This speech given by Ronald Reagan in September 1964 on behalf of Barry Goldwater in his campaign against Lyndon Johnson who took over from JFK less than 12 months before is regarded in the annals of American political history as “The Speech”.
In this Australian election year and particularly being the Presidential campaign year in the US it is worth reflecting on the contents of the speech and the quality and power of Reagan’s presentation and oratory style and sagacity. It’s been decades since we’ve seen or heard his like and there’s nothing remotely like it on the horizon. AND all without an auto cue in sight.
Interesting too to hear that 52 years on America and the West more generally are beset with much the same problems. The Speech, A Time For Choosing
As John Fund of National Review says so, so magnificently “..The fact that in our overly-sensitive and easily offended age that such stirring rhetoric is so rare is a partial indictment of where our politics has failed. While issues come and go, there are fundamental questions of America’s future and place in the world that need to be addressed in overarching terms. That’s what Reagan’s “The Speech” was all about. We need leaders who will speak in such terms again..”
“….The actual title Ronald Reagan gave to the address with which he electrified a nation during a 30-minute broadcast for the failing Goldwater campaign was “A Time for Choosing.” Goldwater lost a week later to Lyndon Johnson, but conservative presidential politics had a North Star in Reagan after that. “It defined conservatism for 50 years,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley concluded.
Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote that the night of Reagan’s address represented “the most successful political debut since William Jennings Bryan” and his “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896. “I didn’t know it then,” Reagan wrote in his 1991 autobiography, “but that speech was one of the most important milestones of my life….”