Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan

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

programs and, by communicating his view of the world, is making an attempt to both influence and educate the American people. He is also adept at using appeals to emotion and may forsake education for debate points. It is here that his spoken rhetoric may differ from his written speeches, and it is precisely this important point that this analysis is incapable of resolving.


CONCLUSIONS

This study has revealed both similarities and differences among presidential candidates. It is clear, for instance, that some tactics are common to the genus "politician." All candidates during a primary emphasize party loyalty. All candidates base their qualification, in part, on claims that "I know what the country ought to do, and I have plans to get there," although there is variation in how detailed discussions of these plans are. In short, the conventional wisdom that political appeals are based on amorphous and non-controversial statements involving more symbol than substance is borne out by the evidence.

The evidence also indicates things neglected by conventional wisdom, however. Babbitt's rhetoric, for instance, is a good example of the dangers of negative rhetoric. Negativism may detach the audience from something, but to be effective, it must also attach the audience to something. Discrediting your opposition is not enough to reflect credit upon yourself. Babbitt is also reflective of the importance of the speaker's status. When he uses Reagan-style rhetoric, it is with limited success. He does not seem to be able to make the substance of those arguments convincing. The same arguments, coming from Ronald Reagan, who had attained a national reputation, were given much more attention. It is clear that rhetoric involves who is speaking as much as what is being said. From this, it is clear that while other politicians may use the tactics and rhetorical structures of a Kennedy, a Roosevelt, or a Reagan, these tactics and structures alone will not make that candidate a Kennedy, a Roosevelt, or a Reagan.

Gephardt, on the other hand, is a very good example of the importance of providing a symbolic context or theme through

-114-

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?