Rhetoric is among the most important and least understood elements of presidential leadership. Presidents have always wielded rhetoric as one tool of governance—and that rhetoric was always intended to facilitate political ends, such as image building, persuasion of the mass public, and inter-branch government persuasion. But as mass media has grown and then fragmented, as the federal bureaucracy has continued to both expand and calcify, and as partisanship has heightened tensions both within Congress and between Congress and the Executive, rhetoric is an increasingly important element of presidential governance.
Scholars have derived ways to explain how these developments and the presidents' use of rhetoric have contributed to and detracted from the health of American democracy. This briefing book offers a succinct reflection on the ways in which historical developments have encouraged the use of political rhetoric. It explores strategies of "going public" to provide some leverage over the political system and the lessons one might derive from these choices.
This essential analysis, written for lay readers, scholars, students, and future presidents, is the first in Transaction's innovative Presidential Briefings series. Mary E. Stuckey covers the scholarly literature with authority and offers examples of rhetoric that have lasting influence.
Introduction: Communicating the Presidency
1 The Public, the Media, and the Presidency
2 Rhetoric from an Institutional Perspective
3 Managing Rhetorical Opportunities
Conclusion: Presidents and Their Rhetoric
The books in the Presidential Briefings series provide concise and readable introductions to topics of general interest to students of the presidency. By approaching their subjects from the vantage point of what a president most needs to know, and what we as citizens most need to know about the presidency, these books provide a highly practical and accessible overview of an important subject related to the presidency. This series provides a wonderful opportunity for scholars, whether new or established, to publish concise and authoritative books on a wide range of presidency topics.