Home > B2 > Taking the Power to Persuade Too Far

Taking the Power to Persuade Too Far

We have studied in our Government class the powers of the Presidency. The modern presidency requires use of different powers that are not outlined in the Constitution. He uses this power while in office communicating to Congress and the House, but he also needs to use it while communicating to the public. The President must use the Power to Persuade in order to gain the support of the American people. During speeches, addresses and debates he has to appeal to the public’s needs. With his power to persuade he is able to rally and gain voters and supporters.  Although I understand it is necessary to do as much as you can to please voters, I do not think stretching the truth should be an option.

The President has to appeal to his supporters and the majority of the citizens in the US. With that, there is a chance that he may stretch the truth in order to please the majority. Sometimes, “The president sets soaring expectations, but doesn’t meet them. His broken promises, failed veto threats, and reversals…” (Chandler).  Not only can a President promise things that will not happen, but he also can exaggerate or even say the wrong thing in front of the whole United States.

Regarding my topic I wanted to find parts of Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address where his words, facts, and numbers were not completely right. As I read through two articles [Washington Post and Fox News] I noticed that even the smallest change in words can alter the whole context of what the public hears. There are many cases where President Obama does not say what is actually correct because he phrases his speeches, debates and addresses in wrong context.

Obama giving his State of the Union Address 2013

For the first example fact Obama states in his address he mentions jobs. Obama says, “After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs.”

Obama is generally telling the truth but he counts the number of new jobs from the point in his first term when job losses were at their highest. He ignores the around 5 million job losses up to his first term. With regard to other factors and elements he technically had an increase of 1.2 million jobs.

Next, Obama states that, “We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas.”

The drastic assumption that Obama makes is not right. We are not even close to doubling the distance we go on a gallon of gas. The deal that the Obama Administration made with automakers will create an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. So, Obama is definitely stretching the truth in this statement.

Obama also says that, “We buy … less foreign oil than we have in 20 [years].”

There really is nothing that relates the decline of foreign oil consumption to Obama’s presidency. If anything the decline started 2 years before Obama’s presidency. To show the decline Bloomberg says, “In 2011, the U.S. relied on imports for 44.8 percent of its petroleum consumption, down from 60.3 percent in 2005, according to EIA data.”

The United State’s citizens listen and learn from what the President says and promises. I feel it is the job of the President to provide facts, numbers and statements that are true to the entire United States. How can we grow as a nation when we are not given the correct information from our own leader? US citizens are becoming less informed and interested in government and Andrew Romano says, “Most experts agree that the relative complexity of the U.S. political system makes it hard for Americans to keep up.” Citizens definitely do not have to know everything about government and the system but they need to be informed about the state of the US and what challenges we are facing. Because the President is a main source of information it is necessary that the info he says is accurate and reliable. Pleasing the public with what they want to hear does not help the United States as a whole and can cause confusion and agreement to decisions that can harm us as a nation.

When President Obama is addressing the United States’ Citizens, should he please the people by saying the things they want to hear or should he stick to the cold hard facts. Obviously he has to persuade voters by saying the things people want to hear, but does that hurt the US as a whole? Is it the job of US citizens to know about all the topics that the President talks about and decipher when he is not exactly telling the truth or says something wrong? Overall, I definitely think the needed use of  persuading the public and voters can cause a skew in the line of fact and truth being told the public.

President Obama Campaigning: Persuading Voters

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  1. govthomasn
    February 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I would like to see elaboration on what is potentially harmful to the public from the Presidents power to persuade.

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