chapter  3
Governing Spirits: Body Politic Scenarios and Schemas in the French Revolution Debate
Pages 25

This chapter analyses how Bush and Obama's narratives and metaphors combine within political oratory to become elements of linguistic rituals and how they work as interpellative devices to forge hegemony and legitimize presidential authority. It examines how both presidents deal with the issues of war and US national security and identify some of the continuities and contrasts in their uses of narrative and metaphor. Bush struggled to make his view of the world hegemonic as Obama successfully contested the meanings that Bush had sought to attribute to the symbolic keywords of US presidential oratory, from liberty, freedom and democracy to civilization and the rule of law. Both Bush's and Obama's speeches also exemplify the way 'formalized codes' work to shift the register onto the plane of the sacred. Obama's change in tone differed radically from that of Bush, initially capturing the enthusiasm of the American-and global-public tired of permanent war.