John Cardinal Newman once set down a list of seven rules for writing sermons. His rules apply not just to sermons but to rhetoric in general. Simple and direct as his rules were in the 19th century, naturally they have fallen into neglect in our era of flash and fizz.
American rhetoric circa 2013 has come to have all the eloquence and permanence of your average television commercial. Our politicians' speeches now have the staying power of fleeting images in the background. Then they are gone. Like last week's inaugural address.
Whatever the state of the Union, the state...