The truth is, I cannot bear complicated public policy. Nor can most people, which is an important reason why many information campaigns run aground – because the policy wonks are steering the ship! Three ring binders don’t matter a whit to the large populations who admit they have little or no interest in public issues. And if they don’t care, what’s in it for the policy maker facing the tough decisions?
On the other hand proper care of the stories, and the people who tell them, are essential to getting to the nub of what people really care about. Good speechwriters sift through the policy stuff and translate the technical points weighing down public issues into the persuasive portrayals so important to moving the issue forward. And isn’t moving the issue forward what we’re after? Speechwriters pin wonks to the ground until the issue is distilled into the things people really care about. Jon Favreau, recently departed from the Obama White House, is especially brilliant (Holy Cross valedictorian, political science major and 30 years old)… but a wonk he’s not. And teamed with good speechwriters are the advance people. These people, pros in their own right, are charged with setting the table before the speech – the audience and its preparation, the media and its preparation, the stage and its visuals, the timing .. not to mention the speaker and her /his readiness … all in support of moving the policy ball down the field.
BTW I do look forward to Shields and Brooks every Friday . Who else spotlights where good policy is good politics, bad policy is good politics, and good policy is bad politics, either presently or on the horizon?