Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WESA is experiencing technical difficulties and you may notice glitches in our audio quality. We are working to correct the issue. Thank you for your patience.
Politics & Government

What’s the Right Rhetoric for the State of the Union?

5058955472_e15fe53d49_o.jpg
Blatant World
/
Flickr

Tonight at 9 p.m., President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to Congress, the Senate and the rest of the country. But his office has already put forth many plans for the year.

Before the president gives his address, we'll get some perspective on what he'll propose, from University of Pittsburgh presidential rhetoric and political communication professor Jerry Shuster.

Shuster explains that in the modern presidency, the rhetoric has typically revolved around looking back on accomplishments of the past year and forecasting challenges and goals of the upcoming year.

Viewership of the SOTU address on TV has steadily decreased, Shuster observes, but he says that an increasing number of Americans are accessing the address from other media, including social media outlets like Youtube, which will be streaming the president’s address.

For tonight’s state of the union, the president’s rhetoric will be vitally important, Shuster says.

“He has to be very realistic, and he has to take advantage of the single word that I think is missing from his vocabulary all too often, and in his rhetoric, and that’s ‘compromise’”

The president needs to provide citizens with a sense that their needs are going to be heard and accommodated by the leadership in Washington, and they need to know that leaders are capable of working together, he says.