Monthly Archives: September 2009

Can We Learn Any Lessons From Qadhafi’s Speech to the UN?

Last night, I ran into a friend of mine who works for our ambassador to the United Nations.  Before we’d even said hello, I blurted out, “I need to see a transcript of Qadhafi’s speech.” I wanted to look at it, not as a policy document, but as a speechwriter.  What makes a speech an […]

Obama’s (Truly) Soft Power

Wesley Pruden has a column quoting WHWG’s own Clark Judge at the Global Security Review conference in Geneva. Clark said he was surprised by the depth of the skepticism about the President abroad.  “The impression emerged for me,” Clark says, “that Mr. Obama’s riveting rhetoric is in danger of turning from a plus to a […]

Tehran Talking Points

The Today Show had a segment this morning that brought forward family members of the three hikers who wandered into Iran and still remain in custody. The hikers have been imprisoned for months now.  Their understandably distraught families brought a predictable element of pathos to this interview that seems to supercharge ratings.  But this story […]

William Safire, Reporter

When the Gray Lady hired William Safire, it set off a lot of nabob-nattering about the propriety of giving a column to a former PR flack who had worked for Nixon.  Many speechwriters have become columnists, but none has matched Safire for his tenacious dedication to uncovering the truth.  Over the years, Bill Safire proved […]

Words With Which to Woo

It’s Friday. Perhaps you don’t have any social plans this weekend. Perhaps you’d like to find someone special to spend your weekends with. Perhaps Mike Gerson’s been freaking you out. Podium Pundits is here to help. Online hooker-upper OkCupid presents a helpful analysis of which words win hearts and which words turn potential lovers cold. […]


From West Wing Writers associate David Litt: Here’s a link to the New York Times online “Opinionator” feature, where West Wing Writers’ Jeff Shesol blogs about the demands of the 24-hour news cycle and the idea of presidential “overexposure.”

Sarah Palin in Asia

Sarah Palin spoke on Wednesday to an investor conference in Hong Kong. The Wall Street Journal published excerpts. Recognizing the limitations of reading excerpts, a few concerns arose. Governor Palin’s remarks were organized under a loose banner of “common sense.” For instance, she described herself as a “common sense conservative” and said “common sense” is […]

Matt Latimer’s Speech-Less, Round Two

Bruce Bartlett lists my prior response on Matt Latimer’s Speech-Less as being among those reflexive, circle-the-wagons Republican responses to criticisms of George W. Bush. Actually, my reflexive, circle-the-wagons reaction was against speechwriters betraying the trust of their presidents.  On substance, I have to agree with Bartlett that Latimer offers disturbing corroboration of what appeared to […]

First Amendment Smackdown

Congress’s most notable First Amendment warrior, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, is a little steamed about Democrats’ latest efforts to squelch opposition to government health care. You may have seen that Humana, a health insurance company and provider of Medicare services under the Medicare Advantage plan, sent a letter to its customers letting them know […]

Matt Latimer’s Speech-Less

William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal skewers his former hire, Matt Latimer, for writing a kiss-and-tell about his tenure in the Bush White House. McGurn writes: “Bringing him [Latimer] into the Oval and getting him on Air Force One was a (losing) attempt on my part to get the president to warm up to him. […]

Voices of Moderation

Last night, President Obama appeared on Late Show with David Letterman to reaffirm his position that people who oppose government health care are nuts, while he is just another in a string of great leaders who’ve tried to “bring about significant changes” in American life. You know, FDR, Reagan, Obama. (I think I found a kindred […]

Where Have I Heard That Before?

Associated Press, September 17th, 2009: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the anti-government rhetoric over President Barack Obama’s health care reform effort is concerning because it reminds her of the violent debate over gay rights that roiled San Francisco in the 1970s. Anyone voicing hateful or violent rhetoric, she told reporters, must take responsibility […]

President Obama’s Strange Priorities

Yesterday President Obama spoke to college students at the University of Maryland and, through Facebook, across the land. After getting everyone ginned up about the awesomeness of his election, and their part in it, the president said: There are still those in Washington who are resistant to change – who are more willing to defend […]

The Essence of Truth

The Wall Street Journal news pages are following up on a contention made in an op-ed the newspaper ran, namely that President Obama was a little loose with the facts in his big health care speech. In an article headlined “Obama Used Faulty Anecdote in Speech to Congress,” reporter Jonathan Weisman writes: President Barack Obama, […]

20 World Leaders in 17 Syllables

Got a yen for poetry? The Wall Street Journal reports on a haiku contest sponsored by a Pittsburgh nonprofit offering people the chance to opine on the upcoming G20 meeting in the city. The winning entry (which isn’t all that good in my opinion) will be displayed on a theater marquee near the event site. […]