Ask not why a government leader would spend money on speechwriting
November 10, 2009
On slow news days, political journalists can always attack politicians for overspending on communications. Apparently the British reporters were swatting flies in the newsroom at the Guardian last week when they set out to answer, “How [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown paid West Wing Writers $40,000 for ‘tailoring’ speech.”
Well, it turns out Brown paid the Democratic writers’ group a total $40K for editing several speeches over a number of months that Brown was to deliver in the U.S.: “in several instances the remarks betray subtle sensitivity to United States political sentiment,” the Guardian reports. “For instance, they include references both to presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, and to ‘the bravery and valour of the Americans who gave that last full measure of devotion’—to many Americans an instantly recognisable reference to Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address.”
Sounds like money well spent, to me. And to borrow another recognisable rhetorical reference, I observe that U.S. presidents don’t hire local speechwriters to edit speeches given in foreign lands, and ask, why not?