The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric / Edition 1

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In a time when the office of the nation's chief executive has come to be characterized as "the public presidency," the fundamental questions posed in this volume are more vital than ever. The focus of this important compendium is on the future of both presidential discourse and the discipline that studies such discourse.

Culminating a decade of conferences that have explored the dimensions of presidential speech, its context, and, to some degree, its effects, The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric draws on the work of leading individual scholars and six task forces to assess progress and suggest directions for future research.

In Part One, following an analytic review of the field by Martin Medhurst, seven contributors address the state of the art in their own areas of special expertise. Roderick P. Hart then summarizes their work in the course of his rebuttal of an argument made by political scientist George Edwards: that the rhetoric of presidents lacks political impact.

The studies included in this work have the goal, as outlined by volume coeditor Medhurst, of examining "the current state of presidential rhetoric by focusing on some of the issues that George W. Bush, and presumably those who will follow him" must confront: religion and the state, the nature of the American Dream, the fight over Supreme Court nominations, and the rhetoric appropriate to respond to-and head off-terrorism.

Part Two of the volume consists of the forward-looking reports of six task forces charged with outlining the likely course of presidential rhetoric in the years to come, as well as the major questions scholars should be asking about it and the tools at their disposal. More than fortyscholars contributed to the task force reports.

Scholars and students of public discourse and the presidency will not want to be without this pivotal work. The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric will serve as an important chart to the shifting landscape of American political leadership.

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Editorial Reviews

James R. Andrews

“The essays are all outstanding. Written by seasoned, insightful critics, they exemplify the best contemporary scholarship on presidential rhetoric being done today…Any one with a serious interest in presidential rhetoric, any presidential scholars for that matter, will appreciate this work. The ability of the authors to probe theoretical/critical issues with such technical sophistication while producing a book tha can be read with understanding and profit across disciplines is most impressive.”--James R. Andrews, Communication and Culture, American Studies, Indiana University
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JAMES ARNT AUNE, a professor of communication at Texas A&M University, is the coeditor of one previous volume in the Presidential Rhetoric Series, Civil Rights Rhetoric and the American Presidency (2005), and the author of several other books on rhetoric.MARTIN J. MEDHURST is the founding editor of the Presidential Rhetoric Series and the prime mover behind the ten conferences on that topic held at Texas A&M University as a program of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service. This volume is the outgrowth of the last of those conferences. Medhurst is now a Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Baylor University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Readings in Presidential Rhetoric
From Retrospect to Prospect: The Study of Presidential Rhetoric, 1915-2005   Martin J. Medhurst     3
Power and Authority in a Postmodern Presidency   John M. Murphy     28
The Econo-Rhetorical Presidency   James Arnt Aune     46
The Return of the Imperial Presidency   Marouf Hasian Jr.     69
To Produce a "Judicious Choice": Presidential Responses to the Exercise of Advice and Consent by the U.S. Senate on Supreme Court Nominations   Trevor Parry-Giles     99
The Rhetorical Presidency and the Myth of the American Dream   Leroy Dorsey     130
Of Allies and Enemies: Old Wine in New Bottles or New Wine in an Old Jug?   Marilyn J. Young     160
Revising the Cold War Narrative to Encompass Terrorist Threats: Vietnam and Beyond   Carol Winkler     182
George W. Bush, Public Faith, and the Culture War over Same-Sex Marriage   Martin J. Medhurst     209
Thinking Harder about Presidential Discourse: The Question of Efficacy   Roderick P. Hart     238
Task Force Reports
Report of the National Task Force on the Presidency and Deliberative Democracy   Robert B. Asen   Diane M. Blair   Stephen J. Hartnett   Karla K. Leeper   Jennifer R. Mercieca$dChair: Vanessa B. Beasley     251
Report of the National Task Force on Presidential Communication to Congress   Michael A. Genovese   Sharon E. Jarvis   Craig Allen Smith   Craig R. Smith   Robert Spitzer   Susan M. Zaeske$dChair: Mary E. Stuckey     272
Report of the National Task Force on the Presidency and Public Opinion   George C. Edwards III   Wynton C. Hall   Christine L. Harold   Gerard A. Hauser   Susan Herbst   Robert Y. Shapiro   Ted J. Smith III$dChair: J. Michael Hogan     293
Report of the National Task Force on the Ethical Responsibilities of Presidential Rhetoric   Karrin Vasby Anderson   Frederick J. Antczak   Thomas W. Benson   Rita Kirk Whillock$dChair: Steven R. Goldzwig     317
Report of the National Task Force on the Theory and Practice of the Rhetorical Presidency   Philip Abbott   Davis W. Houck   Mel Laracey   Stephen E. Lucas   Shawn J. Parry-Giles$dChair: David Henry     340
Report of the National Task Force on Presidential Rhetoric in Times of Crisis   Martin Carcasson   James M. Farrell   Robert L. Ivie   Amos Kiewe   Kathleen B. Smith$dChair: Denise M. Bostdorff      355
Contributors     379
Index     381
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