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Presidential Rhetoric on Terrorism under Bush, Obama and Trump

Inflating and Calibrating the Threat after 9/11

Benefits

  • Provides a sweeping and comparative approach to how the war on terrorism has been conducted in America through the three Presidents who have held the position since 9/11

  • Offers the first data-driven look into how President’s since 9/11 have spoken about the terror threat

  • Sheds new light on how policies are sold by Presidents and how public opinion is changed by speeches

  • Debunks the myth that we live in a “post-9/11” world in terms of how terrorism is viewed by our leaders

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

Through the analysis of eighteen years of presidential data, this book shows how Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have conducted and framed the war on terror since its inception in 2001. Examining all presidential speeches about terrorism from George W. Bush’s two terms as President, Barack Obama’s two terms as President, and Donald Trump’s first year as President, this book is the first to compare the three post-9/11 presidents in how they have dealt with the terror threat. Presidential Rhetoric on Terrorism under Bush, Obama, and Trump argues that when policies need to be “sold” to the public and Congress, presidents make their pertinent issues seem urgent through frequent speech-making and threat inflation. It further illustrates how after policies are sold, a new President’s reticence may signify quiet acceptance of the old regime’s approach. After examining the conduct of the war on terror to date, it concludes by posing policy suggestions for the future.

Gabriel Rubin is Associate Professor of Justice Studies at Montclair State University, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and is the author of Freedom and Order: How Democratic Governments Restrict Civil Liberties after Terrorist Attacks—and Why Sometimes They Don’t (2011).

Keywords

Terrorism political communication Presidential Rhetoric political rhetoric Guantanamo Civil liberties Drones Policy Selling Social justice 9/11 public opinion presidential speeches Donald Trump Bill Clinton post-9/11 George W. Bush Barack Obama Presidential Leadership threat inflation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Montclair State UniversityMontclairUSA

About the authors

Gabriel Rubin is Associate Professor of Justice Studies at Montclair State University, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and is the author of Freedom and Order: How Democratic Governments Restrict Civil Liberties after Terrorist Attacks—and Why Sometimes They Don’t (2011).


Bibliographic information

Reviews

“American public rhetoric changed after September 11, 2001. We spoke differently about our enemies and our struggle against terrorism. Rubin skillfully examines these changes and insightfully compares the discourse of our (so far) three post-9/11 presidents.”

David Zarefsky, Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies, Northwestern University, USA

Rubin’s illuminating study of presidential terrorism rhetoric, rich in quantitative analysis, qualitative insights and compelling policy suggestions, is an outstanding contribution to terrorism studies that deserves to be widely read."

Jesse J. Norris, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Fredonia, USA.