Presidential Rhetoric from Wilson to "W": Popular Politics Meets Recalcritant Reality

Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Critical Review
Volume
19
Issue Number
2
Publication Date
January 2007
Institution
Critical Review Foundation
Abstract
With the publication of Jeffrey Tulis's The Rhetorical Presidency, Woodrow Wilson's contribution to a major transformation in the American presidency—and in American politics—came to be recognized. But while Wilson believed that the danger of presidential demagoguery was overrated, forms of demagoguery that he underestimated have undermined the legitimacy of America's presidential democracy, in both its Wilsonian, plebiscitary form; and in the rule by decree to which presidents sometimes turn when their rhetoric does not suffice. The basic problem that Wilson overlooked is the mismatch between effective rhetoric and what can actually be accomplished, even by the most popular of presidents.
Topic
Politics
Political Geography
America