Gravitas doesn’t fly
November 10, 2009
Last year around this time I was predicting that President Obama’s twenty-something speechwriting staff wouldn’t be around for long. You know, the whole campaign-in-poetry-govern-in-prose thing.
What were the odds that the same writer who could bring himself to work “yes we can” into a speech 20 times could also handle the infinitely subtle and decidedly less sexy grownup’s job of framing hairy debates, strategically zinging critics and making policy declarations with just the right amount of detail and just the right dose of optimistic vision?
But Jon Favreau and the team he leads have done the prose thing much better than I expected—so much better that when I read the Sunday New York Times piece on “The President Whose Words Once Soared,” I didn’t think, “I told you so.”
I thought a better headline would be, “The Guy Was More Fun Before He Was President.”
Of course his words don’t “soar” now like they did during the friggin’ campaign. And a good thing it is!