Dense yet lofty speech blends oratory and urgency in seeking to engage a disparate coalition
Barack Obama is in love, but don’t worry. Unlike other politicians, his affairs won’t get him into trouble but out of it.
He is, for example, in love with litany—that scheme of repetition, using the same words and structure that allows politicians to build from sentence to sentence, achieving power no other pattern allows.
He is love with antithesis—the “Ask not” contrast that allows speakers to reject the bad idea to propose their good ones.
He is in love with the inspirational example—the concrete, moving story or quote that reminds us of a larger purpose before moving us to action.
And in last night’s 5,400-word speech on health care we saw President Obama’s love of rhetoric—not just these devices but others, too—on display.