Tag Archives: China

One Empty Chair and Many Empty Words

THERE ARE A few rules to which I’ve held myself as a professional speech writer. Do your homework, know and respect your audience and the protocols governing the occasion, and always prefer the plain truth that will not please your audience over nice-sounding and gratifying words that aren’t so. Or, as I’ve had occasion to summarize: it’s better to deliver bad news that you can guarantee than it is good news that you are confident you can’t.

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The Conservative Party’s courting of China is shameful

I KNOW FROM experience the most efficient way to start a fist-fight in some circles is to use, without irony, the word evil. As in the phrase Axis of Evil. On this principle, George W. Bush was mocked for years by lefties who noted condescendingly (though correctly) that the President’s eyes were just a bit too close together for the nation’s good. One afternoon in the mid 90s, the man who would memorably link Iran, Iraq and North Korea — Bush Jr’s speechwriter, David Frum — passed in front of my car while I was at a red light. I confess repressing an urge to step on the gas. Some years on, however, I’ve a greater respect for Mr. Frum, and in part it’s due to the fact that I think there really is such a thing as evil, perhaps even in axis form.

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