If you want to hear the best progressive messaging on energy and climate — if you want to know the best phrases and framing — look no further than the master messenger in the Oval Office. Be warned, though, President Obama uses … rhetoric (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“)!
Obama devoted much of his radio address today to the House clean energy and climate bill (text and audio here):
Good morning. Over the past few months, as we have put in place a plan to speed our economic recovery, I have spoken repeatedly of the need to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity; a foundation that will support good jobs and rising incomes; a foundation for economic growth where we no longer rely on excessive debt and reckless risk – but instead on skilled workers and sound investments to lead the world in the industries of the 21st century.
He is once again hammering home the notion that what we have been doing lo these many years is simply not sustainable (see similar quotes in “Is the U.S. consumption binge over?“). Kudos for using two rhetorical figures of speech — alliteration and assonance — in the phrase “reckless risk.” Kudos also for heavy use of the two most important figures in that opening paragraph — metaphor and simple repetition — in the triple use of “foundation.”
Visionary leaders and speakers use metaphors, simple as that — in part because metaphors are typically visual images.
Then Obama launched into his specific remarks on the importance of the Waxman-Markey bill and how it represents a coming together of different interests for the first time in US history to address our key energy and climate challenges: