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Windbag Politician

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"Somebody once said that a politician is a person who can talk for hours and never actually say anything. If that's true, Hideo Kojima could run for government and be emperor of the universe by mid-afternoon."

A kid-friendlier version of the Sleazy Politician, where the main purpose of elected officials is to bore the audience half to death with grand-sounding, but empty rhetoric. Frequently involves malapropers, apologies for their lack of expertise in speaking, and (broken) promises of being short and to the point.

Subtrope of The Bore. Sister trope of Old Windbag and Boring Religious Service. Compare Character Filibuster. Often a popular trait of The Generalissimo.


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  • An early 1980s 7-Eleven adnote  from the features members of a marching band fleeing the rambling speech of the town mayor to stop by the convenience store, followed by much singing and dancing.

    Comic Books 
  • Lucky Luke:
    • At the end of "Fingers", the mayor wishes to say a few words. Cut to several hours later, where he's still talking.
    • Another has Luke help build a bridge across the Mississippi which isn't completed by the time the opening ceremony comes around. Luke tells the governor to stall for time, which he does by announcing that on this day praise must be given to the Lord, and starts reading from the Bible, page 1. The bridge is finished by the time he gets to Job.
  • Asterix: The Helvetian assembly in "Asterix in Switzerland" consists of one chieftain making a speech and every other one sleeping deeply. When they switch out, the new one even says "I will be brief..."
  • Spirou & Fantasio. The mayor of Champignac is widely feared for his entirely improvised and metaphor-breaking digressions.
  • Justice Society of America infamously portrayed Adolf Hitler as a ranting and raving buffoon whose rise to power was attributed to a cult of personality and his charisma more than any actual merits; he was to be unable to fully comprehend the consequences of his own actions, making one wonder how this fool came to lead one of the most powerful armies in the world and get his hands on The Spear Of Destiny.

  • Lincoln. On the day of the vote, the speaker tells the audience they will now briefly recap the proposed amendment. Everyone bursts out laughing on "briefly".
  • The Witches of Eastwick. A newspaper editor is giving a long (multipage) speech which is interrupted when the title witches inadvertently cause a rainstorm.

  • Russian Humor: "Is it possible to wrap an elephant in one single Pravda newspaper?" - "Yes, if there's the full text of one of Brezhnev's speeches in it." The spoken version of such a speech would be even longer and more boring since Brezhnev was an old man and spoke very slowly.
    • In another joke, Brezhnev is on the third hour of his speech when the KGB identify and arrest a CIA agent in the audience. When Brezhnev asks how they were able to Spot the Imposter, the KGB reply, "Comrade General Secretary, as you yourself have often stated, the enemy never sleeps."

  • Dave Barry once mentioned the real reason Cuban troops were found all over the world in the seventies and eighties was that it was preferable to staying in Cuba, where they have to listen to extremely long speeches.
  • Paths of the Perambulator: When Clothahump wants to summon Nothing, he has his familius start reading a politician's campaign speech that's long-winded, boring, and full of empty promises AKA nothing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch has an interviewed man claim that "Speaking as Conservative candidate, I just drone on and on and on, never letting anyone else get in a word in edgeways, until I start frothing at the mouth and falling over backwards." He then proceeds to do just that.
  • The "Young Tory of the Year" sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie plays on the same idea, with competitors simply rattling off Conservative buzzwords of the Thatcher era for as long as the competition will let them. They're time-limited because it's a Serious Competition, but the clear expectation is that the Young Tory of the Year will be fully expected to be able to hold forth in that manner indefinitely.

  • The Capitol Steps parodied Bill Clinton's tendency to give long-winded speeches in "Don't Stop Talkin' Until Tomorrow."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Senator Snort from George Lichty's Grin And Bear It comics has a reputation for filibusters. One gag had a colleague remark that Senator Snort still has the floor, even though there's a new President in office.
  • In Shoe; Senator Batson D. Belfry displays this trope on several occasions; particularly during press conferences with Shoe and the Perfesser.

