ERIC Number: ED199777
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Once More, With Feeling: Reagan and "The Speech" in 1980.
Ronald Reagan's rise from political neophyte to Republican candidate for governor of California in 1966 was characterized by a public relations strategy, which was bolstered by "The Speech," a 30-minute anti-big government, defense-of-freedom message. He presented this message appropriately to each audience to identify himself with diverse political factions. To downplay his lack of political experience, Reagan aides manipulated his image to "prove symbolically" that he would be a good administrator. These "speech" tactics were also central to Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign, in which as he deplored the weak national defense and government intervention. His campaign announcement was designed to ally him with moderate and conservative Democrats and independents, as well as moderate Republicans. Reagan also sought to broaden his appeal by taking his campaign into Democratic strongholds, by producing commercials aimed at the working class, by meeting with black leaders, and by contrasting President Jimmy Carter's appeal for austerity by rallying the country's potential with positive ideological language. His meetings with people in international affairs was the "symbolic proof" of his foreign policy leadership essential to his "presidential image." Although his campaign was expertly timed to the disenchanted national mood, credit for his victory is due to "The Speech" rhetorical strategy that convinced the voters he was capable of governing the nation. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Carter (Jimmy); Political Campaigns; Reagan (Ronald)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (San Jose, CA, February 14-17, 1981).