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A VERY SOUTHERN AVERSION? | 2002-11-02

Because the liberals and respectable conservatives who do interviews are neither bright nor perceptive, they let the people they interview get away with the most superficial evasions.

So when a politician is asked a question he often starts talking to himself. Someone asks him about a proposal he supports, and he begins the kind of dialogue with himself that one normally only hears from people who are seriously senile.

"Is it perfect?" The politician asks out loud. "No, it's not a perfect policy," he answers himself. With the interviewer sitting there silent he goes on, "Will it do what needs to be done? Yes." And then he proceeds to make a little speech in answer to his own softball questions.

Politicians have begun to have these dialogues with themselves in the middle of speeches. To me it is a bit shocking. I think it is shocking to me because it strikes me as so rude.

There is nothing more rude than the nitwit who starts asking himself questions when talking to someone else: "Is it perfect?," he asks himself. "No, it's not perfect," he answers himself. That person is treating his audience or his interviewer as if they did not exist, and treating others as if they aren't there is the height of bad manners.

I have not yet seen a Southern politician do that, though I have not seen all the examples. I hope this habit of talking to himself in the middle of an interview or a speech is the kind of thing only a New Englander would find acceptable.

Nobody should put up with it.