Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan

By Mary E. Stuckey | Go to book overview
Save to active project

What then, can be done to restore a balance between policy and rhetoric, to render our political language, if not honest, then at least more honest? Since it is doubtful that presidential strategies involving "going public" will either cease or reverse themselves, some other solution or palliative must be found.

One such palliative may be to increase the number of authoritative voices able to challenge the president and his interpretations. This is particularly true in foreign policy. Doing so will curtail the power and perhaps the effectiveness of the White House, but it will also curtail the White House's ability to control news and interpretations of the news.

Another palliative may be to simply increase interest and awareness of presidential action. American citizens are already suspicious of the political language of their leaders. If that suspicion could be united with attention and interest, then perhaps we could begin to hold our political leaders accountable in a more fundamental sense than has been the case recently.

The key is that in order to keep our presidents honest, we must also strive to keep presidential rhetoric honest. The only way we can do that is by listening not only to the words, with their high-sounding patriotic appeals, but also to the interpretations that lie beyond the words, and to examine those interpretations with a critical ear. For ultimately, it is those interpretations that constitute the meaning and fiber of our public life, and that finally constitute us as a people. To ignore those interpretations is to ignore the meaning that makes communal life communal.


NOTES
1.
Robert Dalleck, Ronald Reagan: The Politics of Symbolism ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 64.
2.
Dean Alger, "The President, the Bureaucracy, and the People: Discretion in Implementation and the Source of Legitimacy Question" (Paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, La., August 1985).
3.
Robert E. Denton Jr., and Dan F. Hahn, Presidential Communication: Description and Analysis ( New York: Praeger, 1986), p. 68.

-93-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 130

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?