Law Profs’ Blog Analyzes the Rhetoric of Campaign 2012
U.Va. law professors Molly Bishop Shadel and Robert Sayler, pictured at right, wrote the book on the art on oral argument. Really. Their book, “Tongue-Tied America: Reviving the Art of Verbal Persuasion,” earned them lots of attention about 18 months ago.
Now they’re using the lessons they taught in their book to analyze the run for the White House. In their blog, Tongue-Tied Applied, they’re busy critiquing some of the key addresses from the candidates and their surrogates, plus advertising.
As you might expect, the conventions are producing some pretty good fodder. “Anyone can watch a convention and decide whether a speech seems good or not,” Shadel said. “What we’re trying to do is explain to you why it’s working and how it’s working — or not working.”
They liked Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, with some reservations (he got a B). They raved about Michelle Obama’s keynote (she got an A). As of this writing, nothing was yet posted about Bill Clinton’s address last night. Give ‘em some time.
Clint Eastwood? Not so much. “Surprise guest Clint Eastwood may prove to be the most vivid memory that many viewers will take away from Mitt Romney’s big day, with his incoherent speech that included a strange (and off-color) dialogue with an invisible, imaginary Barack Obama,” they wrote.
(Read more on the Law School news page.)