Rhetoric: the Political Sleight of Hand

Topics: Rhetoric, Fallacy, George H. W. Bush Pages: 3 (1169 words) Published: July 31, 2013
Rhetoric: the Political Sleight of Hand
During the 1990, the United States of America was burdened with a huge debt due to the enormous spending in the military and reduced tax rate. In order to curb this deficit, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, made an address to the Nation on the Budget Deficit on October 2nd 1990. Other than just presenting the solutions to the problems, Bush uses rhetoric, the political sleight of hand, to craft an effective speech. By doing so, Bush astutely appeals to ethos, mostly, and intentionally installs logical fallacies. This creates an emotional effect which captures the audience’s concerns and attentions to the deficit. In turn, this propels the audience to support the deficit reduction plan which, supposedly, would help to improve the dire economic situation.

Straight off the bat, Bush presents the deficit issue and further elaborates about how it would haunt their future generations and how it would exacerbate the current situation, if no appropriate actions are taken. For instance, Bush utilizes the rhetorical device, amplification, to amplify the subject “fear” in this sentence, “…fears – fears of the economic chaos that would follow if we fail to reduce the deficit” (G. H. Bush). This poses as a fear for the audience, who is the general public and specifically, the working people of the United States of America, about their future financial well-being. With the element of fear implemented, the audience would be more concerned with the deficit situation. On the other hand, Bush also uses a logical fallacy – argument from final consequences, which is also known as teleological argument – to explain the source of the budget deficit. Teleological arguments are based on a reversal of cause and effect (Top 20 Logical Fallacies). Initially, he explains that there are simple rules that apply to the economy such as, “when you get a bill, that bill must be paid. And when you write a check,...
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