Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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p. vii

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Preface

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p. ix

The chapters in this book address different aspects of George Bush as a rhetorical president. That approach may strike some as strange inasmuch as George Herbert Walker Bush was not known for his eloquence, nor will he be remembered for his oratory. Even so, he was...

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Acknowledgment

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p. xi

No book comes together without the assistance of many hands. We are particularly grateful to the archival staff at the George Bush Presidential Library, which was under the direction of Douglas Menarchik at the time this volume was prepared. Chief archivist...

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1: Why Rhetoric Matters: George H. W. Bush in the White House

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pp. 3-18

It may seem intuitively wrongheaded to use George Herbert Walker Bush as an example of why rhetoric matters. Many would find the opposite proposition more likely—that rhetoric did not matter to Bush...

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2: George Bush’s Struggle with the “Vision Thing”

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pp. 19-36

From his 1988 campaign until he left the White House, George Bush was heavily criticized for lacking a “vision.” Tom Collins of Newsday declared in August 1988, “the campaign lacks a soul, an ideal, or what George Bush unpoetically calls ‘the vision...

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3: And the Wall Came Tumbling Down: Bush’s Rhetoric of Silence during German Reunification

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pp. 37-55

In early November 1989 events of historical import were taking place in Germany. The Berlin Wall was being torn down, and refugees from throughout much of the Eastern Bloc were streaming into what was still known as West Germany to seek a new life of freedom. Yet the president...

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4: Agency and Agent in George Bush’s Gulf War Rhetoric

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pp. 56-80

Saddam Hussein had been president of Iraq for ten years when, in 1989, his government began to build up a military force along its border with the small, wealthy nation of Kuwait. In February 1990, Hussein denounced...

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5: The New World Order: President Bush and the Post–Cold War Era

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pp. 81-101

For over four decades, the world quivered under the specter of nuclear annihilation. The era of nuclear brinkmanship between the two superpowers, however, lost political fuel as the Soviet Union started imploding under the pressure of its own toppling economy. A world that had...

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6: Political Truancy: George Bush’s Claim to the Mantle of “Education President”

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pp. 102-118

When George Bush campaigned in 1988 to be the “education president,” he left people wondering, “But what are his actual goals?” Four years later, following two major legislative initiatives, two secretaries of education, a governors’ summit, and countless ceremonial speeches, that question...

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7: Prudence, Procrastination, or Politics: George Bush and the Earth Summit of 1992

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pp. 119-148

During the 1988 campaign George Bush dubbed himself the “Environmental President.”1 Four years later, in June 1992, Bush was asked to put his environmentalist label on the line at the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (also known as...

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8: George Bush and the Religious Right

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pp. 149-170

Beginning with the 1976 presidential campaign season, the Religious Right became a presence in national politics, aligning with the Republican Party in 1980 to elect Ronald Reagan.1 Religious conservative voters who once supported fellow evangelical Jimmy Carter decided by 1980 that he...

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9: Economically Speaking: George Bush and the Price of Perception

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pp. 171-196

James Carville’s ubiquitous slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid,” became the Achilles’ heel of the Bush reelection effort. The Democratic mantra resonated with American voters because of the perceived weakness of the...

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Afterword: Evaluating the Rhetorical Presidency of George H. W. Bush

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pp. 197-200

Insofar as presidents try to communicate their ideas to an audience, they are rhetorical presidents. Some clearly succeed in this endeavor better than others, but all are rhetorical, whether successful or not. The last quarter of the twentieth century was remarkable for featuring...

Contributors

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pp. 201-202

Index

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pp. 203-207