No, Caroline, we don't know

I have no opinion -- none at all -- about whether Caroline Kennedy would make a good senator. But for someone with a law degree and now political aspirations, she's astonishingly ill-spoken


It's not necessarily admirable in consumers of political rhetoric like me that we focus more readily on "um"s and "you know"s than on what the person is saying. But we do, and it's no surprise that we do -- English teachers and speech coaches have been making this point forever. 

I never whaled on Sarah Palin for the way she talks, because there isn't much reason to suppose she could do better. She doesn't have a fancy education, and she doesn't come from a place that's world-renowned for its intellectual life. But Kennedy is a different story. She has the best education money can buy and every possible reason to know what accomplished public speaking sounds like. And she still sounds like a dope, because of those "um"s and "you know"s. 

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In