What will the final product be like? Rather different, I suspect, from Kerry's usual campaign speeches and from Shrum's famous efforts ("the dream will never die") for Edward Kennedy. Kerry tends to speak in the formal language of 1940s and 1950s politicians, a style he adopted contemporaneously: Classmates of his at St. Paul's and Yale tell me he was already a fluent speaker then, speaking with the formality you would expect from one familiar with the speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai E. Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Note the middle initials, generally used in the 1940s and 1950s, but usually replaced by nicknames today, though John F. Kerry is fond of his F.)
Today most politicians speak in a more demotic, personal style, and people have come to expect that: witness the positive response to the differently demotic acceptance speeches of George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000.
As for Bob Shrum, his great efforts have been clarion calls to achieve liberal dreams. And that, too, does not seem to be the note Kerry wants to sound. All year the Kerry people have been talking about Kerry's moderate record (he supported welfare reform, he prosecuted criminals, etc.), and in recent weeks Democrats have been talking about how Boston and Massachusetts are not all that much more liberal than the rest of the country (the local tax burden is not as much higher than the national average as it was when Michael Dukakis was the party's nominee, etc.).
Kerry does have his plans to expand government, notably on health care, and to raise taxes, but only on the very rich, he says -- but he wants to emphasize his strength more than his compassion.
All of which means that Kerry and Shrum, in whatever combination, are probably trying to produce a speech rather different from any that either has produced before. It's an interesting test for a man whose political career goes back 31 years, and a speechwriter and consultant whose first brush with national politics was as a low-level aide at the Los Angeles convention that nominated the first JFK 44 years ago.
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