobriquets ever bestowed on an American president, right up there with Honest Abe, Tricky Dick, King Andrew (Jackson), and my personal favorite, His Rotundity (John Adams). As evident from this list, presidential nicknames are not necessarily bestowed out of affection, as with a pet name; they often have less to do with policy or accomplishments and more with the president’s personal attributes and idiosyncrasies. With Silent Cal, it appears to be both poking fun at his laconism and an indictment of perceived political weakness.
Coolidge Foundation Trustee Garland Tucker’s masterful new exploration of fourteen famous and not-so-famous American leaders who shaped the intellectual history of the conservative movement from the Founding of the Republic to our present age.