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Will Clinton’s new speechwriter get to write a birthday note to Botswana?

September 10, 2010

Did you know that Sept. 8 was Macedonia’s national day, or that Moldova became independet on Aug. 27, 19 years ago? Hillary Clinton does. She wished “the Moldovan people a safe and festive celebration” and promised to “continue to help strengthen Macedonia’s multiethnic and democratic institutions.”

As these notes likely aren’t written by the Secretary of State herself, someone’s gotta write them. Whose job is it to pen birthday wishes to countries in Hillary Clinton’s name?

Well, at least now I know who their boss is. Josh Rogin at The Cable reports that Hillary Clinton has a new speechwriter, Josh Daniel, who has most recently written for Bill and Melinda Gates.

He replaces Lissa Muscatine, who left State in July after 18 months as chief speechwriter. … Muscatine had been managing four, full-time speechwriters and two part-time employees, who also write for other officials.

Ever since Sam Seaborn on the West Wing, government speechwriting has become sexy (proof below). Exhibit B: Jon Favreau. I’m not sure writing birthday cards to everyone from Andorra to Gabon aligns with this image.

At least those countries allegedly have something to celebrate, unlike Chad. Clinton congratulated the country’s people on their national day on Aug. 11, writing

The United States and Chad have made great progress in recent years to strengthen our partnership. Our cooperation on political issues and improving the security and stability in sub-Saharan Africa has shown Chad to be an engaged partner and a central figure in the region. Chad’s hospitality to refugees and leadership on environmental issues such as deforestation and desertification is a testament to your ability to address global challenges.

With “hospitality to refugees,” I assume she is referring to the roughly 200,000 of Chad’s people who have fled internal conflict. The nation is at the top of Foreign Policy’s Failed States index, second only to war-ravaged Sudan. As U.N. peacekeepers get ready to leave, the situation is likely to worsen. Happy National Day? Maybe not so much.

At least Botswana, which can expect congratulations come Sept. 30, is only ranked “borderline” instable.


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