The art of oratory

March 12, 1996|By Art Buchwald

I'VE DECIDED to become a political speech writer.

The money is good, and I will be sharing a seat with the person who wields power.

The expert on political speech writing is Torn Pages, who has written for many prominent figures, including sitting presidents as well as indicted congressmen.

Torn charges $350 an hour, but assured me that by the time our session was over I would be another Bill Clinton or Bob Dole.

He said, ''When you're writing for a major politician, it is essential that you answer all the questions that the electorate is asking. Let's start with, 'My fellow Americans, who doesn't have all the answers?' ''

Wrong answer

I said, ''Rush Limbaugh?''

''No,'' he replied in disgust. ''Big government doesn't have all the answers. Now what does this country have to balance in the next seven years?''

I knew that one. ''The salaries of its professional baseball players.''

Torn gritted his teeth. ''The nation's budget, which means deficit spending has to end. What does this country have to strengthen more than anything else?''

''The border with Canada,'' I suggested.

''The American family. It must be protected from terrible TV pro- gramming that our children watch.

''You must propose an X-chip which will blow up the family's TV set whenever an R-rated movie is shown.''

Torn asked me, ''Who is destroying America?''

''Gang leaders and drug dealers.''

''You forgot violent criminals and men who don't pay alimony.''

''I was coming to them.''

A slow learner

Torn was starting to lose his patience. ''Now what do you want your candidate to do in his speech?''

''Touch the people?''

''No, you want him to win but he cannot do it alone. He can only do it with the support of the wonderful people he is addressing.''

''I wish I had thought of that,'' I admitted.

Ever since I took the tutoring, I have received dozens of writing offers from politicians running for office. TC I guess word got around how creative I was when I inserted this phrase into a recent fund-raiser speech for Senator Hercules: ''And I end by saying, 'God bless you and God bless America' .''

After a standing ovation, Senator Hercules called me and said, ''Thank God you didn't write, 'Have a nice day.' ''

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

Pub Date: 3/12/96

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