Cracks in the Teflon, 1986-1988
This period was a difficult one for Ronald Reagan, as the foreign policy scenario upon which he had built a seemingly unassailable political image began to unravel, taking the image with it. During this period, Reagan faced a situation where the techniques and tactics he had previously mastered and which had brought him unprecedented political success no longer seemed to deflect any criticism, as the tactics themselves became the focus of attention, and his personal style lost credibility. During this period, Ronald Reagan discovered, as had Jimmy Carter before him, that the task of governing without credibility is a difficult one. The difference is that Reagan was able to recover some of his reputation and rebound to leave office as one of the most popular presidents in history. This chapter details the fall and rise of Ronald Reagan, with reference to both the political context he faced and the rhetorical tactics he employed. 1 The data include 484 total documents: 173 for 1986, 297 for 1987, and 14 for 1988.
This period was perhaps the most difficult of Reagan's political career. His leadership abilities were questioned, his policies