I think most of us who follow politics can agree that there’s been steady deterioration in the quality of speeches given by major candidates of both parties over the past few years. Speeches that should speak to specific facts and address real issues have become so much vanilla blather, devoid of any real substance. Candidates timidly avoid staking out their positions with any specificity, choosing instead to couch their message in vagueness — or in the case of the right wing, coded language — that allows them to scamper away from any heat the message might engender and to be able to manipulate that message to make it sound a bit different for the next audience.
Some of you may be old enough to remember the speeches of John F. Kennedy in the early 60’s that still resonate as some of the greatest presidential oratory of the 20th century.
When candidates “dumb down” their message so they can triangulate between different constituencies in order to placate, or at least not alienate, certain voters, those messages lose all moral force and any real visionary quality or appeal. Some of you may be old enough to remember the speeches of John F. Kennedy in the early 60’s that still resonate as some of the greatest presidential oratory of the 20th century. If you didn’t hear them in real time, you’ve undoubtedly seen video clips, or read or heard phrases from those speeches that live on. Kennedy’s speech writer at that time was Theodore C. Sorenson, who worked first for JFK while he was a senator and then in the White House. He was a gifted wordsmith about whom pundits have said he and Kennedy were Continue reading