April 30, 2008

Acorns and Oaks

In this speechwriting book, Presidential Speechwriting: From the New Deal to the Reagan Revolution and Beyond, I uncovered a great snip of a speech that reminds me of the ole He-Coon. One common cracker saying goes like this: "Even a blind hog will root out an acorn once in a while."

At a whistle-stop in Missoula, Montana, May 12, 1950, President Harry S. Truman spoke of acorns:

You know, some people will take a look at an acorn and all they can see is just an acorn. But people of Mike Mansfield's type are something different. They can see into the future. They can see a giant oak tree, with its great limbs spreading upward and outward coming from that acorn.
In Washington there are some men, no matter how hard they try, who can only see little acorns. I don't have to call any names, you know who they are. Even give them a magnifying glass, or even a pair of spyglasses, or even a telescope, they just shake their heads and all they can say is, 'I'm sorry, I can't see anything but an acorn there.'

Incidentally, Chiles was an admirer and contemporary of Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield.

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