Some days you just have to love certain journalists and today I love the BBC’s Megan Lane, for her superb “Short History of Long Speeches,” which reminds us that while Libya’s Leader of the Revolution Muammar Qadaffi was a bit over the top with his rambling speech at the UN General Assembly, he’s a long way from catching up with Fidel Castro or that great speaker, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk whose fans were surely rewarded for endurance. But I still have a fond spot for Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who had a tendency to read the same page twice, thereby keeping his listeners alert by throwing in that monkey wrench (spanner to some of you) that makes listeners wonder if they haven’t heard this before, and how could that be.
A long time ago, when I was not a fan of Ronald Reagan, I read Peggy Noonan’s book about the challenges of being his speechwriter. One of the astonishing things, for me as a Reagan skeptic, was to learn that he wrote his own speeches, and he liked them short. It made me like him a bit better.