Rhetorical Devices in Bill Clinton’s Speech at the Democratic Convention
A rhetorical device is a type of language that is used by a speaker or a writer, and is intended to have a persuasive effect on an audience. However, it is mostly expected to persuade the audience to look on a particular topic from a different perspective. At the Democratic Convention in 2012, the former President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, uses various rhetorical devices as he campaigns in support of the current president; Barrack Obama. To start with, he talks of the policy of “we are in this together is a far better philosophy than you are on your own”.
This is an example of ANTITHESIS, which is a type of rhetorical device that is known as a slogan. “We are in this together”, which means that a group of people is in a problem and all of them are accountable for finding a solution. He uses this device to argue that the problems encountered by the Americans affect all citizens. Moreover, it is the responsibility of every one to work upon the problems facing the Americans. This belief is contrary to the Republicans, who argue that every man is on his or her own.
He uses this to attract cohesion among democrats. Secondly, he says “a broken clock is right twice a day.” He says this as he tries to show the public how the Republican Party hates President Obama to a point of them being at a constant conflict rather than cooperating to develop America. It is known that a broken clock does not move. The only right time is where the clock stopped working.
He argues that for a nation to succeed there has to be cooperation and prolific contribution from every inhabitant of America. He uses the rhetorical device of METHAPHOR to show that a government that is founded on constant conflict is barely right, and that is the type of government that he says that the Republicans are likely to establish. In addition, he states that the Republicans argue that “we left him a total mess nd he has not cleaned it fast enough, so we take him out” (ANTITHESIS AND ANTISTROPHE). The first hand meaning of this statement is that a mess was left by the Republicans for Barrack Obama to clean. Since he did not clean it fast enough, they argue that he has to be taken out of office.
In addition, the statement means that Obama did not achieve what was expected of him. However, President Clinton asserts that no president could have done a better job than that which President Obama and his Administration have done. So he encourages the American people to let Obama finish what he had already started by voting him for a second term. Moreover, he articulates that “it takes some balls to attack a man for doing what you did.” This means that hardly do we see people blaming people for doing what they have done.
This is because the Republicans attack Obama about his medical plan, while they have the same plan in their budget. Clinton adds some HUMOR and IRONY to make the message understandable and easy. He uses this to support president Obama by showing that the Republicans will bring harm to the health care system rather than help in improving it.Moreover, he declares that the Republicans “keep on running heads”. This is attributed to show how enthusiastic the Republicans are at spreading the wrong ideas to the public. The meaning of this is not that they are running heads but that they are working hard at changing people’s minds on how they perceive President Obama.
The Republicans’ aim is to take democrats supporters to their camp. Besides, he says that “I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its own share of adversity and uncertainty.” This is an example of tricolon and anaphora. Additionally, he uses ALLITERATION. From this statement, he refers to President Barrack Obama who has had to go through a series of struggles to be successful.
This strategy is useful in swaying the public. The public mostly wants a man who understands their troubles and there is no one better suited than the President Barrack Obama. Clinton says that “democracy does not have to be a blood spot, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest.” This is a device known as ANTITHESIS. He uses this not referring to a spot where blood is spilt, but rather referring to the way Hillary Clinton and President Obama worked.
Even though Hillary Clinton ran against the current president in the previous party elections, the President worked with her, and they showed that democracy is having public interest at heart and not serving individual interest. That is, formerly two disagreeing parties can work together for the interest of a nation. He also uses rhetorical questions when he tells the republicans that they are not going to put the president back on the job. He then asks the public, “Are you ready for that?” This is a RHETORICAL QUESTION. This proves to be particularly helpful since the public reacts tremendously as an indication that they are ready to elect the President for the second term.
He also says that most politicians want the public to believe that they were born in a log cabin and they built themselves. This does not necessarily mean that they were born in log cabins but means that they do not want people to know that they are from backgrounds that are well up. He says this to support Obama, since President Obama has had his struggles and to him, he is the best president for the American people. He also refers to the ideologies of the Republicans as an “alternative universe”. This METAPHOR is used to refer to the Republicans’ ideas as not being suitable for people.
From his point of approach, they should not be applied in America. If the Republicans take power, things will not run according the expectations of the people.