RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: Obama VS. Romney
It is not relatively easy to be a great speaker. To pull your audience to you, and have them consuming every sentence you prepare for them, every word you breathe. Your audience has to believe in you, trust you. They need hope and encouragement. Every word produced, and every expression given away, has to be a part of the plan. Essentially, prevailing as a great speaker is an art; an art that must be practiced and polished until a fresh gem is formed. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are not unaware of this powerful tool. Romney describes how every hard working American deserves a better future. He argues that America has been in an economic downfall and if a new president is not elected, this country’s circumstances are not going to improve. Obama tells us that the process of a strong America takes time. That slowly but surely, we are getting there. That he is opening opportunities for every American in this country.
No matter who’s side you are on, rhetorical craft snakes and infests itself around both of their powerful speeches, in even the most heartfelt excerpts. As Plato once said, “Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.”
Both Romney and Obama have one purpose of action, to become the next president of the United States. America is waiting, watching, and listening. It is not simply about the issues that are being discussed but how they are delivered. Obama’s well-liked personality greatly appeals to pathos. President Obama lays out the idea that the country is all in this together. That we are united and to build up will “require common effort” and “shared responsibility.” These ideas rally people up. These are words that evoke hope, and that give the nation a sense of security that they are not alone. Romney tends to use his opponent’s objectives as a base for attack. His gestures and smiles after he describes a plan Obama has previously explained tell the crowd that these ideas are too far fetched. Romney discredits Obama and establishes validity for himself by explaining that his competitor does not have business experience, but that Romney himself is a businessman, and he has learned “how America works” from his experiences.
Both of these dexterous speeches were extremely successful in their use of rhetoric. The real question is which of these speeches prevails over the other.
So, how does Obama do it? Rowdy up a people and inspire thousands. As Bill Clinton explained in his DNC speech, “I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside.” Based on the president’s speech, Obama appears to be a “down to earth” individual, one that is still fervent for the success of this country. Between the austere issues of “jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace” there are comforting and securing concluding sentences, and laughs from the president that lay a blanket of relief among the living crowd. This of course appeals to pathos, but as well as ethological properties. Obama is building up his already established credibility. Obama knows when to joke and laugh, but he is also completely aware of the crisis and understands that these obstacles need to be overcome. He is building up his political resume for whoever listens.
“Now, I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.” Be patient America. You cannot expect me to fix your issues overnight. Just trust that this will get done. Here, the three pillars of rhetoric lie in a single sentence. He is being relatable. No great task or job is simple, and as hard working Americans, we must understand that. Acknowledging this specific pathologic appeal generates a logical one. Speaking from the point of view of an audience member, it is logical to have to work for a stronger nation. It is logical to be patient about grand...
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