Metaphor is vital to the language of political leadership because it
mediates between conscious rational ideology and unconscious myth. Drawing
on 'corpus linguistics' techniques, this fascinating study of political
rhetoric shows how metaphor was used by: Winston Churchill to create a myth
of Britain as a heroic warrior; Martin Luther King to create a myth of
himself as a messiah; Margaret Thatcher to activate the myth of Boedicia;
and George W. Bush to sustain a moral accounting myth that appeals to
American ethics. Rhetorical analysis reveals how Bill Clinton used rhetoric
to restore his credibility through creating a vulnerable image of moral
regeneration, and how Tony Blair developed a conviction rhetoric in which
he is a dynamic agent in a mythological struggle between good and evil.
Comparisons between these politicians serve to identify the role of
metaphor in establishing ethical integrity, and rhetoric heightening
emotional impact, policy communication, and in political myth creation.