Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ah, Republican dignity. In the wake of Reagan's funeral, his speechwriters are getting into a public catfight about which of them Ronnie loved more.

Which wouldn't even be remarkable, among all the other tawdry Republican idiocy out there. (Denny Hastert was pushed from back bench obscurity to Speaker of the House because no one had any dirt on him, unlike his predecessors, Gingrich and the barely-there Livingston). What makes it remarkable is their hubris. I think most people would readily acknowledge that Lincoln's inaugurals, and the Gettysburg Address, were a few really good speeches -- but not that Lincoln won the war with them. Compare and contrast:

The saga of how the speechwriters got around senior Administration officials to get speeches President Reagan wanted to give in his hands is one of untold heroism.

Folks like George Schultz and James Baker desperately tried to prevent Reagan from uttering the most famous lines of his presidency, such as Reagan’s calling the Soviet Union an Evil Empire or demanding, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The speechwriters were the focus of the effort to advocate and implement the Reagan Doctrine, the strategy that brought down the Soviet Empire.

When you've got speechwriters, who needs diplomats?

Which, come to think of it, may explain a bit about the place of the Department of State in Dubya's administration...


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