The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric

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Culminating a decade of conferences that have explored presidential speech, The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric assesses progress and suggests directions for both the practice of presidential speech and its study.

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

Part Two of the volume consists of the forward-looking reports of six task forces, comprising more than forty scholars, charged with outlining the likely future course of presidential rhetoric, as well as the major questions scholars should ask about it and the tools at their disposal.

The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric will serve as a pivotal work for students and scholars of public discourse and the presidency who seek to understand 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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