Presumptive GOP Presidential nominee John McCain appeared yesterday at the meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Ronald Reagan appeared at the first CPAC meeting, in 1973, and at every one until his illness took him in 1991.
McCain, says Human Events editor Jed Babbin in his column yesterday, “is planning an all-out push at CPAC…McCain plans a very special introduction. According to my source, McCain has prepared a video featuring President Ronald Reagan to make the introduction.” Will he go through with it? It would be the most brazen invocation of the Reagan mantle yet, in this campaign where “Reagan” and “Reaganism” have been invoked brazenly indeed.
Why not just create a computer-generated hologram of the old guy? It would make as much sense and have as much connection with today’s candidates.
IN TRUTH, NO CANDIDATE, NO PRESIDENT, has had the special Reagan gift since 1988. What was that gift? What set Ronald Reagan apart? What allowed him to create and lead a movement that transformed American politics?
Ronald Reagan was an educator. He had come of age in the seemingly endless presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the other gifted presidential educator of the 20th century. Indeed, as a Democrat back then, Reagan admired the FDR style and gift, and put it into practice in a political effort of his own, serving first on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and then as president for five single-year terms.
He already had a lot going for him as a presenter to audiences. He was handsome, with an attractive, trained voice. He could think on the fly, having started his career as a radio announcer, making up “live” broadcasts of baseball games from sketchy teletype accounts. By the time he took SAG’s helm, he had made 44 movies and innumerable training films for the Army during World War II. He knew how to play both to people and the camera.
At first in the Army and then at SAG, he found himself chafing against government regulations and clumsiness, and then pitched in conflict with a determined “fifth column” (as he called it in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947) of sub-rosa Communists determined to wield influence in the American film industry. As well, he led the union through a difficult adaptation to the emergence of television.
By 1952, Ronald Reagan had already acquired more leadership and communications skills than any current presidential candidate. (Interestingly, only Mike Huckabee’s career compares.)
IN 1954, RONALD REAGAN STARTED a grueling graduate course in speechmaking, a course with a specific aim in mind, a course that polished his skill as a public educator to razor sharpness.p>Scroll back to 1951. In the account of the Museum of TV Archives, the story is told of how the General Electric Corporation, dissatisfied with its corporate advertising and image creation, br> /p>
transferred television production to the Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn (BBDO) advertising agency, under whose direction the General Electric Theater debuted 1 February 1953 as an ‘all-company project’ sponsored by GE’s Department of Public Relations Services.
The addition of Ronald Reagan as program host commencing the third season 26 September 1954 reflected GE’s decision to pursue a campaign of continuous, consistent company voice advertising” — what is also called “identity advertising.”
…The first of many promotional tours orchestrated by BBDO and the GE Department of Public Relations Services sent Reagan to twelve GE plant cities in November 1954 to promote the program idea, further his identity as spokesman, and become familiar with company people and products. By the time General Electric Theater concluded its eight-year run in 1962, Reagan claimed to have visited GE’s 135 research and manufacturing facilities, and met some 250,000 individuals. In later years, Reagan’s biographers would look back upon the tour and the platform it provided for the future President of the United States to sharpen his already considerable skill as a communicator.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?