Assignment for Aspiring Speechwriters: Try Writing An Address Titled “I Didn’t Kill Anyone”

An excellent wrap up by AP at HotAir

This is a useful way to wrap up (hopefully) the coverage of Our National Conversation On Rhetoric as it’s a stark example of how easily the propaganda about Palin’s culpability in the shootings was accepted as a political fact of life. There are two ways a reporter could address yesterday’s oratorical bookends by her and Obama. One: “Hey, isn’t it insane that Palin had to give this speech? People don’t normally have to point out that they’re not responsible for a mass murder that they’re not linked to in any way, do they?” Call that the “reality-based” approach. Two: “How silly of Palin to set up an unfavorable contrast with Obama by giving a defensive speech on a day when he’s pushing uplift. Don’t her advisors know anything about ‘messaging’?” We’ll call that the “you’re badly missing the point”take. It’s true as far as it goes — Palin’s team should have anticipated that some viewers will naturally compare her tone to his, notwithstanding the two speeches’ dramatically different circumstances — but it’s also utterly banal and lazy. What’s a more constructive use of a political reporter’s time — pointing out to his audience the eminently apparent fact that, yes indeed, Palin’s tone doesn’t compare favorably to Obama’s in this case? Or pointing out, in case they’re not aware, that that might be because she had to respond to an endless Orwellian smear tying her to a homicidal lunatic? Accuse The One of complicity in mass murder and, I assure you, his reaction won’t be sunshine and candy canes either.

A homework assignment for aspiring speechwriters: Try to write an address titled “I Didn’t Kill Anyone” without sounding aggrieved.


To the speechwriters: For extra credit on your assignment, figure out a “presidential” way to explore the theme, “I Didn’t Beam Homicidal Mind Control Rays into that Crazed Gunman’s Brain.” The big joke here, of course, is that the only “presidential” way Palin could have handled this — according to the media, I mean — would be to simply let this whole thing slide. That’s what presidents do, right? Thick skin, stiff upper lip, even when their enemies are being terribly unfair to them. When it comes to politics, that’s business as usual. My point this week, though, andAce’s point at his site, has been that this episode isn’t business as usual. This isn’t some standard “Palin’s using rhetorical dog whistles for her Christian base!” attack. This is a congresswoman bleeding out of her head on the sidewalk with six bodies lying around her, one of them a little girl, and Palin being blamed for it instantly. And yet according to Keith Ellison, the proper response here should have been to validate that accusation by implication by saying, gee, yeah, I guess I should have toned it down. I’m not known for being a Palin fan (as, er, any actual Palin fan could tell you) and even I can’t contain my indignation at the charge. And yet she’s supposed to just mellow out and take it because political reporters who won’t flatly correct the record for their readers think it’s bad “optics” to do otherwise? Unbelievable.

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