When Joe Biden joked in 2008 that all of the sentences uttered by Rudy Giuliani consisted of “a noun, a verb and 9/11,” he actually revealed the GOP’s secret recipe for stump speeches.
Listening to the Republican candidates for President, one can easily observe how it works in practice. Each gentleman has his favorite nouns, verbs and bugbears, but they all follow the same basic formula.
For Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and New Gingrich, it’s N+V+Obamacare. For Ron Paul (ever the outlier), it’s N+V+The Fed. But there are some noteworthy differences among them in terms of pet words.
With über-bloviator Newt Gingrich, for example, the faves are modifiers. Every problem or issue Newt addresses is described as being either profoundly, essentially or fundamentally __________ (fill in the blank: dangerous, wrong, stupid, tragic); and every solution or remedy is, similarly and symmetrically, profoundly, essentially or fundamentally ________ (fill in the blank: obvious, simple, logical, a proposal Newt made years ago).
Because he has taught a few classes and made several jillion dollars as a consultant, Newt knows that using a lot of polysyllabic words that end in “ly” not only makes a person sound intelligent, but also distracts his audience from following what he is actually saying. He employed this device in Congress for years, and used it to shut down the government in the mid-1990s — before he had to resign as Speaker of the House.
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are nowhere near as good as Newt at speechifying, and Ron Paul is – well, Ron Paul. But Dr. Paul engages listeners by enthusiastically gabbling a string of thoughts which are usually neither related nor sequential while doing a modified form of jazz hands. His favorite words are “and” and “so.”
For all of the GOP hopefuls, however, there are Officially Approved Lists of nouns/nominative phrases and verbs that are used to build every speech every one of them ever makes.
Now you, too, can be a GOP speechwriter, because we have obtained two of those Lists, and we are publishing them here. (Top that, Wikileaks.) So try your hand at mixing and matching, and then compare what you write to the next speech you hear.