The Rhetorical Presidency Meets the Unitary Executive: Implications for Presidential Rhetoric on Public Policy


Communication scholars interested in presidential rhetoric on public policy are very familiar with the rhetorical presidency, but there is another paradigm worth our consideration: the unitary executive. This model emphasizes the institutional reasons why presidents might not use public discourse to promote their policies, relying instead on the expanding powers of the executive branch. Although there is relatively little discussion of one model within scholarship dedicated to the other, this essay argues for the benefits of considering both models simultaneously. As changes occur within the executive office's capacity for creating and enforcing public policy, so too must our critical orientation to the study of presidential rhetoric.