Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Numerous colleagues, students, friends, and institutions contributed to this book through critical readings, stimulating conversations, Financial support, and less tangible forms of encouragement. First, I thank a special group of people who have assisted me with the challenges presented by cross-disciplinary research. Among those to whom I am most indebted, special thanks go to Markus...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-33

Presidential rhetoric both constrains and is constrained by political action regarding the natural environment. And our continued existence requires that environment. This collection of studies explores the interaction between presidential rhetoric and environmental debate. Its central purpose is to illuminate the rhetorical significance of crucial environmental discussions the presidency...

Part I: Environmental Rhetoric and the New Frontier

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1. Preaching Conservation: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of Civil Religion

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pp. 37-61

“The story is told of a congressman who, when pressed to aid in the conservation of his country’s natural resources for posterity’s sake, retorted, ‘What has posterity ever done for me?’” This anecdote reflects the lack of awareness many Americans had regarding the environment and the need for its conservation at the turn of the twentieth century. For the most part, people believed...

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2. Presidential Public Policy and Conservation: W. J. McGee and the People

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pp. 62-81

In 1890 the U.S. Census Bureau declared an end to a century of unlimited development by announcing the closing of the frontier.¹ Eighteen years later the railroad baron James J. Hill, a speaker at the White House Conference of Governors on the conservation of natural resources, associated the end of the frontier with the potential shortage of arable land: “We now...

Part II: Environmental Rhetoric and Political Pragmatism

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3. The President and the Reformer: Rhetoric, Politics, and the Environment under Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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pp. 85-112

Zachary Taylor is not remembered as an environmentalist. In fact, the nation’s twelfth president is probably not remembered today for much of anything at all. Taylor’s relative obscurity may be the result of his brief term; he served just over one year as chief executive, dying in 1850 after eating tainted cherries at a July Fourth celebration. Yet at least one of Taylor’s actions has had...

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4. Conservative Politics and the Politics of Conservation: Richard Nixon and the Environmental Protection Agency

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pp. 113-133

Many who came of political age during Richard Nixon’s presidency view him as an archetypal political “conservative.” This perception is rooted, of course, in the cultural and political legacies of the Vietnam War and Watergate. Yet for others who have reflected on the broad scope of his administration’s foreign and domestic policy initiatives, Nixon’s location on...

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5. Conservation Reconsidered: Environmental Politics, Rhetoric, and the Reagan Revolution

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pp. 134-153

Most analysts do not consider the Reagan presidency as a high point in the study of environmental politics. But the eight-year legacy of the Reagan administration has a signifficant place in the study of environmental history. Reagan presented a powerful vision that countered the conservation consensus of the previous twenty years and offered an alternative...

Part III: The Environmental President Who Wasn’t

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6. The (Re)Making of the “Environmental President”: Clinton/Gore and the Rhetoric of U.S. Environmental Politics, 1992–1996

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pp. 157-180

“If Bill Clinton is anything,” Whillock suggests, “he is an enigma to the public, a mass of contradictions.” Admired by generations that have grown up in the post–baby boom period for his postmodern conversational style, scolded by the Los Angeles Times for abdicating Teddy Roosevelt’s bully pulpit, and excoriated by archdruid environmentalist David Brower, for...

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7. Colliding Ironies and Clinton’s Salvage Rider Rhetoric in the Northwest Timber Controversy

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pp. 181-206

In 1995 a timber salvage rider passed in a budget bill, signed and endorsed by President Clinton, to block legal challenges to old-growth and salvage logging under existing environmental protection laws. Ostensibly, Republicans introduced the salvage rider to reduce the threat of Wre and restore “health” to forests plagued by disease, particularly in the West. But the...

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8. “We’re Coming Clean”: Clinton, Public Advocacy, and the Human Radiation Experiments

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pp. 207-229

In December, 1993, representatives of the Department of Energy announced their intention to disclose details of America’s secret atomic testing practices during the cold war. Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary opened a subsequent news conference by noting that she was “appalled, shocked, and deeply saddened” by what she had to report. O’Leary acknowledged that more...

Part IV: Presidential Rhetoric and Environmental Governance for the Twenty-first Century

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9. Topical Analysis and the Problem of Judgment in Environmental Disputes: The Case of Sustainable Forestry in New Hampshire

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pp. 233-257

Forty years ago Richard McKeon contended that the central problem for rhetorical studies in our time is how to coordinate thought and facilitate collaborative action in the presence of pluralism. Given the diversity of value perspectives on almost any public issue, what standards best constrain judgments and adjudicate among differences? From McKeon’s vantage...

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10. Global Gridlock: The American Presidency and the Framing of International Environmentalism, 1988–2000

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pp. 258-287

From its beginnings with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, through its expansion after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, to its move to the mainstream in the 1990s, the American environmental movement has typically focused on recycling, endangered species, conservation of natural lands, and the reduction of various pollutants. Although...

Contributors

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p. 288

Index

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pp. 289-294