Author Topic: Rhetoric and the Modern Presidency  (Read 4189 times)

David Hirsch

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Rhetoric and the Modern Presidency
« on: May 03, 2012, 07:35:39 PM »
A preface then two questions:

Lincoln author James L. Swanson question to David Hirsch after Hirsch's presentation “And the War Came: The Geography of Language” at the National Archives II Abraham Lincoln Institute 14th Annual Symposium, March 26, 2011.

“Are you pessimistic, because unlike in the case of Lincoln, when we know he wrote 99 percent of all the words he uttered in public, or his mind thought those words and then he said them, are you pessimistic about the rise of political speech writers in the modern era? Does that forever break the link between the mind of the leader and the words spoken to the public, and does that lead to great trouble? Are we at the stage now where we can never go back to the mind and time of Lincoln, because the speech writer now intervenes between leader and public?”

Two questions:

1. How does "Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason" affect the answer to James L. Swanson's question?
2. How does "Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason" affect the answer to James L. Swanson's question?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 07:37:20 PM by David Hirsch »

History101

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Re: Rhetoric and the Modern Presidency
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 09:22:00 AM »
So out of curiosity, how did you respond to this question? And is your new book on sale yet?

David Hirsch

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Re: Rhetoric and the Modern Presidency
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 10:08:41 AM »
That is a fair question.

You can see my response at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP2c61YDzyU&feature=feedf

It is a little over 30 minutes into the presentation, I think the first question. You should be able to scroll the button over if you don't want to listen to the whole speech.

While I didn't think my response was bad, neither did I think it was great. So I have thought about it ever since. I am curious how others might respond -- particularly those who have read "Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason" or our soon to be released "Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason".

Eventually I will post my "current" version of how I would have answered the question.

===
At first I did not "process" your second question. "Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason" should literally be out any day now. Will post here when it is available.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 01:29:32 PM by David Hirsch »

David Hirsch

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Re: Rhetoric and the Modern Presidency
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 12:37:00 PM »
As per earlier message promising to indicate when Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason becomes available. It is presently available on Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008AKOFOO

It should become available within a few days on all other major electronic platforms.

And the way I would answer the modern presidency question today (generally regarding whether speech writers cause a president to become more detached):

Properly using the six elements of a proposition can enable someone with staff to be more engaged. Lincoln in effect had a template (as Obama does now). The executive needs to identify the proposition to be proved. Easy to delegate the given, the Exposition. The Construction and Proof can also be delegated (though require refinement). Same with Conclusion. The executive can broadly control, and then finely control. Because of the structure, no work is wasted; drafts are not thrown away -- they develop.

I now write appellate briefs about twice as quickly as before because of this system (and I don't delegate much). And the briefs are better written. My briefs are shorter and my letters are longer.