On Monday night, when President Bush interrupted my TV watching, I told Allie to turn it off. Didn't want to hear it.
But she insisted to leaving it on. She said she was in the mood to hear his idiot drawl.
So I listened while playing a stupid Internet game. And after awhile I start thinking, Damn! This is pretty good.
I haven't been paying attention to the news. I don't know how the pundits scored the speach. But from my perspective it was beautifully written, and delivered with an almost perfect mix of authority, thoughtfulness and down-home plain talk.
Of course, I knew it was mostlly bunk -- all the stuff about how the war in Iraq is vital to our freedom and all that. But that's not the point. Presidential speeches aren't really about reality. They're about framing the debate. They're about persuasion.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as we gear up for the new debate season. We're running an argument this year about the importance of persuasion, about the need to strike a balance between ethos, pathos and logos inorder to affect just about anything.
They're keys to power.
Some of our primary evidence is the last two presidential campaigns. Both Gore and Kerry were both almost entirely logos-centered, we argue. Little real emotion, no clear sense of their characters. Bush, on the other hand...
Bush's cowboy, or barbecue buddy schtick might be complete hooey, but it works.
Good speech. That's where the opposition needs to be.