Tags: Barack Obama | Barack Obama

A President's Words are His Bond

By Friday, 05 September 2014 02:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In America a person is defined by his or her words.

Does the person mean what they say? Will there words meet their actions?
Can they be trusted? Can they be relied upon?

It is a foundational principal in judging someone’s character that a person’s word is his or her bond. That is to say — when a person gives their word, the person to whom the words were directed or intended can rely on them — to be accurate and beyond reproach.

One of the most important assets in an American President’s ability to lead is his word. The Bully Pulpit is a powerful tool of a president of the United States to announce policy, rally citizens, put fear in enemies, and give comfort to allies.

A president’s words should always be carefully crafted and vetted to assure accuracy and clarity.

Jeffrey Tulis wrote on this subject in his book, The Rhetorical Presidency. Tulis said that 20th century presidents were expected to “defend themselves publicly, to promote policy initiatives nationwide and to inspirit the population.” He went on to state that it is “essential” for the president of the U.S. to communicate directly with the people in order to gain their support for policy initiatives or for action — domestically and internationally.

Tulis went on to allege that modern day presidents are governed by two constitutions.
The first being the U.S. Constitution and the second representing the expansion of his executive powers. The second is in direct conflict with the limited powers of the first.

Obama is a great example of this principle in practice.

Obama has used his words and rhetoric addressed to the masses for the express purposes of circumventing the U.S. Constitution and Congressional deliberation, action and oversight.

Obama’s initial disregard of Congress was done to appeal directly to the people to put pressure on Congress. Today however, Obama’s disregard of Congress is done to accomplish that which he cannot get done through the legislative process.

His pen and phone have becomes the metaphor for his actions by executive order, regulation or administrative directive.

Tulis says that the 20th century president possesses “rhetorical power” which is a “very special case of executive power”, which he uses to “defend the use of force and other executive powers.” Tulis postulates that presidents today — and I would say Obama in particular — uses presidential communication to not only inform or persuade but seeks to provide the people he seeks to influence with furnishing them with the words, phrases, and slogans needed to gain their support.

Tulis warns that a president’s rhetoric does have its limits. When a president’s words are misleading, inaccurate, confusing or inappropriate his ability to lead is dramatically affected.

Obama’s polling bears this out.

Newsmax in April of this year published and article entitled, “FOX Poll: Most Americans think Obama Lies.” In that article it reported that six in ten Americans think that Obama lies on important issues some or most of the time.

One of the most telling findings that 50 percent of respondents think that the President of the United States knowingly lied when he stated, “if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it. Period.”

Add to this, Obama’s misstatements like the one just last week when he said “we do not have a strategy yet” with regard to dealing with Isis and you have a severe and debilitating deficit of trust.

Every time a president gets tripped up on what he says either by misstatement or worse, he erodes his ability to lead.

When a White House spends most of its time explaining, "what the president meant to say" - there is a huge problem. The most effective president is one needing no explanation because his words are clear and convincing and not susceptible to interpretation or explanation.

Today Obama’s words regardless of topic are suspect. No longer are people taking his words to the bank.

The coin of the realm for a president of the U.S. is his credibility in word and deed.

Obama’s is in the red.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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It is a foundational principal in judging someone’s character that a person’s word is his or her bond.
Barack Obama
Friday, 05 September 2014 02:59 PM
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