  • Bleak Expectations:
    • Pip Bin spends seven hours trying to lecture an MP on his poor behaviour. It's only after those seven hours he cops to the fact the man is dead. Years later, he justifies this ignorance on the grounds the pale features, glassy eyes and utter immobility are all normal attributes of an MP.
    • Later, in series 4, Pip travels to the most boring place in all of Britain, the House of Lords, as part of a plot to have a near-death experience so he can rescue his wife from the underworld. He's in luck, as Baron Arid Words is giving a lecture on evaporation. Pip soon finds himself bored to death.
      Baron Words: Evaporating at five imperial units per decade, drone drone, mutter, soft hum of tedious words...
  • Senator Beauregard Claghorn from The Fred Allen Show.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure OA6 Ronin Challenge. During the opening ceremonies of the Kumite tournament, the contestants march onto a field and take martial arts stances. A series of long-winded dignitaries then begin to give lengthy welcoming speeches. This is actually a Secret Test: the authorities are trying to weed out unqualified participants. Any of the contestants who moves even slightly during the speeches is immediately disqualified.

  • Hamilton:
    • The titular character eventually becomes prone to longwinded speeches once given a political position following the revolution. Lampshaded.
      Burr: [Hamilton] talks for six hours! The convention is listless!
    • As seen in The Trial of Levi Weeks, Alexander being this even when practicing law.
      Hamilton: Gentlemen of the jury, I’m curious, bear with me
      Are you aware that we’re making hist’ry?
      This is the first murder trial of our brand-new nation
      The liberty behind
      I intend to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt
      With my assistant counsel—
      Burr: Co-counsel. Hamilton, sit down!
      Our client Levi Weeks is innocent. Call your first witness.
      That’s all you had to say!
      Hamilton: Okay! ... One more thing—
      Burr: Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?
  • Hamlet: Polonius, King Claudius' counselor, is prone to being long-winded. Lampshaded when he says "Brevity is the soul of wit" at the end of one of his rambling speeches.

    Video Games 
  • Disco Elysium: Sunday Friend is a high-level government official for Moralism International. He preaches the virtues of Moralism through extremely long strings of meaningless jargon, and deflects any other questions about himself, the murder, or what he's doing in the apartment of a gay student in one of the city's poorest districts.
  • Mass Effect: After rescuing the party from an erupting volcano, Joker tells Shepard that he wants a medal for his actions. The paragon response it to tell him that if he gets a medal, it's going to require a ceremony where a bunch of politicians are going to give long, boring speeches. He quickly agrees that no medal is worth that.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Marco & the Galaxy Dragon, the Mayor is introduced giving a speech about how she wants to make Gold Cord into the kind of town where you can feel comfortable eating ice cream even in a crowded city and starts going off on a tangent about the ice cream parlor where she bought the ice cream cone that she was eating during the speech. The press then interrupt to ask her what the hell she’s talking about.

    Western Animation 
  • Not a politician per se, but when SpongeBob SquarePants was chosen hall monitor, he gave a long, boring acceptance speech (which includes a quote from an equally long speech from a famous hall monitor). By the time he's finished, class is over without him actually performing his actual duties.
  • An episode of Pinky and the Brain sees the duo encounter Algore the donkey, who is full of so much hot air that they can ride him like a hot air balloon.

