The media was hammering him as stupid and old and he didn’t do a very good job in the first debate with President Carter. So how was Reagan able to turn things around? Glenn explained on radio this morning.
“I want to tell you the story of Ronald Reagan and how he won the debate against Jimmy Carter. You know, we were living in a time very similar. People didn’t think that Ronald Reagan could handle it and the media was hammering Ronald Reagan. Now the media was also hammering Jimmy Carter. You know, they had ‑‑ that’s why Ted Koppel, we even went on the air because Ted Koppel started “Nightline” and it was just ‑‑ it was just about the hostage crisis. That’s all it was. But Jimmy Carter was winning. And Jimmy Carter was very good at the first debate and at that first debate he made Ronald Reagan look like he didn’t know what he was talking about. Because Jimmy Carter was a bureaucrat. Ronald Reagan was an idea guy, which is much more in line with the American people, the ideas, not the policy wonk stuff,” Glenn explained.
“This is again one of the differences between the election then and the election now because Barack Obama is definitely not a wonk. He can’t even tell you that the debt is at $16 trillion, not 10. He is just about an idea, and his idea happens to be out of step with the American people. His idea is about redistribution of wealth and socialism and that the buck stops with you. But he is so good at being the big picture idea guy that Americans just kind of go along with it. Romney needs to inspire. He needs to inspire and he needs to quickly explain things to the American people. He needs to find ways to explain how he’s going to create jobs. That shouldn’t be too hard, but you’re going to need a good storyteller, a good ‑‑ somebody who knows how to package things,” Glenn said.
“Back in 1980 that man was Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes was a guy who was at the time a political guy. I mean, he went in and he was the one who helped Nixon in the 1960s. He was a producer on the Mike Douglas Show and he was I think the youngest producer and that was the first talk show and there was a guy sitting in the makeup chair and he was putting on makeup, they were putting the makeup on and he was talking about how much he hated television and television was just this passing fad. And Mr. Ailes was standing behind him and I don’t even know how young he was. He was young at this point. And he was standing behind him and he said, I’m sorry, Mr. Vice President, but television will either make you or break you. And if you ever want to have a future in politics again, you’re going to need to learn how to do television.”
“Well, about a year or so later, Nixon decided he was going to run for president and he called Roger Ailes and said, ‘Will you help me? You teach me how to do television.’ And that’s what he did. And he became a political consultant. Now comes to 1980 and Reagan is losing and he lost the first debate because Carter could talk about all of these policies. He could talk about, you know, the farm subsidy bills and everything else. And Reagan was like, I don’t even know what he’s talking about. I don’t know all these subsidies and these programs. And Roger came in to him and said, Mr. President ‑‑ or Mr. Reagan, you have ‑‑ you have good news and bad news. The bad news is you just got your butt kicked. But here’s the good news. You can win. You can win. Reagan said how. He said, I don’t mean this to be a slam. This is why the American people like you and this is why you’re going to be so effective. You really, everything that you talk about really can all be summed up in about five things, and I don’t remember what those five things were but they were basically, you know, communism is evil and we have to have a strong military. The government and its overregulation is the problem, and the solution is the people.”
“So he gave him those five things, whatever they were, and he said all you have to do is just talk about those five things because no matter what is brought up, you can answer that question with one of those five things and those are the things the American people want to hear and what they like about you. And he said, you can articulate, you don’t need anybody to help you on that. You already know those. And so he role played with Reagan. And Reagan said farm subsidy bill. He said, I believe government is the problem. I believe in the farmers and the American people. And if we would just get out of the way of the American people, the farmers will be fine because the farm he is know how to plant. The farmers know how to do it. The government doesn’t. How do they know in Washington? I imagine that meeting ended with smiles all around and the next debate, ‘Well, there he goes again.’ And Reagan crushed him and that was the end.”
“The reason I bring up this story is Pat and I were talking the other day about what Romney needs to do in the election and I’m like, “I don’t think he can politically consult or would politically consult anybody anymore, but I wish he would.” If there was a way that you could just say, ‘Hey, magic fairy dust, resign for about four hours from Fox and then resign up, you know, later that afternoon, consult.’ Or if Romney would just read the stories of what this man said. Roger Ailes is one of the smartest guys. He knows the American people. He knows the American people unlike I think anybody else does. He knows them and he can boil things down and I don’t know who that guy is now that can do that. That’s what Roger used to do, still does at Fox.”
“Who is that guy? Who can boil them down for the American people and teach that to Romney? Because Romney, he’s got to appeal to the regular person. I mean, how many people do you talk to and you’re like, I don’t know, I don’t know if there’s a difference. There is a huge difference.”
“So what does that tell you? That tells you the American people are not really paying attention. They don’t know who this guy is. ‘I don’t know, there’s no difference.’ They don’t know who Barack Obama is because if they think Barack Obama is just like their beer buddy that they have beers with, they couldn’t be more wrong. I contend most Americans, if you got to know the real Barack Obama and you were in his inner circle and you heard his friends and how they talk and what they say about America and the military and everything else, I contend the vast majority of Americans would despise Barack Obama as a friend.”