So, when did the rules of politics change to allow poor rhetoric and rambling, stream-of-consciousness speeches as the standard? First Sanford keeps blathering on about his personal mess, much to the embarassment of his poor wife and family, and now Palin steps in front of the camera and just keeps yammering away, no written speech in place. Don't believe me? Check out this transcript. Seriously. Read it now. It won't take long. I'll wait right here...See what I mean? Couldn't her speechwriters have convinced her to go out with an outline, at least? An index card??? Sad. Very sad.
What ever happened to the art of oratory? What has become of the American rhetoric that has made this country great, has inspired and restored hope in our darkest hour? What happened to hearing a speech and getting goosebumps or tearing up over the kind of inspiration, the beautiful crafting of words, that bring out our better nature? One of the reasons I am so happy to have an actual literate, thinking person as president is the fact that he speaks so eloquently to the issues at hand. Look back at so many of the Democratic speeches throughout the last campaign. When John Edwards lost the Iowa caucus, his speech roused his supporters to great heights. When Hillary vowed to continue on until the race was all over, we cheered. As far back as political speeches go, they have been known to make or break a candidate. The link above to American Rhetoric, will remind you what speeches used to, and ought to, sound like. Maybe Palin needs a reminder.
Some say that Palin is announcing her resignation today in order to focus on a 2012 presidential bid. Some say that she realizes she's a distraction to the work her party and state are trying to accomplish. Others still say she's actually had it with the nastiness of politics. (I have a hard time believing that one, as she propagates it constantly...) If that was her last set of remarks as a governor, if that was the best she and her handlers could do, as I said before, it's very sad. Sarah, stick with short, sweet, and tasteful. And try to avoid the use of ad libs, and don't use all caps in your transcript next time. Let the words you deliver have the power to move us, instead of the typeface.
Now I ask you to indulge me and listen to another farewell speech. Think of Palin's, and then listen to this former president's remarks. Beautifully crafted rhetoric, writing that flows and rises and falls. No all caps necessary.
Delivering a speech is a challenging task. Writing a speech is daunting at times, I have experienced that as well. But if you expect us to have respect for you as a public figure, then either learn to write and speak well, or find someone whose words can rise above your poor delivery. And if Malibu Barbie expects to run in 2012 with the big boys, she will need to find a good speechwriter and polish her skills. Folksy only gets you so far.