Jon Sanders

The rumor is, an overworked Democrat consultant was e-mailed the Declaration of Independence under the subject line "Don't forget this was written by a top Democrat!" Too tired to recognize it, too recent a graduate of public education, and too busy going through the motions in the primary that wouldn't end, the consultant diligently set to work.

Granted, this is a mighty strange occurrence, but it has been a weird winter. It's no stranger that the Republicans and the Fed suddenly returning to old Keynesian notions of economic stimulus.

Whatever the case may be, apparently our consultant produced the following revisions:

Hey. I received your speech draft. What is your target audience, a church? At this stage, you need to aim your language to regular voters. This flowery rhetorical stuff is too overblown. It'll be over everyone's heads.

I'm going to go over this with you, adding my comments and suggestions. Let's get started:

1. When in the Course of human events

Comment: See what I mean about overblown?

Suggestion: Look, sometimes

2. it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another

Comment: Snore. Needs to be fresher. Work in the focus-group buzzwords.

Suggestion: people gotta have change, be the agents of change, and vote for someone who is gonna bring change and hope

3. and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,

Comment: Is this for the Christian Right? Way too theocratic. But I like that stuff about the earth and nature.

Suggestion: not just to us, but also to our planet, because we can't think we are above Nature.

4. a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Comment: Wordy, wordy, wordy.

Suggestion: Now is the time for us to work together for hope, for change, and for the future.

5. We hold these truths to be self-evident,

Comment: "Truths" is too strident. Soften this whole passage. You might want to start working in some talking points.

Suggestion: We feel that these things are important values that educated people all agree on, which is why we think college should be for everybody.

6. that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.