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Criticizing Bill Clinton Speech Essay

Clinton / Lewinsky / apology / speech

Essay Topic:

The critical review of Bill Clinton’s apology speech in terms of techniques which are appealing for the audience.

Essay Questions:

Why was Bill Clinton’s apology speech so important? Did all the techniques of the speech create an appealing image of the president? What were the main mistakes of the speech?

Thesis Statement:

A close look at the speech opens a wide range of elements did not manage to make it truly appealing for the citizens of the United States of America.

 

Criticizing Bill Clinton Speech Essay

“If a President of the United States ever lied to the American people he should resign” William J. Clinton,1974

Introduction: Critics should pay a very special attention to the Bill Clinton apology speech. The speech of the ex-president Bill Clinton was a bright example of how perfect rhetoric techniques might fail to deliver the message of a president to a mass audience if it goes about his morality. In his speech, Clinton, actually confesses he had a private relationship with Monica Lewinsky. It is a rule that such a confession and especially from a person of the highest position in the society means the end of the career. It took William Jefferson Clinton seven month to realize that people need apologies not for the deed, but for the lies. A close look at the speech opens a wide range of elements did not manage to make it truly appealing for the citizens of the United States of America.

In his speech, Mr. Clinton admitted he did a wrong thing and at the same time he did not truly show how much he regretted that his “misbehavior” lead to irreversible consequences in his private and political life. The key failure of the speech is that Mr. Clinton moved the accent away from the affair he had to the necessity to concentrate on more important things. In other words he told the society that they are stuck on unserious matters, while important political events are taking place. Bill Clinton’s goal was to make people get over the scandalous relationship and concentrate on America as a nation or basically subconsciously reproached the nation. Mr. Clinton, in this speech built the next strategy: not to fit the stereotype of a man bringing his apologies, not to be miserable, but to show how strong he is by saying these words aloud and therefore to how strong he can be in any other problem. He claimed to apologize, but at the same time he did not do it at all. He seemed to “open his cards” to American citizens but at the same time not a single detail concerning his relationship with Lewinsky was revealed. In his speech Mr. Clinton is not looking for forgiveness, but is just admitting that what he did was “inappropriate”. He called for understanding him as a man that has a right for his private life. His phrase “…even presidents have private lives…" became a rhetoric atomic bomb that destroyed the faith of the American nation. Logics do not apply here; as not all those who have private lives are presidents. Mr. Clinton “washed away” the belief that being a president requires sacrifices from a person. It happened that Clinton’s life was not “of his own matter”, and if he wanted it to be that way he was not to be a president. Mr. Clinton, forgot that he is the face of the nation, while appealing this very nation.

What makes this speech significant is that though it is rhetorically correct and right, it did not work out, but actually made a lot of people turn away from their president.

There are many opinions concerning this speech. Some critics like it and consider successful, some do not, but the truth is that this speech is not an apology at all. And this is the reason the apology rhetorical techniques are not the ones to evaluate.

The question of the speech is that Mr. Clinton did owed an apology to the nation, for giving people a non-political reason to talk about for seven month.

The review of Mr. Clinton’s speech reveals the following word analysis:

“Total words devoted to self-justification: 134

Total words devoted to taking responsibility: 92

Total words devoted to regret for actions: 4

Total words devoted to attack on prosecutor: 180

Total words devoted to "time to move on" theme: 137

Total words devoted to apology: None”[4].

Conclusion:The rhetorical apology speech failed simply because Mr. Clinton failed to say:” I apologize. I am sorry”. The problem of the speech is that apology DID truly matter to the nation. And if it did not the nation would have “moved on” a long time ago. Indeed the nation understood the President’s message literally. It did move on, but with another president, because they do have “important work to do - real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face”.

 

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