I Wrote Obama’s Speech Using a Random-Cliché Algorithm

Few people know this (and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe!), but I am a genius-level computer programmer who also writes speeches for famous celebrities and politicians. I’m also an expert cliff-diver and Jarlsberg cheese connoisseur, but that’s neither here nor there. Generally, I like to keep my speech-writing work behind the scenes, but for once—maybe just this once—I thought I’d let you in on how I assembled President Obama’s masterful address to the Democratic National Convention.

The key: a giant database of political platitudes.

Now, you can’t just take all of these clichés and string them together randomly. You have to do minimal natural language processing to ensure that the verbs match the nouns. Then you can string them together randomly.

To give you a sense of how this works, I have listed some of the common phrases I used to create the President’s speech below. I’m loathe to release these valuable data (note: “data” is plural, but “datum” is the jerk telling you that “data” is plural), but you might find it useful in constructing your own computer code or mobile speech-writing app (Politikemon Go). Or, if you don’t know how computers work and just refer to your laptop as your “groin-warming pleasure clam,” you can play along at home by simply picking a few bromides at random, thereby creating your own piece of soaring political oratory!

Of course, it will sound a lot like Clinton’s speech tonight. Not that I would know anything about that (wink).


All the clichés in President Obama’s convention speech:

  • Twelve years ago tonight
  • amazing young women
  • fill me with pride.
  • faith in America
  • generous, bighearted, hopeful country.
  • A lot’s happened.
  • I stand before you again tonight
  • the future of America
  • health care is not a privilege
  • wean ourselves off foreign oil
  • brought our troops home
  • save this planet
  • for our kids.
  • countless acts of quiet courage
  • love has no limits
  • marriage equality
  • change is never easy
  • So tonight,
  • we still have more work to do
  • a good job
  • paid leave
  • a decent retirement
  • world-class education
  • making our streets safer
  • perfecting our union
  • our founding creed
  • all of us are created equal.
  • a big choice this November
  • fundamental choice
  • who we are as a people
  • this great American experiment
  • there’s nothing wrong with that
  • contest of ideas
  • pushes our country forward.
  • Cleveland
  • Republican
  • conservative
  • pessimistic vision
  • no serious solutions
  • fanning of resentment
  • blame, and anger, and hate
  • that is not the America I know.
  • courage
  • optimism
  • ingenuity
  • decent
  • real anxieties
  • paying the bills
  • protecting our kids
  • caring for a sick parent.
  • what is right with America
  • people working hard
  • people teaching kids
  • serving our country
  • stronger together
  • black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young and old; gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities
  • big, bold country.
  • a mother and grandmother
  • a leader with real plans
  • widen the circle of opportunity
  • the next President of the United States
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Hillary’s tough
  • fought so hard
  • for the working family
  • the senior citizen
  • the small business owner
  • the soldier
  • the veteran
  • she never, ever quits
  • has real plans
  • that’s what leaders do.
  • Donald Trump
  • not really a plans guy
  • not really a facts guy
  • a business guy
  • trail of lawsuits
  • unpaid workers
  • people feeling.
  • the choice is even clearer.
  • the strongest fighting force
  • the world has ever known
  • light of freedom
  • meet our commitments.
  • America is already great.
  • Ronald Reagan
  • “a shining city on a hill”
  • Trump will lose
  • selling the American people short
  • We don’t look to be ruled.
  • immortal declarations
  • in Philadelphia
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident,
  • that all men are created equal;
  • that together,
  • We, the People,
  • can form a more perfect union.
  • liberate a continent
  • reach for the ballot
  • marchers
  • workers
  • a big, diverse country
  • black and white
  • compromise
  • democracy
  • progress
  • the American Dream.
  • no wall.
  • up and down the ticket
  • vote
  • the coal miner
  • the single mom
  • our kids
  • our cops
  • gun owners
  • the gun lobby
  • every funeral.
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • in the arena
  • strives valiantly
  • Hillary Clinton
  • that woman in the arena
  • get in the arena with her
  • yes we can
  • carry Hillary
  • real America
  • our Republic.
  • Kansas grandparents
  • the heartland
  • Scotch-Irish
  • farmers
  • teachers
  • ranch hands
  • pharmacists
  • oil rig workers
  • Hardy, small town folks
  • honesty
  • hard work
  • Kindness
  • responsibility
  • teach our kids.
  • cowboy hat
  • yarmulke
  • baseball cap
  • hijab
  • forged into common service.
  • Those bonds of affection
  • that common creed.
  • don’t fear the future;
  • shape it,
  • one people,
  • stronger together
  • The American people.
  • Do not quit
  • seven year-old girl
  • small business owner in Colorado
  • the conservative in Texas
  • the young soldier from Arizona
  • picked up phones
  • hit the streets
  • used the internet in amazing new ways
  • you’ve picked me up.
  • I picked you up.
  • carry her.
  • the odds are great;
  • the road is long.
  • Hope in the face of difficulty;
  • hope in the face of uncertainty;
  • the audacity of hope!
  • pass the baton
  • a private citizen
  • incredible journey
  • God bless the United States of America.

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