a content comparison of the verbal speeches delivered
by george herbert walker bush (1992) and george walker bush
This paper sought to compare the campaign
rhetoric of President George Herbert Walker Bush with that of
his Son, Texas Governor George Walker Bush*. The purpose of
this comparison was to determine if family ties can be considered
a factor in rhetorical analysis of political speech.
This presence of such a variable would
be interesting, for it would offer insight into the nature of
public discourse. How much of what a candidate says are his
own thoughts? How much can a candidate alter his or her speech
patterns to achieve political success.
The study drew upon the campaign speeches
of President Bush from the 1992 presidential campaign and the
speeches of Governor Bush from the 200 presidential campaign.
Using the content analysis software package DICTION, the speeches
of each Bush were scored and compared by creating a rank-order
of the rhetorical values.
The study found that while the rank-order
comparison showed a general pattern between the two men, President
Bush tended to score higher in most categories. This phenomenon
can be interpreted to mean that the younger Bush is simply not
as an effective speaker as the elder Bush, that the differences
in competition faced by the two men called for different rhetorical
strategies or that the younger Bush was simply more moderate
in his speeches than his father.
*Note: Due to the passage of the family
name from father to son, a chief pair of operational definitions
needed to be established to avoid confusion. Although both Bushes
did become president (at the time of this writing, George W.
Bush has just been declared the president-elect), the researcher
chose to refer to each by the respective positions he held during
his campaign. Thus, for the purpose of this study, "President
Bush" will refer exclusively to George Herbert Walker Bush,
the father, and "Governor Bush" will refer to George
Walker Bush, the son.
Stevens, All Rights Reserved.
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