Archives for the month of: October, 2012

“What are the ways technology has changed the way students learn and what are the consequences?”


To put it plainly, Mitt Romney’s speech had only one angle: to present himself as the best choice for next president and to convince American voters to vote for him in the election. He began by identifying himself with his audience, working his way into the forefront of their thoughts by providing anecdotes from his past. About halfway through, he supplemented his claims by explaining in depth the types of past experiences he had and why such lessons in life would help him to be a better president than Obama. This then turned into him claiming that Obama had no such experiences to draw from. Afterward, Mitt Romney began to present certain facts and statistics that supposedly supported his claim of Obama being the wrong man for the job, and at that same moment presented a five-step ‘idea’ that he has that is to ‘fix’ America provided Mitt Romney is elected. He ended with a promise, a promise that if he is elected, all of our pains will go away.

In the beginning, Mitt Romney attempted to appeal to his audience’s sense of humor through the use of jokes. What I am referencing to is from this quote here, “I love the way he [Paul Ryan] lights up around his kids and how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom. But Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours”. Since humor is a method of getting a group of people’s mood to lighten up and for them to relax, this was intended to soften up his audience so that they would be more open to hearing him out through the rest of his speech. However, I felt that this joke of his was a failed attempt because it had no backbone, no relation to any of the matters at hand, not even in the slightest.

Next he tries to prove to the audience that he is a person the same as them by identifying with them like so, “Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than what divides us”. I noticed that he used the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ in order to bring himself into the same whole that the audience would naturally find themselves in, thus showing that he is far from a separate source but is rather one among them. In doing so, he has successfully identified himself with his audience as far as I can tell.

I saw him appealing to human pride frequently throughout his speech. One such example would be here, when he says, “Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have – optimistic and positive and confident in the future. That very optimism is uniquely American”. Do I believe him? No. Yet I do believe that for Americans who show unwavering pride in the country they live in, that this would appeal strongly to their attitudes.

Mitt Romney reminds his audience, “This was the hope and change America voted for”, so why hasn’t anything happened for the better? If anything, he claims, in his four years in office Obama has only made this worse, not better. Mitt Romney preys on the ideals that Americans had when they first voted Obama into office, makes them realize that none of Obama’s promises have yet come into fruition, and then makes the claim that Americans deserve better because we have earned it. Apparently only one man can make this come true for all of us, and Mitt Romney is presenting that one person as his own self. Perhaps this is a success on his part, because he addresses his audience well when he appeals to the hard work that a good many likely had to endure. He says, “You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in long hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do”. People like to be recognized for their efforts, it’s just a part of human nature, so I’d say he hit it home on this one.

The next strategy that Mitt Romney used was delving into his past and making it known to his audience in order to help them to further realize that above all, he is human and an American like them. He brought up the historical moment of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon, I think in order to show that he was from a time when Americans dared to take incredible risks that, in the end, led to amazing outcomes. He furthers this point when he says, “I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do really big stuff, you need an American. That’s how I was brought up”. This was a blatant attempt to say that he was raised with the exact right ideals for the job he is aiming for; he doesn’t try to hide his intentions very much at this point. What I gleaned from this quote is that Mitt Romney is trying to associate the concept of the perfect American with himself until the line is blurred so much that he really appears to be the type of person he is describing – optimistic, modest, and capable of doing really big ‘stuff’. Wait; doesn’t that make him the opposite of modest?

In reflecting on his past, I also felt that I saw a lot of ‘hey, look, just like you I wasn’t born into much but look what I’ve accomplished today’ sort of statements coming from Mitt Romney. He might be trying too hard to get his audience to identify with him. However, I noticed a little something that I think may have served to isolate some of his audience members, rather than making them feel more comfortable which was him saying, “My friends cared more about what sports team we followed than what church we went to”. Now sure, later on he mentions praying which is all well and good, but here I felt as though he might be isolating some of the members of his audience who care more about religion than they do about sports.

Continuing on with his personal life, Mitt Romney goes on to say, “Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers”. Obviously, he is appealing to the hearts of all the parents in his audience while letting it be known that he too, like them, is a parent. He is a father, so his argument turns into, ‘don’t you want a loving father to be the new father of America?’.

I saw Mitt Romney trying very strongly to appeal to the women in his audience. He talked about how being a mother was a more important responsibility than anything he would ever do, in addition to mentioning little quotes from his mother about how women should be regarded as equals with men. He says that he remembers his mother saying, “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?”. Adding onto that quote, he continues with, “As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies”. Appealing to women a little strongly there? I think so too.

Now comes another recollection of past experiences that Mitt Romney talks about having gone through. He started by saying that Obama, “had almost no experience working in business. Jobs to him are about government. I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience”. The good job here on Mitt Romney’s part is that he actually backs up that statement with business experience from his past that he claims is the type of experience that is relevant toward being the president.

Mitt Romney acknowledges the middle class and their struggles, which I thought seemed to be an important choice of his. He says, “In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before”. He isn’t using exact figures for most of his claims in the previous quote, but it still gives the audience something important to think about. However, I feel that his comment is also vague to the point that the audience cannot put too much merit into it.

Mitt Romney mentions a five-step plan that he has that, once he is voted into office, he plans to enact. He also claims that it will create 12 million new jobs, a proposition that I’m sure made many of his audience members thrilled. His plan, in short, is for America to be energy independent by 2020, to give Americans skills needed for jobs and careers, to forge new trade agreements, to put America back onto a balanced budget, and to champion and reduce taxes on small businesses. Well, that is indeed a lot of promises he is making in this five-step plan of his. Except, how exactly does he plan on doing all of these things? Mitt Romney is stating what he supposedly plans to do, but he left out the most important part which is how he would go about doing it! Leaving out the biggest portion of his argument as he did, it makes it very difficult to believe that he will come through for us with this five step idea.

The article I read for the Rhetorical Analysis paper is Mitt Romney’s Republican Convention Speech:

Scrubbing Bubbles one step toilet bowl cleaner? They claim “effortless toilet cleaning with just the tap of a foot”. Sure, if you want to keep your dirty toilet dirty then by all means, just tap your foot to Scrubbing Bubbles. However, our Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner is nearly that easy and ten times more effective. (either/or)


Look at that glass table right there, clearly someone knows what’s good, it’s obvious Free & Clear, glass & surface cleaner has been used. (non sequitur)


Imagine taking a shower in a filthy bathroom with dirt encrusted tiles and soap scum in the tub. If that vision made you cringe, then you need to buy our Seventh Generation  tub & tile cleaner! (red herring)


If you don’t clean your house daily with our Seventh Generation all purpose cleaner, the be prepared to get an earful from your family about how unclean your house is. (slippery slope)


First Lady Michelle Obama uses Seventh Generation shower cleaner and she has proven to be continually happy with the results. Isn’t that enough to tell you that our solution is the best solution?! (ad verecundium)

In Lunsford’s paper, he defines rhetorical analysis as, “a close reading of a text to find how and whether it works to persuade” (Lunsford 97). The idea is to read a text that is meant to be persuasive. Rhetorical analysis comes into play once you begin analyzing the text for specific strategies, tricks, and other writing tools that are meant to persuade its audience onto the writer’s side. An argument is made all the better depending on how well the writer can work the pieces of his argument into one, fluid, convincing proposal. As Lunsford says, “Ask yourself what strategies the piece employs to move your heart, win your trust, and change your mind—and why it does or doesn’t do so” (Lunsford 97).


Source: Lunsford’s “Rhetorical Analysis”