I Wish I Were a Speechwriter

I just heard President Bush say of the new immigration reform bill: "Unregistered immigrants will not be treated with amnesty, but also not with animosity." I chuckled out loud; nice word play, President Bush!

When I was a kid and heard that the president uses speechwriters, I was a little bit dismayed and a whole lot intrigued. I think I'd like that job: putting words to the seminal moments in political history, giving voice to the nation's inarticulate pain in the wake of tragedy, filling page after page in historical anthologies. That'd be a good gig--like back-seat driving the president.

I remember Chris Matthews's ("Welcome to Hardball!") reaction to Al Gore's concession speech after the disputed presidential election in 2000. Matthews--a former speechwriter for President Carter, I believe--was nearly in tears as he talked about the brilliance of the speech, the place it will take in the historical record, the punctuation it added to the political process. I think he was a little jealous of Gore--and, I suppose, of whoever Gore used to write the speech.

I learned a bit from 24 about how the speechwriting process works. The president actually is an active participant; for the speechwriter it's partly taking dictation, partly practicing intuition, partly writing creatively. It's probably a little bit (only a little bit, I assure you) like the process of the writing of Holy Scripture.

That'd be a good gig too, actually. To be Luke or Habakkuk or Moses or 2 Peter--to enter into some literary matrix of divine dictation, inspiration and imagination. If I had my choice, I think I would have written Isaiah or 1 Samuel--but I would have called that one the "Book of David" for sure. Which portions of the Bible do you wish had your name on it?

Don't freak out. Just play along.


Good question. I wish I had written John. He's so crafty and plays with colors and hue.
David Zimmerman said…
Margaret's back! Hooray!
Jennwith2ns said…
I was going to say Ezekiel, but I'm not sure I'd be all that crazy about lying on my side for weeks and eating lentils cooked over cow dung.
Ellen said…
I wish I had written Amos. Not that I enjoy pronouncing judgment, but the integration of worship and justice is so important...
Pete Juvinall said…
I wish I had penned Job. God's response to Job asking him to brace himself and answer is a long road to the divine; it's a wonderful thing to capture God's angle and view on the world.
Pete Juvinall said…
btw, Hey Margaret!

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