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Presidents, Prime Ministers and Policy Rhetoric: The 'Credibility Gaps' of Woodrow Wilson and Kevin Rudd in the League of Nations and Climate Change Debates

Citation

Grube, DC and Widmaier, W, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Policy Rhetoric: The 'Credibility Gaps' of Woodrow Wilson and Kevin Rudd in the League of Nations and Climate Change Debates, Political Studies, 63, (2) pp. 336-352. ISSN 0032-3217 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-9248.12093

Abstract

© 2014 The Authors. US President Woodrow Wilson and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd were separated by institutional contexts, relative power positions and decades in time. However, each confronted a similar dilemma - of reconciling rhetorical idealism with policy practicalities. Building on insights from studies of the US rhetorical presidency, we offer a framework highlighting the tensions between 'outside' moral appeals which raise expectations and the 'inside' technocratic rhetoric of policy administration. We argue that norms encouraging moral appeals have come to transcend institutional differences between 'presidential' and 'prime ministerial' systems. Despite the different contexts of the Wilson-era League of Nations debate and the Rudd-era carbon tax-Kyoto controversies, we argue that pressures to 'speak in two voices' engendered credibility gaps that undermined each leader's congressional and parliamentary support. In concluding, we suggest that this analysis supports a more nuanced appreciation of the rhetorical imperatives that can impede policy efficiency - and the need to limit tendencies to either populist or intellectual partisanship.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Political Science
Research Field:Political Science not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and Politics
Objective Field:Government and Politics not elsewhere classified
Author:Grube, DC (Associate Professor Dennis Grube)
ID Code:99012
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Faculty of Arts
Deposited On:2015-03-11
Last Modified:2017-10-12
Downloads:0

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