    Real Life 
  • Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was infamous for doing this, his longest speech on record in Cuba clocking up seven hours and 10 minutes at the 1986 Communist Party Congress.
  • V. K. Krishna Menon's 1957 speech defending India's actions in Kashmir is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest speech delivered at the United Nations, Menon almost made it to the eight-hour mark when he collapsed on the podium (it served as both a sincere defense and a filibuster to prevent the Security Council from passing a resolution condemning India's actions). The longest speech at the general assembly was given by Fidel Castro (who else) in 1960, clocking in at 4 hours and 29 minutes. It was said that instead of listening, the delegates spent most of the speeches' run time carefully planning out everyone's lunch schedule so that too many people didn't accidentally leave at once and break quorum.
  • The runner-up is Muammar Gaddafi's incomprehensible 2009 address to the UN General Assembly, it consisted of 100 minutes of pure gobbledygook. One of the interpreters passed out from exhaustion. The Assembly generally adheres to a strict 15 minutes time limit for its speakers, but in the case of Castro and Gaddafi, trying to enforce that was judged to be more trouble than it was worth.
  • Third-world dictators during the Cold War in general were noted to be fond of this trope. One of the most egregious abusers has to be Kenneth Kaunda, first president of Zambia, who would not only make several speeches running up to five hours long every year, but would also broadcast them on the country's lone television channel. Suffice it to say, those Zambians who did have access to televisions were not pleased.
  • As a bit of subversion, Josef Stalin generally gave brief speeches (except for the Central Committee reports, which are by tradition quite detailed). Unfortunately, the speeches are liberally sprinkled with applause cues. As everyone's too afraid to be the first person to stop applauding, each round of ovations can last a good ten minutes.note  Stalin also knew about his own voice being rather high-pitched and hence not particularly "dangerous"/authoritative-sounding or anything, which is one of the reasons he comparatively rarely gave speeches, kept them short, and generally demanded them not to be recorded.
  • In Older Than Radio days, live speeches and debates were a form of public entertainment. In the Lincoln/Douglas debates, each candidate spoke for 90 minutes. Also, the now stereotypically bombastic oration was necessary before the invention of loudspeakers. That began to change with Abraham Lincoln making such an impression with his Gettysburg Address taking just two minutes that the featured speaker of the occasion, former Secretary of State and noted orator Edward Everett, praised him in writing for an eloquently concise speech. Incidentally, Everett spoke for a little more than two hours.
  • Boston Mayor Big Jim Curley famously said that his rhetorical technique was to first tell the audience what he was going to tell them, then tell it to them, then tell them what he had told them. Do note that this quote is often used in essay writing tips as the proper way to meet page length minimums.
  • This was how much of the nation was first introduced to Bill Clinton.
    • Clinton was first brought in to deliver the keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention where he was supposed to officially place Democratic Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis' name in nomination. Instead, Clinton went on a 32-minute speech, well past the 20-minute time limit, resulting in many of the delegates showing their boredom as Clinton droned on. In the end, the only applause Clinton would get was when he said "In closing".
    • The 1992 Democratic convention saw then-nominee Clinton's speech run for 53 minutes.note 
    • Averted in his first inaugural address; which Clinton later joked about its brevity at just under 15 minutes.
  • This is one of a few reasons why Chicago has been nicknamed "The Windy City": Chicagoan politicians are infamous for being corrupt and "long-winded".
  • British prime minister Arthur Balfour was noted for being this, mostly because opposition leader Henry Campbell-Bannerman was regarded as a much more natural speaker by comparison, resulting in Balfour constantly giving long, interminable speeches in parliament so as to diminish the time the opposition had to speak.
  • Played with by Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker, who in public was quite capable of giving powerful, incisive speeches. In private, however, he was notorious for going on seemingly endless anecdotes about his having previously known Winston Churchill, with his subjecting the newly-elected John F. Kennedy to one of these anecdotes causing JFK to call him a "boring son-of-a-bitch" to his wife Jackie, and helped spur the infamously terrible working relationship between the two men.
  • Former Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clementnote  had been invited to deliver the keynote address at the 1956 Democratic Convention in Chicago (where Clement was also considered a possible Vice-Presidential candidate). Clement, who had been known for delivering fiery stump speeches in his previous campaigns, delivered a strident speech that included jabs at President Eisenhower of "staring down the green fairways of indifference" (a poke at Ike's love of golf); called Vice-President Nixon the "vice hatchet man" and pledged not to crucify the American farmer on a "Republican cross of gold" (alluding to William Jennings Bryan and his famous "Cross of Gold" speech 60 years earlier), punctuated by frequent intonations of "How long, America? O, how long?" The speech, relatively well received at the time, has since appeared in lists of both the best and worst convention speeches of the television age; with Clement being passed over by Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson and the Democratic delegates in favor of fellow Tennessee Democrat Estes Kefauver, a Senator who had challenged Stevenson in the primaries. However, among those who thought well of the speech included the aforementioned Bill Clinton (mentioned abovenote ) as well as future Georgia Governor and Senator Zell Millernote 
  • The original concept of a filibuster stemmed from a common procedural rule that if someone is speaking on the floor of some form of government council, the council cannot perform any other business until that person has finished talking and cedes the floor. So if a member of that council wishes to prevent or at least delay the business of the council, one way to do so is to take the floor and start talking. And talking. And talking. Given that the person speaking is not required to remain on topic once they've started talking, said speeches can get quite boring once they run out of relevant subject matter and start saying whatever comes to mind or quoting random books in order to further pad their time on the floor. The all-time record for a one-man filibuster in the traditional mold is currently held by the late Senator Strom Thurmond, who talked nonstop for 24 hours and 18 minutes in protest of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.