Under the banner of the “See Something, Say Something” program, the two agencies will work together to teach citizens ways to help identify potential terrorists or prevent criminals from carrying out their grisly deeds.Read More
Author Archives: John K. Herr
Commencement addresses are tricky for the political speechwriter. The audience is young and distracted. They did not come to see the speaker, a politician who is never more than a sentence away from a flash-mob eyeroll.
President Barack Obama found a way around this dilemma. His commencement address Sunday at the Ohio State University was a full-throated defense of his political agenda, backed by an attack on his opponents as un-American. He carefully built up strawmen, then casually torched them in his insouciant style.Read More »
Following the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, here are a few memories off the top of my head:
WASHINGTON D.C. — Conservatives in Washington, still smarting over their electoral defeat in November, held a conference Tuesday to offer new strategies to attract the votes of the Hispanic community.
The forum, entitled “Reaching Out: Sharing the Message of Liberty With All Americans,” was simulcast on C-SPAN.
“Our message is simple: it’s freedom and economic opportunity,” said Robert “Red” Flange, author of the best-selling book “Invaders: Why We Continue to Welcome Terrorists and Criminals to Our Shores.”Read More »
My fellow Americans, 51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that, “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress. It is my task to report the State of the Union. To improve it is the task of us all.”
(APPLAUSE)Read More »
My political epiphany occurred there, too. (No, not at the hot tub party. In California.)Read More »
“What did you think of it?” President Abraham Lincoln asked friends after delivering his second Inaugural Address. Like an indie movie director, he was confident in his creation but nervous about public tastes. “I believe it is not immediately popular,” he wrote.
Of course, he needn’t have worried. The second-shortest Inaugural Address became one of the most widely quoted. It helped usher in the modern age of political communication. Its final paragraph is a touchstone of American compassion and leadership.
It was also a failure.Read More »
The news from Newtown, Connecticut is unbearably sad. But bear it we must. We have no other choice.
To guide us out of our despair we rely on teachers and pastors and, yes, politicians. “Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it,” President Obama said at an interfaith vigil on Sunday. “Newtown, you are not alone.”
A speechwriter’s greatest responsibility follows a great national crisis. He or she must convey the right mixture of empathy and strength, of horror and hope — never minimizing the darkness, but always pointing toward the dawn.Read More »