Award Date

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Department

Communication

First Committee Member

Donovan Conley, Chair

Second Committee Member

Tom Burkholder

Third Committee Member

David Henry

Graduate Faculty Representative

David Fott

Number of Pages

133

Abstract

For over seventy-five years, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has played a significant role in the crafting of executive policy rhetoric. Yet, within the scholarship in presidential and rhetorical studies, the OLC remains one of the least understood and, thus, underappreciated forces behind executive policy action. This thesis seeks to bridge the research gap by: (1) accounting for the OLC's rhetorical history through discussion of available "opinions" and their rhetorical consequences; and (2) by submitting a case study from the OLC's rhetorical history to critical analysis. Often, I will argue, the OLC "co-invented" international and domestic policies with White House officials--policies with real effects in the realm of global and domestic affairs. These effects culminated under President George W. Bush, for whom the OLC became an invaluable legal interpretive resource in the war on terror. Throughout, the traditional conception of rhetorical invention is expanded upon to account for jointly- or co-invented rhetorics. This end is facilitated by the historical-theoretical framework of rhetorical hermeneutics.

Keywords

Bush; George W. (George Walker); 1946-; Invention (Rhetoric); Legal opinions; Office of Legal Counsel; Rhetoric political aspects; Rhetorical invention

Disciplines

Communication | Rhetoric | Rhetoric and Composition | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Language

English


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