Let's talk politics: New essays on deliberative rhetoric pages:171-184
Rhetoric in Society edition:3 location:Antwerp, Belgium date:26-28 January 2011
Barack Obama’s early public speeches were inherently and totally ‘rhetorical’. Obama used to find the perfect balance between logos, ethos and pathos, and (re)created the dream of American people engaged in solving problems and creating a community. He appealed to the belief in change that can a.o. be achieved by the art of speaking well. In this paper, I will show how Obama’s biographer David Remnick presents his subject as a living example of the rhetor. I will also show how the biography is structured around the general idea of rhetoric as a humanistic project. I will discuss the strength and problems of this approach, along with Remnick’s romantic notion about the arc of civil rights history and his urge to report on the election of the first black president.