Pundit Wire
Where Political Speechwriters Comment on the News

Cock-and-bull Candidates

In a secular, multicultural society, truth is just someone’s, or some group’s, point of view. Everything is relative. Under the surface, everything is political. Facts are just opinions backed by the power to enforce them. Objectivity is just oppression dressed up as science. You’ve got your fact-checkers; I’ve got mine.

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Delusional Politics Feed Public Frustration

trump and sandersIt would be nice if Jeb Bush could deliver on his promise to make America’s economy grow by 4% annually.

And it would be nice if Bernie Sanders could enact programs estimated to cost $18 trillion over a decade to provide us all with health and higher education without worrying about how to pay the bills, an outcome that would be more achievable if our economy grew 4% a year.

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GOP Presidential Math: 1X1= -15

What Trump and Bush have done is narrow the major focus of the race to two candidates and leave the other fifteen candidates and would-be candidates out in the cold, desperately jumping up and down trying to get anyone to pay attention.

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Clinton and Corbyn: The Fine Old Art of Dissembling

At the No More War event at Parliament Square in August. A Creative Commons stock photo. You don’t hear the verb ‘to dissemble’ so much these days, although Edgar Allan Poe knew just when to use it. Its synonyms include pretend, deceive, feign, masquerade, sham, bluff, pose, and counterfeit. It’s all about projecting a false if not dishonest impression, with a view to misleading.

Dissembling may have drifted towards desuetude, giving way to the more robust idea of ‘lying’, but the practice is alive and well. This week sees momentous examples from two ambitious politicians on either side of the Atlantic, both with a problem. How to deflect public attention from what they have really been doing, as their doings look embarrassing when subjected to closer scrutiny?

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A Speechwriter’s Hell

2Barton Swaim’s new book, The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, took me back to my own fumbling beginnings as a wordsmith. Flipping through the pages, I felt again what it was like to be sitting in the audience as fledgling speechwriter, listening to an important public figure deliver a speech that I had written, with “ears greedy for my own words.”

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Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_3_(cropped)The American Heritage Dictionary defines “trumpery” as follows:
1. Showy but worthless finery; bric-a-brac.
2. Nonsense; rubbish.
3. Deception; trickery; fraud.

In all, not a bad word to describe Donald Trump’s campaign for president.

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Republicans have the best bullies

mk_trump_72015_539_332_c1It’s too soon to know how badly Donald Trump damaged himself by belittling John McCain’s war record on July 18 in Iowa. After all, George W. Bush wasn’t hurt in the 2000 South Carolina primary when his operatives rumored that McCain had an illegitimate black child, nor was W hurt in the 2004 election when his Swift Boat surrogates defamed John Kerry’s war record, nor was McCain’s campaign for the 2008 Republican nomination derailed by his reputation as a bully and hothead.

Trump himself has until now been helped, not harmed, by insulting his GOP rivals as losers, clowns, dummies and lightweights. But his McCain slam gives other candidates an opening to mime indignation. For them, it can’t come a moment too soon, because Trump was on the verge of owning the machismo brand.
Photo by L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via Reuters

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“Have you no decency, sir?

Donald_Trump_March_2015So Donald Trump says that Sen. John McCain, who was a POW for over five years during the Vietnam War, who was tortured horribly during his confinement and who refused an offer of early release is “not a war hero.”

I am reminded of what a lawyer named Joseph Welch said over 60 years ago to another blustering bombastic bully who, to the shame of the GOP, was also a Republican: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

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