The Idea of An Unrhetoricla Presidency

Author
Bryan Garsten
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Critical Review
Volume
19
Issue Number
2
Publication Date
January 2007
Institution
Critical Review Foundation
Abstract
Jeffrey Tulis's The Rhetorical Presidency should not be read as a tale of decline. It is not a call for an “un-rhetorical” presidency so much as an exploration of the fundamentally uneasy place that popular rhetoric occupies in constitutional governments. Popular rhetoric is one way that executives exercise their prerogative power, and the dilemmas about rhetoric that Tulis exposes arise from a fundamental fact about prerogative power that all presidents must confront: Strong constitutional governments seem almost necessarily to grant their chief executives more discretionary authority than is consistent with the idea of constitutional government. Whatever rhetorical style or strategy a president adopts, he must respond in one way or another to this fact.
Topic
Government