Enacting The Presidency

Overview

Presidential debates are forums designed to present and select candidates for national office: Their purpose is to provide opportunities for candidates to win over undecided voters, to reinforce voters who have already made a decision about who to vote for, and to change the minds of those who are willing to reconsider their initial judgments concerning which candidate seems more fit to serve as president. Edward Hinck argues that debates are not primarily about presidential policy-making. Rather, they are ...

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Overview

Presidential debates are forums designed to present and select candidates for national office: Their purpose is to provide opportunities for candidates to win over undecided voters, to reinforce voters who have already made a decision about who to vote for, and to change the minds of those who are willing to reconsider their initial judgments concerning which candidate seems more fit to serve as president. Edward Hinck argues that debates are not primarily about presidential policy-making. Rather, they are opportunities to demonstrate a candidate's ability to lead by summarizing, in a specific test of presidential character, the larger conflict between the candidates. Hinck develops an in-depth rhetorical analysis of the presidential and vice presidential debates of 1960 to 1988.

The analysis of each series of debates begins with an introduction that focuses discussion on the most important aspects of political image for each of the candidates, then develops a case for understanding the ways in which the debates revealed the rhetorical strengths and weaknesses of each candidate's performance. Hinck's neo-Aristotelian approach asserts that debates serve both deliberative and epideictic ends because they provide important information about the candidates that cannot be disclosed except in the dramatic confrontation of the debate, and because this dramatic confrontation enacts the democratic values of rational dialogue. Enacting The Presidency is recommended to scholars in communication and political science.

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Editorial Reviews

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Hinck argues that presidential debates are not primarily about presidential policy-making. Rather, they are opportunities to demonstrate a candidate's ability to lead by summarizing, in a specific test of presidential character, the larger conflict between the candidates. Hinck develops an in-depth rhetorical analysis of the presidential and vice presidential debates of 1960 to 1988. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

EDWARD A. HINCK is Assistant Professor of Communications and Director of Forensics at Central Michigan University.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Acknowledgments
1 Political Debates and the Enactment of Leadership 1
2 The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate 17
3 The Second, Third, and Fourth Kennedy-Nixon Debates 45
4 The 1976 Presidential Debates: Gerald Ford Versus Jimmy Carter 71
5 The 1980 Debates: Ronald Reagan Versus John Anderson and Ronald Reagan Versus Jimmy Carter 99
6 The 1984 Presidential Debates: Ronald Reagan Versus Walter Mondale 125
7 The 1988 Presidential Debates: George Bush Versus Michael Dukakis 151
8 The Vice Presidential Debates of 1976, 1984, and 1988 167
9 Reassessing the Rhetorical Functions of Political Debates 213
Selected Bibliography 235
Index 249
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