Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan

By Mary E. Stuckey | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Revolution: Reagan's First Years, 1981-1982

INTRODUCTION

This chapter covers Ronald Reagan's rhetoric during his formative years as president, when he was learning the job and applying various strategies associated with it. Consequently, while Reagan's early years were characterized by some spectacular and well-known successes, the Reagan White House was also guilty of some fairly serious blunders. The success of Reagan's rhetoric was thus highly variable as he learned which strategies worked and which did not.

Another important aspect of the Reagan rhetoric during this period is the substance rather than the presentation. The most notable aspect of Reagan's rhetoric between 1981-1982 is the lack of foreign policy statements and speeches. He did not give a foreign policy speech until October 15, 1981, and the quantity of foreign policy rhetoric remained low throughout the period. The reasons for this and the consequences that resulted from it can best be understood when Reagan's speech is placed within the political context he faced.

The data for this period include all of Ronald Reagan's public speeches in excess of one page in length. There were 157 total documents for 1981 and 278 for 1982, with a total of 435 documents for the period. The number of documents is larger for

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Playing the Game: The Presidential Rhetoric of Ronald Reagan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • PRAEGER SERIES IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Series Foreword xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 6
  • Chapter 1 Ronald Reagan and the National Media 9
  • Introduction 9
  • Notes 22
  • Notes 23
  • Chapter 2 Revolution: Reagan's First Years, 1981-1982 27
  • CONCLUSIONS 41
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 3 Consolidation: the Teflon President, 1983-1985 47
  • Introduction 47
  • CONCLUSIONS 61
  • Notes 62
  • Chapter 4 Cracks in the Teflon, 1986-1988 67
  • Introduction 67
  • CONCLUSIONS 80
  • Notes 81
  • Chapter 5 the Great Communicator? 85
  • Introduction 85
  • Notes 93
  • Epilogue: Rhetoric in the Post-Reagan Era 95
  • INTRODUCRION 95
  • Notes 114
  • Notes 115
  • Selected Bibliography 119
  • Index 125
  • About the Author 128
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