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American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 49, No. 3, 454-465 (2005)
DOI: 10.1177/0002764205279755

An Immigrant's Dream and the Audacity of Hope

The 2004 Convention Addresses of Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Babak Elahi

Grant Cos

Rochester Institute of Technology

Smith and Nimmo assert that contemporary political conventions orchestrate an important legitimation ritual. Asignificant part of this ritual is composed of speechmaking. The 2004 Democratic and Republican conventions had a few notable speech moments. Specifically, the speeches by Illinois State Senator Barack Obama and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger garnered attention for both them and their party leaders. Along with the excitement these two speakers generated, they shared a common narrative thread in their two speeches. The difference between the speeches, the authors argue, lies in how the speakers enacted different elements of the moralistic and materialistic forms of the American dream. In accordance with Honig, the authors argue that Obama and Schwarzenegger functioned in this iconic way to reenchant, rescue, and reinvigorate each party's sense of purity, innocence, and goodness.

Key Words: American dream • immigration discourse • convention addresses

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