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Title:Selective speaking: The new form of "Going Public"
Author(s):Roberts, Brian
Director of Research:Gaines, Brian J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gaines, Brian J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Althaus, Scott L.; Tewksbury, David H.; Quirk, Paul
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):going public
presidential communication
presidential leadership
permanent campaign
presidential rhetoric
Abstract:The central assertion of the vast “going public” literature is that since the mid-1970s, the traditional strategy of executive-legislative bargaining has been largely supplanted by direct appeals from American presidents to the American public. In their attempt to analyze the causes and consequences of this use of presidential speeches, scholars have relied almost exclusively on analysis of major national addresses rather than the significantly more frequent minor addresses. Indeed, it is these minor presidential addresses that are most responsible for the exponential growth in presidential speechmaking activity during the modern presidency. Analyzing data of every presidential speech between 1945 and 2004, I present compelling empirical evidence that the “going public” strategy can be best understood by concentrating more attention on these minor addresses, specifically the audience of these minor addresses. Using what is arguably the most pointed and extensive treatment of the audience of minor addresses to date and an illustrative case study, I document a clear increase in the number of speeches by presidents to what I classify as more selective rather than public audiences. In addition to descriptive accounts of this paradigmatic shift in presidential speechmaking, negative binomial regression and multinomial logit models identify leading conditions that influence both the frequency and choice of speeches to various audience types, particularly selective audiences. The study concludes with a discussion of the normative implications of the empirical evidence.
Issue Date:2011-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Brian Roberts
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-01-21
Date Deposited:2010-12

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