Calvin Coolidge, the Man Who Is President

By William Allen White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE COOLIDGE MYTH

"What is your hobby?" asked a Washington lady of Calvin Coolidge who had at the time just stepped into his tenth consecutive political position in a quarter of a century.

"Holding office," cackled the dry Presidential voice in the answer which was considered a good joke in those latitudes.

But it was no joke. Coolidge never jokes. He is brief, and brevity is the soul of wit, but with Coolidge wit is a mere by-product of brevity. And this is a queer, deeply significant thing about him: He thrives on his by-products. He made his living out of law. He had made his life out of politics. He learned little and earned little at the bar. The law, to which he has devoted himself earnestly, has yielded him barely board and clothes and a roof for his family. Politics, which he followed as a diversion, as a hobby if you will, taught him how to be useful and gave him fame. Always we must bear in mind in considering the Coolidge career that politics was financially a liability to Coolidge. He held only offices of honorary service; at the best, of

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