Political speech is a type of performance poetry. That may seem unlikely to those who struggle with its clichés and platitudes, but understanding the links between political speech and oral traditions of poetry allows us to appreciate its strengths alongside its weaknesses, the creativity alongside the banality. Applying ethical standards appropriate to oral performance, rather than the literary default mode of critics like George Orwell and Don Watson, gives us a stronger moral critique of all those anti-intellectual dishonesties cloaked in boredom we know so well. Making the case, Stay on Message explores the poetics of political speeches in Australia, the USA, and elsewhere—with examples of both the good and the delightfully appalling.
Drill down • At the end of the day • We make no apology • The rope-a-dope strategy • Small target strategy • Singing from the same songsheet • On the same page • Perfect storm • Going forwards • Impact • In terms of • With regards to • True believers • Stop the boats • Stop the waste • Stop the rorts • Stop the spin • A great big new tax on everything • Working families • Capturing, pathwaying, opportunitying • With the greatest of respect • Love me or loathe me • For all of us • The guilt industry • Build a bridge • Move forwards, together • Write a new page in our history • The 'it's time' factor • It's time • Political correctness gone mad • Drank the Coolade • Union thugs • Fat cat executives • Mr Speaker • Can I just say?• Get some traction • The rubber hits the road • In all seriousness • Wing-nuts • Zippergate • Downright un-Australian • A walking trainwreck • My story • Your journey • Battlers • Elites • A Clayton's reform • Self-appointed intelligentsia • Black armband • Border security • At the present moment in time • The worst of the worst • With recent world events as they are • Jumped the shark • I'm a Burkean conservative • Fiscally conservative • Labor to the bootstraps • Leadership speculation • Sources close to • Landslide win • I'll leave the commentary to others • That's a matter for • I've made it very clear • Fifteen minutes of economic sunshine • The court of public opinion • A cancer on our system • Our children • The hate media • Talk the talk • Walk the walk • Words and deeds • An iced vo-vo on the way through • Comfort zones • Supply side • The marvellous Internet • A week's a long time • Inside the Beltway in Canberra • They can get their BAs and manufacture wind-chimes • Innovation • Good to be with you • Weapons of mass destruction • Relevance deprivation syndrome • Rock 'n' roll with the punches • It's not rocket surgery • Do the math • Ladder of opportunity • Asymmetrical warfare • Mainstream values • Budget black hole • We are us