EB White In 1956: Candidates Only Claim ‘Unconventional Thinking’


From the November 3, 1956 edition of The New Yorker:

The impression one gets from campaign oratory is that the sun revolves around the earth, the earth revolves around the United States, and the United States revolves around whichever city the speaker happens to be in at the moment.

During a presidential race, candidates sometimes manage to create the impression that their thoughts are ranging widely and they they have abandoned conventional thinking. I love to listen to them when they are in the throes of these quadrennial seizures. But I haven't heard much from either candidates that sounded unconventional – although I have heard some things that sounded sensible and sincere.

A candidate could easily commit political suicide if he were to come up with an unconventional thought during a Presidential tour.