Ed Driscoll

"Startle The Country With Brevity And Focus"

Michael Medved writes that brevity is the soul of wit, especially when it comes to the SOTU (note our use of four-letter acronym as time-saving gesture, only slightly offset by pedantic time-wasting quip afterwards!):

Let’s face it: Most SOTU speeches are snoozers — even when delivered by first class orators like Reagan and Clinton. All the departments of government contribute their own ideas during the preparation period, and expect some nod from the president. These stately, lumbering addresses provide pomp and grandeur and lots of opportunity for partisan applause, but only rarely can anyone remember what the president actually said.

If Bush kept his remarks to less than a half hour (including applause) rather than the customary hour-or-more, he’d throw the opposition and the media (often the same thing, by the way) utterly off balance. Rather than listing all his hopes and plans in the speech, he should sketch out broad visions — and simultaneously release to the press and Congress far more detailed plans and proposals.

Speaking of throwing the opposition and the media utterly off balance, a couple of weeks ago, Hugh Hewitt asked a great question of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: why are transcripts of key speeches released beforehand? Why not keep your opponents guessing as long as possible?