AUTHORS' NOTE: We thank Bob Ivie, Jeff Bennett, Isaac West, and Steve Herro for their help in constructing the essay.
George Bush, <Human Rights>, and American Democracy
Version of Record online: 23 OCT 2007
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 37, Issue 4, pages 646–666, December 2007
How to Cite
STUCKEY, M. E. and RITTER, J. R. (2007), George Bush, <Human Rights>, and American Democracy. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 37: 646–666. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2007.02618.x
- Issue online: 23 OCT 2007
- Version of Record online: 23 OCT 2007
This article examines the role the ideograph <human rights> plays in George W. Bush's presidential rhetoric. By strategically wielding <human rights> throughout his presidency, and by using it to amplify his use of association and dissociation, Bush connects his actions in important ways to the foundational myths of American democracy. In so doing, he provides powerful warrants for his actions, which undermine the very practices he claims to be supporting. That is, by using <human rights> as a way of tapping into the myth of America as the synecdochic representation of freedom in the world, Bush rhetorically reaffirms that myth while acting in ways that also subvert it.