Obama and Bush Creating the Presidency
As a nationally recognized expert on political communication and coauthor of Presidents Creating the Presidency, the definitive book on presidential rhetoric, Kathleen Hall Jamieson was called upon yesterday to assess the speeches of both the outgoing and the incoming president.
She told USA Today that, “like his predecessors, Bush [was] ‘trying to set the criteria by which the presidency will be judged.'” And, in today’s article on Obama’s inaugural address, she explains to USA Today readers that “inaugurations have four basic goals: Reuniting people after a tough election, celebrating shared American values, forecasting the administration’s policies and swearing fidelity to the Constitution as the president takes the oath of office”—an argument also cited by Jill Lepore in her recent New Yorker article on presidential inaugurals.
If you’re interested in learning more about how presidents have used rhetoric to shape the presidency—and how they continue to re-create it—you couldn’t stumble across a better starting point than Karyln Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamison’s newly updated book on the subject.