Paul Ryan -- Early Hint of Rhetorical Excellence

Republican Vice Presidential Nomineee excels rhetorically in a first interview with "60 Minutes' Bob Schieffer.


Red Maryland  

As a long-time professor of rhetoric and communication, I am particularly attuned to persuasive style in political candidates.    

Tonight on "60 Minutes" veteran correspondent Bob Schieffer interviewed Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his choice for vice president, Wisconsin's Paul Ryan.  

Throughout the interview Ryan in particular was asked leading questions, such as whether his role would be the attack dog role that some vice presidential candidates have taken in the past.    

Schieffer could have asked simply what Ryan's emphasis would be in his role as vice presidential candidate, but typically for an interviewer he tried to lead the respondent to the answer he desired.  

To his credit, and I don't  wish to say that this is definitive evidence of how he will handle his persuasion throughout his candidacy, Ryan did not use the words of the question in his answer and insisted that his role was to explicate policy  -- particularly economic policy -- and articulate the Romney-Ryan positions on critical issues of the day, not distractions fomented by the other side.    

Throughout the interview Ryan was substantive, substantive, substantive.  His implied philosophy was that here are too many real exigencies facing the country to waste time on personal attacks and irrelevant matters.

When describing how the Democratically-controlled Senate wouldn't pass a budget despite the law requiring such, he called the government "dysfunctional," not "criminal." Good choice of language again, Rep. Ryan.

Good start, Mr. Republican Vice-Presidential candidate.

Professor Vatz is Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

JDStuts August 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
"Good start, Mr. Republican Vice-Presidential candidate." Except Ryan isn't the Republican Vice President candidate yet. Romney can withdraw from the contest before the official nomination. Say, hypothetically, he releases earlier tax returns that show he paid no taxes for 10 years or that he took the IRS amnesty in 2009 for not declaring money in foreign countries and thus committed a crime. The GOP could ask him to withdraw or choose an alternate. Theoretically, Santorum could be the nominee after the final vote on August 30 since only he has the plurality of delegates in five delegations as required by the nominating rules. It appears rhetoric and communication at TU leaves a lot to be desired. Is this how our tax dollars in public universities are being wasted. At least if Romney/Ryan are elected and implement Ryan's blueprint Vatz will be laid off due to the severe budget crunch in higher ed. Remember - no more Pell grants.
Richard E. Vatz August 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Is there a Maryland liberal who can pen a serious substantive point and also not rely on uninformed personal attack? I usually don't respond to this type of embarrassing prose, and I shall not in the future, but good, substantive exchange is what grownups should engage in. Richard E. Vatz Richard E. Vatz
Sean Tully August 14, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I personally wish you'd respond more, Dr. Vatz, not less. I think it is great you are blogging on the Patch. The Patch has a great format, although their forum isn't really up to parr. In any event, I understand you are busy and can't get bogged down in endless back and forth debating on Internet forums. But I, for one, appreciate your point of view.
Sean Tully August 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM
p.s. Dr. Vatz, you should also consider duplicating this blog on other Patch websites. The Arbutus Patch has a very conservative readership that is rather active on the forums too. Dundalk and Essex are also conservative and active. You may boost your readership and get more debate on your views if you also include those Patches.
Ron Burgundy August 15, 2012 at 10:45 PM
What about the Brit Hume interview? I would think that you would grade a student a D- or even an F if the answer to "when does your plan balance the budget?" and it's YOUR OWN plan was, "we didn't run the numbers". What? Brit Hume was more than fair but if that's the best you could do you're in trouble, what are your thoughts on that performance.


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