Bush’s Claim To The Presidency Today’s leading news stories range from sports to overseas affairs, and from these Americans must decide what is important to our nation. Governor George W. Bush tries to make this decision a little easier in his announcement of candidacy on June 12, 1999 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Like most candidates in an election, Bush’s main purpose is to present his ideas to a large audience and convince them that he is the man that can change the presidency. Governor Bush offers his opinion on free trade, our current military power, and drawing a moral line in politics. Bush speaks elegantly to his intended audience, which consists of his loyal supporters and those interested in changing America’s political scene with a “compassionate president.” At the same time he tends to exclude people who haven’t kept up with his agenda or that are not in the market for significant political transformation. Overall, Bush gives sufficient information to back up his claims.
Only reading the speech would not indicate this, but exploring his website provides background information and family history, and is all done with a friendly, inviting tone. The effort made by Bush to run and manage this campaign exemplifies a caring and committed candidate and produces an effective rhetorical argument. Assuming that Mr. Bush wrote this speech, we can explore his persuasive ability by analyzing his speech and the website. Bush appeals strongly to his listener’s sense of value with the claim that freedom is “America’s greatest export.” In the lines that follow he emphasizes that he is interested in the prosperity of America.
His appeal is extended when he describes schoolyards as becoming battlefields and alludes to the American ideal of hard work and “dreaming big.” Most people today feel these things have been forgotten and children are being corrupted. Bush’s speech addresses these as values that are important and that should be very relevant in our society. He plans to bring them back; he uses key phrases that should strike you right in the morals. “Yes to family, yes to honesty and work,” Bush exclaims to engage his audience in thought about their moral beliefs and the modifications that he believes should be made in today’s society. Bush demonstrates his belief in strong family ties not only by mentioning them numerous times throughout the speech, but by also designating a web page entirely for his wife and her point of view, and dealing with many issues concerning children. In one comment, Bush emphasizes that he will rely on his own values to make decisions; he is trying to persuade voters by appealing to their sense of responsibility.
By doing this, he assumes that his audience favors a man that sticks to his guns. The statement “I won’t use my office to mirror public opinion,” fails to acknowledge voters that value a public stance. This is only a slight drawback of his overall emphasis on the audience’s values. It is likely that Bush is targeting voters with that feel that political candidates should not be a slave to public opinion, but at the same time is trying to express his belief upon those voters with differing views. He becomes very influential as he begins to target emotions, as well as the core values of the citizens of Cedar Rapids.
The emotional magnetism Bush displays throughout the speech is definitely one of his major devices in winning his exploratory argument. Within the first two paragraphs of his speech Bush incorporates the dream of prosperity for our nation. He uses images of “struggling families on the outskirts of poverty” to tie in his goal of bringing everyone hope along with a new president. He wants his audience to feel the compassion that he feels. This also gives him the opportunity to mention enterprise and free trade, which are areas he plans to improve during his term. With every mention of fact, we see him adding an emotional edge.
He uses the rhetorical question “Is compassion beneath us?” No one should answer “no,” right? Well Bush hopes not, and he builds upon this assumption to make the point that his political term would be extremely prosperous for the nation. Targeting children is in general an emotional appeal, as well as a strong political stance that Bush engages throughout the speech. Bush also uses the word “American” eleven times in this speech alone. He does this to appeal to our sense of pride and loyalty in our country and to win over the hearts of the masses. We can see that Bush uses emotion as his main line of argument because he is eloquently able to deliver it to his audience. Unlike other political candidates, such as Al Gore and Elizabeth Dole, Bush’s website is well organized.
Upon entering the page you see, George W. Bush with a banner of the American flag. It is simple and right to the point. He wants to display a patriotic theme and establish a connection with the viewers. The list of linked pages is the feature, with the first two being the Meeting George and Laura links. In contrast, Dole’s homepage is crowded with images and columns of information that the viewer must weed through to find the desired information.
In addition, Al Gore’s page is a never-ending list of speeches and titles that is introduced by pictures of Gore delivering speeches. This does not evoke much emotion from the viewers and causes drowsiness after use. On the other hand, Bush’s home page shows a picture of Governor Bush in a classroom reading to young children. The website is now another place he entertains the emotional appeal of a concerned candidate reaching out. Having the picture on the web gives the impression that is consistent with his ideals and issues because the children are now represented in two major areas of his campaign.
If he spoke about an issue once and let it fall by the wayside, the genuineness of his appeal would be lost. At first glace it may not seem important, but whenever possible he stresses the idea that he is “setting goals worthy of the nation.” His rhetorical strategies are well thought out and very effective in most cases. Besides the emotions and value laid out here, Bush gives some evidence that he knows his way around a political office. He presents information about his term as the governor of Texas that gives us knowledge of his background. Therefore, even if someone is completely unaware of him they have easy access to the information. For further reading, voters can visit the website which gives the accomplishments of Bush in a clear, easy-to-understand format.
The site also lays out his objectives in a point-and-click fashion for easy access. In the speech, he discusses his commitment to the elderly and mentions a brief synopsis about optional investing of Social Security in private accounts. He does not seem to overload the speech with details of policy, but rather with his stance on American prosperity and principles. As a substitute he delivers the facts on the website. For example, clicking on a certain issue on The Message page allows you to view statistics and Bush’s opinion on each subject.
At the same time, he clearly labels each of his goals and discusses them promptly in his formal address. Other candidates present their information all together without breaking it into systemized categories. After discussing all these points, it makes sense that you would want to examine the character of the author. It is evident throughout the speech and the website that Bush’s goal is to establish himself as confident, moral, and value-oriented. In the first half of the speech, Bush’s main claims and reasoning deal with improving American values and building a prosperous nation. His goal to “rally these armies of compassion” gives the audience the message that he wants more than to enact laws and sit behind a big desk.
He substantiates himself as a caring candidate; here he has accomplished one objective. Another considerable building block for Bush is his public acceptance of the label “compassionate conservative.” He does not offer a rebuttal or an attack. Instead, he welcomes this as his identifying mark. He believes strongly in his cause and lets his audience as well as other candidates know that he plays fair and stands strong when faced with competition. Again, with a confident tone, he goes on to highlight the point that Texas would have the 11th largest economy in the world if it were a country. This type of statement achieves credence in Bush himself.
The fact that the speech and the website are well organized, as discussed before, allows him to establish himself as scrupulous in the eyes of those who judge for perfectionism in a president. In the end of his speech, he admits that he is late to enter the race–but slips in a legitimate reason–that the Texas legislative session was still running. In the same line of thought, Bush says he will tell people again “face to face” what he said in this speech. These two statements give him the ethos of a fearless, hopeful man, which he hopes voters value. He does not stop there; he goes on to mention a new era of American politics. The idea of the election is to sound the most charismatic and he takes one last opportunity to mention the “tarnished ideals” of America and give his vote of confidence in the last line, “We have a long way to go, but we start today. And I hope you’ll join me.” George W.
Bush creates a compassionate and operative way of presenting the issues that he feels strongly about. He chooses to use emotions and values to allure the audience. The emphasis on prosperity and hard-working Americans take his campaign to a different level than his opponents, who are discussing policies and laws. Bush, who is pushing for conservative reform, heads off his campaign with a strong rhetorical argument and a well-developed ethos. If he is able to maintain this advantage and fix a few minor flaws in his approach, he will be well on his way to a seat in the Oval Office. Social Issues.