The speechwriter’s ever-louder voice in politics (Parts One and Two)

Thirty years ago they lamented the profusion of speechwriters; now speechwriters Tweet their own complaints

The speechwriter’s louder voice in politics, part one. Roll Call founder and publisher Sid Yudain died earlier this month. He once lamented the loss of character in Congress, and the loss of personal agency among members. “During the 1950s and 1960s,” he told The New York Times, legislators “got by on their own—on their wits, their brains, their ability to charm an audience, mesmerize a rally. There wasn’t any TV, and they didn’t have a lot of staff people to tell them what to say. They had to be raconteurs, thinkers, statesmen, showmen. Now a person only has to comb his hair the right way and say what someone has written for them."

The speechwriter’s louder voice in politics, part two. That Yudain quote comes from the 1980s. Now we have speechwriters doing more than writing for their clients—but adding their own voices. Check out the Twitter feed of @amandacarpenter, self-described as “Speechwriter and senior communications advisor to Senator [Ted] Cruz. Proud DeMint alum. Mother of two. Tweets are mine. Washington, DC.”

She posts approximately every hour, sometimes quoting the Senator, other times making remarks of her own, like: “Has anyone tried reporting http://healthcare.gov  to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yet?” And once this week, asking her 47,561 followers for advice after twisting her ankle and falling down some stairs: “Any advice on when to go to urgent care versus waiting and icing?”

Speechwriter, how do you feel about the idea of Carpenter’s role as simultaneous speechwriter and surrogate. Are you: Disapproving, envious or both?

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