The Oratory of Robert Dole
This chapter examines Bob Dole’s reliance on personal faith, the ‘American Dream’, and belief that the best days of America are ahead. In 1996, he reflected that ‘my life is proof that America is a land without limits. And with my feet on the ground and my heart filled with hope, I put my faith in you and in the God who loves us all. For I am convinced that America’s best days are yet to come’. This was Dole’s nomination acceptance speech delivered on 15 August 1996, at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California. Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole and his running mate, Jack Kemp, would eventually lose the campaign to President Bill Clinton, with Clinton and Dole earning 379 and 159 Electoral College votes, respectively.
While Senator Dole’s faith never wavered, this campaign would mark the end of his 35 ½-year career in American politics, a career that earns him the record as the nation’s longest-serving Republican leader. Dole had resigned his senate seat to run for the Republican nomination and the US Presidency, and the position he was, by many accounts, best suited for, majority leader. Senator Dole’s oratorical prowess is one of pragmatism, drawn from a childhood in rural Kansas during the Great Depression and his service in the US Army in World War II which subjected him to grave injuries and rendered his right arm and hand paralysed.
Although Senator Dole’s dream to become President of the United States never came to fruition, his leadership and legacy as a US politician deem his oratorical skills in diplomacy and campaigning worthy of attention.
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