Things I'd Like A Certain Candidate to SayComplications Ensue
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

As someone whose job it is to put words in people's mouths, it irks me when the people trying to run the free world fail to explain themselves in a simple, convincing way. If I were a speechwriter, here's a couple soundbites for Barack Obama:

  • The Republicans haven't lowered your taxes. They've just put off paying them. When you cut taxes and raise spending, it's like telling people you're saving money because you're putting everything on your charge card. You know you're gonna have to pay it sooner or later... with interest.
  • The frightening thing is, the credit card company we owe all that money to ... is China.
  • I don't see where I'm the elitist in this race. I'm not the guy who lives in eight houses.
  • I can't even figure out how you live in eight houses. Do you keep one just for barbecues? Do you only like to tidy up once a year? Does a guy with eight houses really need the White House too?

I just thought of a good one-liner for the other guy, but I think I'll keep it to myself.



Now that the primaries are over, I've been disappointed to watch Obama fall into the same trap almost all Democrats do, allowing the Republicans to frame the debate. The GOP understands that forcing your opponent to answer your question--even in the negative--legitimizes the question.

I'd hoped Obama was going to proactively assert his arguments and put the GOP on the defensive for a change. That would be a nice change from the Democrats.

The established Democratic consultants are manifestly incompetent. (I'm related to one.) My impression is that most of them are from privileged backgrounds and not really exposed to the pressures experienced by the typical Democratic constituencies.

By Blogger David, at 11:08 PM  

Sometimes the best way to fight an agressive opponent is to dismantle them, one piece at a time.

I think Obama's on the right track with these kinds of responses:

By Blogger Brandon Laraby, at 7:21 PM  

Please, I was visiting your site semi-regularly to learn about writing, I get enough of the cult of Obama everywhere else. The Che like t-shirts being sold on Yonge street the latest sign of how carried away this has gotten. He's a politician, not even a particularly great one. I get that everyone is sick of the Republicans in the White House. But come on. Why don't you start another blog for your political agenda and keep this one to Crafty TV and Screenwriting. Just saying.

By Blogger tdotTim, at 12:17 PM  

Hey, tdotTim, I put a lot of work into this blog. You get the benefits for free. I don't get paid for it. I think I'm entitled to mouth off about politics now and then.

If you were paying for a magazine, I could see your point. But you're not. And you don't seem particularly grateful for the work I put in here.

If reading the odd political post irks you so much, how about you don't read those posts? Or, if it's too upsetting to you, tell you what: take a vacation from the blog and come back November 5.

All the best,


By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:31 PM  


Don't be so touchy. Jumping from the fact that I took the time to post on your blog with some feedback (albeit negative in this case), to the assumption that I "don't seem particularly grateful for the work I put in here", is a bit of a leap. I am grateful that yourself and other experienced writers blog about writing. This is a relatively new phenomenon and is one of the great things about the internet. I would think as a blogger the thing you want is for people to visit your blog, which I do regularly and I think that is as much a sign of gratitude as anyone could offer. It's your blog and of course you can do whatever you like with it. But just don't be shocked if a few people who come to read about writing and creativity are turned off by politics.

By Blogger tdotTim, at 1:54 PM  

...and if you are saying that until November 5 your blog will be mostly focused on the US election, then I will start my vacation planning now.

By Blogger tdotTim, at 2:00 PM  

At the top of the blog it says ". . . with forays into life and political theater."

By Blogger David, at 8:05 AM  

Oops. Can't say I noticed that before. Perhaps I need to work on my powers of observation if I want to be a writer?

Alex...I was having a bit of a rough day yesterday and in retrospect I would have to say I was talking shit. My apologies.

By Blogger tdotTim, at 10:19 AM  

I appreciate that, tdotTim, thanks. We all have our bad days!

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 10:37 AM  


Brilliant comments. "I don't see where I'm the elitist in this race. I'm not the guy who lives in eight houses." Too funny. I wish you were writing speeches for either party, because the debates might be worth watching!

BTW, my wife bought me Crafty Screenwriting for my birthday recently, and it rocks. I need to pick up the TV version, too.

Thanks for everything you do. Keep it up.

By Blogger Roland Fox, at 2:09 PM  

Here's another idea (and I know the exact wording needs work):

"Economists estimate that the true cost of the Iraq War will exceed three trillion dollars. That's enough to buy every driver in the US a brand new, energy-efficient car. John McCain supports Bush's war for oil."

On-screen fine print no one will read:
"Linda J Bilmes, former Commerce Department chief financial officer, and Joseph E Stiglitz, former Council of Economic Advisers chair, co-wrote The Three Trillion Dollar War.
"$3 trillion / 100 million drivers = $30000/driver."

Reference: "The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More"

By Blogger Unknown, at 5:56 AM  

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