Magazine December 31, 2011, Issue

Street-Corner Conservative

Speechwright: An Insider’s Take on Political Rhetoric, by William F. Gavin (Michigan State, 172 pp., $24.95)

For three decades, Bill Gavin has been numbered among the best and most trusted speechwriters in Washington, giving words to the thoughts of such men as Nixon, Agnew, Reagan, Sen. James Buckley, and House minority leader Bob Michel. It is to Jim Buckley and Bob Michel, both of whom “exemplified what it is to be a good man,” that he dedicates this book addressing both the nature of rhetoric and the practical aspects of crafting political speeches, all in the context of a well-told personal narrative.

“I believe writing speeches is something less than an art but more than a mechanical

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The String-Pullers

Barack Obama initially ran for president invoking Abraham Lincoln, then looked to Franklin D. Roosevelt and even appealed to Ronald Reagan. He began campaigning for reelection as Harry Truman running ...
Politics & Policy

An Unavoidable Challenge

Our political calendar and one of our nation’s greatest threats have synchronized. In the upcoming year, the American people will render their judgment on Barack Obama’s presidency. Meanwhile, if the ...
Politics & Policy

The Z-Word

A few weeks ago, a Labour MP in Britain, Paul Flynn, expressed displeasure with his country’s ambassador to Israel. “I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories,” he said, “but ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Tintin Triumphant

I first encountered Tintin, the Belgian comic-book artist Hergé’s immortal reporter-detective, while trailing behind my parents in one of the many pretentious secondhand shops that clutter up southern New England. ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Send Drones, Not Soldiers Jamie M. Fly’s “Retreat — But Whose?” (December 19) turned me from a supporter of the war in Afghanistan to a skeptic. If these are the best ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ President Obama told 60 Minutes that mending the economy “probably takes more than one president.” Hey, we’ve been saying that since January 2009. ‐ Obama, having tired of performing his ...
The Bent Pin

Tingling for Camelot

That barometer of our jejune times, Chris Matthews’s oh-so-sensitive leg, is all aquiver with a brand new thrill. Four years ago it was Obama’s oratory that triggered the hot-cold sensations that ...
Athwart

Crude Ethics

A website aimed at design professionals had a piece this month about keeping your ethical character snow-white when asked to work for dubious clients. Star profile: a young fellow who ...
The Long View

The President’s Schedule

Dec. 13, 2013 (All times approximate.) 6:30 a.m. President and Mrs. Gingrich wake to soothing white-noise generator. Closed Press. 7:00 a.m. President and Mrs. Gingrich attempt “Downward Facing Dog” yoga pose. Pool Spray ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

JANUARY Why comes the winter with its bitter winds, its drifts of snow and ice that run too deep, as though the Earth the summer’s warmth rescinds and kills the rose we tried past ...
Happy Warrior

The Mutant Present

Flipping channels in my hotel room the other night, I caught ten minutes of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, a film I like enormously. It’s an “old” movie, from the Fifties, ...

Most Popular

Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More
Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More
Elections

The Establishment vs. the Radicals

Today is the first day of October. If you think 2020 has been rough, you’ve just got to make it through three more months. We can do this. On the menu today: a long look at the simmering behind-the-scenes fight between the Democratic Party’s establishment and radicals over who will be calling the shots in ... Read More
Elections

The Establishment vs. the Radicals

Today is the first day of October. If you think 2020 has been rough, you’ve just got to make it through three more months. We can do this. On the menu today: a long look at the simmering behind-the-scenes fight between the Democratic Party’s establishment and radicals over who will be calling the shots in ... Read More