From Publishers Weekly
Campbell and Jamieson argue that the powers and parameters of the presidency are negotiated through rhetoric. The institutions of our government constitute an experiment in rhetorical adaptation in which the initiatives of any one branch can be modified and refined by the reactions of the others, write the authors, providing fascinating examples of how each president has expanded or contracted the powers of the executive branch. In this updated version, the authors have made significant structural changes to their 1990 book, adding sections on national eulogies, Clinton and Bush's oratory, and de facto item vetoes (presidential statements that accompany and modify legislation passed by Congress). The authors tie together overarching themes and functions of various genres of presidential rhetoric (inaugurations, presidential pardons, state of the union addresses), dwelling on specific speeches (Lincoln's first inaugural, Bush's national eulogy after 9/11) with depth and clarity. While the passages on inaugurals and the state of the union are more descriptive than insightful, the chapter on veto messages is original and offers fresh perceptions on a newer political trend. A comprehensively researched and stimulating read in an election year. (May)
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"Campbell and Jamieson have taken another leap forward in establishing the essential relationship between rhetoric and the presidency itself. They argue successfully that the genres they have identified actually help define what the presidency is and how that office interacts with the other branches of government and the American people." - American Political Science Review"