Bushisms

Prof. Volokh points me to this “Bushism”:
“Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.” — Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005

Apparently, this same line was ‘reported’ on the Daily Show. Ridiculous ain’t it. That President Bush, always so inarticulate, redundant and uninformed.

Except, here is a larger segment from that same speech:

America has always been a compassionate nation that values the newcomer and takes great pride in our immigrant heritage; yet we’re also a nation built on the rule of law, and those who enter the country illegally violate the law. The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society. We can have both at the same time. And to keep the promise of America, we will enforce the laws of our country.

Doesn’t look as silly with context, does it. It’s actually a nice piece of rhetoric, as one commenter noted:

Bush is employing an enthymeme:

We are a nation built on the rule of law.
Illegal immigration violates the rule of law.

Implied conclusion-
Thus, illegal immigration violates what this country is built on.

Bush isn’t simply stating the obvious. He is putting forth the explicit terms of a syllogism in order for the listener to be led forcefully to the implied conclusion. This is a staple figure from classical rhetoric.

And, as another commentator mentions, Mr. Bush seems to have, you know, a real point:

In context, however, this statement is a logical step (somewhat redundant perhaps) in an interesting line of argument that no one here seems yet to have identified, which I would elaborate on as follows:

American has two visions of our society: a compassionate and welcoming society with a proud history of immigration and a law-abiding society. By breaking our laws regarding immigration, those who enter our country illegally bring these two visions into conflict, attempting to set our vision of welcoming society against our vision of a law-abiding society by demanding that we make a false choice between the two. We do not need to make this false choice; rather, we can embrace both visions, and we will do so by enforcing our nation’s laws, including those on immigration.

The new articulation is more full, but I still like the President’s graf better.

Comments are closed.