Posted On: February 27, 2008

Barack Obama's "rhetorical gimmick"

Barack Obama's rhetoric exhibits a powerful "gimmick", according to Stephen F. Hayes' smart piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Here's the quote that caught our eye:

His rhetorical gimmick is simple. When he addresses a contentious issue, Mr. Obama almost always begins his answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting -- a line or two that suggests he understands or perhaps even sympathizes with the concerns of a conservative.

This method of argument--fairly articulating the other side's point of view, and then trumping it with your own--is just as potent in the courtroom as it is on the campaign trail. It works in the context of opening, closing, direct examination, or any other situation demanding persuasive powers. By giving your adversary a fair shake, you raise your ethos dramatically with the listener, a fact Senator Barack Obama clearly understands. Read the full op-ed here. (Subscription required.)

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