The Oratory of George W. Bush
This chapter argues that the presidency of George W. Bush poses an interesting question for scholars of oratory. How did a President with such a poor reputation for rhetoric and oratory come to be understood as a good communicator?
Bush’s presidency poses fundamental questions around our understanding of oratory and its power. Starting with David Crockett’s explanation of how Bush found himself bound by the constraints of the rhetorical presidency, as understood by Tulis’s and Lim’s works on the simplification of presidential speech, the chapter will highlight the apparent ‘flaws’ of Bush’s style. It will then consider what strengths in his approach to persuasion have been unappreciated.
The aim is to provide a chapter that does not focus purely on Bush’s foreign policy rhetoric, which has dominated the study of his speeches so far.
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