Showing posts with label Speech writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Speech writers. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The President and the Speech Writers

The speech writers are an inevitable part of a U S President’s staff. They prepare speeches that the President has to deliver from time to time. The President cannot spend his valuable time for writing speeches. and the speech writers become relevant in that slot. All Heads of States use the services of speechwriters.

The Whitehouse takes care to choose reputed writers with sterling background for the job. Once chosen for the job he gets access to all departments in the administration to collect data for the preparation of speeches and  the Government staff fully cooperate with them. The facts and figures in the speech have to be accurate as the President cannot be seen giving false information in his speech.

The speech writers (also called wordsmiths) move in and out of office inconspicuously like ghosts. Their life is destined to remain in the background. You never hear about a speech writer being honored in public. They might be very good writers but their writings go unnoticed and unrecognized and like surrogate mothers their very existence is an unpleasant truth for those who need them. However the Presidents know their merit and are rewarded suitably.

Since speeches like the State of the Union address covers the entire Government business, foreign relations and future plans, the speechwriters have a big job on hand and they start its preparations months before. They know the tricks to present a good speech. A public speech is sharing thoughts with the audience on a personal level so it is different from author- reader connection.   The speech writers avoid long sentences and uncommon words in order to make it more intimate and personal. The sentences are structured in such a way as to permeate easily in to the minds of audience.  A speech writer knows the audience- psychology and they add necessary ingredients to evoke desired responses. For example, it is desirable to get applause for a speech every now and then, so the speech writers add lines specially made to evoke applause and the audience promptly obey it at the desired points.

The President checks the draft speech prepared by the writers and instructs them to make suitable changes wherever necessary according to his personal liking. When the speech is finally approved copies are printed and kept ready. For important speeches like the ‘State of the Union’ the President may rehearse the speech a couple of times in addition to learning it by heart.

The speech writers only write the speeches, presenting it beautifully on the stage is the key factor for the success of a speech. We have just seen a magnificent speech by president Obama as he delivered the State of the Union address recently.

 ( The Article II section 3 of the Constitution asks Presidents to give to U.S.Congress the information of the State of the Union from time to time and it is done once in a year, usually at the end of January or in early February. This year the House speaker invited President Obama to make the speech on February 12th which is also the birth day of Abraham Lincoln. )

You probably saw President Obama moving on to the podium shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with Congress men and he was quite at ease before the speech and showed no  speech anxiety. During the speech not once was he seen looking the copy of the speech before him and he delivered it seemingly extempore like an excellant stage performer.  It is perhaps a  primary requisite of  a Head of a nation  to stage a speech beautifully. In the case of President Obama his oratorial skill is world famous and it is always a pleasant experience to watch him speak.

  For the speech writers the long background work of research, preparation of draft, the rehearsal all end up once the speech is delivered and the writers turn to the next speech. They certainly would listen to the speech along with millions of others savoring the words they wrote and thinking how many people are listening their words. Although the speech writers are neither appreciated nor rewarded in a public function they too derive the blissful joy of creation when their words reach millions of people through T V and Radio.

All said, there is something unethical and contrary to conscience in employing speech writers and speaking their words by a President as his own. Perhaps the President too feels so, the secrecy shrouding the speech writers points to that.