A president has to have character, right? I mean, if the leader of the free world has no substance, nothing special about him, then how do we as citizens know that he is capable as far as foreign policies go. How do we know that we can trust him to make wise decisions? How do we know that he will tell us the truth? This concept is exactly what fictional president Andrew Shepherd successfully conveys in his “Address to the Press on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill.” In the movie, The American President, Andrew Shepherd becomes romantically involved with crime bill lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade. Many characters, including Bob Rumson, believe that the relationship between Shepherd and Wade is hindering the advancement of the country. They believe that this relationship shows lack of character, and it is made apparent to Shepherd through the side comments and actions of those opposing him. In the closing scenes of the movie, Shepherd is found defending himself and his character through the form of a rhetorical speech. He convincingly uses pathos to appeal to his audience’s sense of nationality and pride.
As a typical politician should, Shepherd uses emotional appeal or pathos in his defense. When defending character, when defending emotion, the most logical approach is pathos. If one uses emotion to defend himself from emotional attacks, one is capable of producing a very strong persuasive argument. Give the opposition a taste of their own medicine. Shepherd does exactly that when address’s the American people. He talks about the constitution, the foundation on which this great country is built.
“For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is ‘Why aren’t you, Bob?’ Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill f Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesmen and candidate for president, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?”
Think about the constitution; think about when it was made and what it was made for. The Constitution is the very first concrete document that lasted in this country. It was made by the very first citizens and it was made with pride. Before the constitution came to life the United States was looked upon, by many nations, similarly to a child attempting to grow up too fast. Great Britain, the country that the constitution freed us from, did not think the United States was going to make it alone. Great Britain was right. The United States could not make it alone. The United States needed something to help it along. They needed the constitution. Because of this strong link between the constitution and the survival of the United States, many patriots, including Shepherd, have an emotional attachment to the constitution. Because of that link many patriots perceive attacks on the constitution as personal attacks. In this excerpt from the speech, Shepherd is found attacking Rumson by using one...