During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, many in his Cabinet and personal staff went on to become famous conservative activists, authors, talk show hosts, etc. One of the most active and influential of those former Cabinet members, former Attorney General Ed Meese – now at The Heritage Foundation, among other organizations – explained to Tea Party Patriots activists how President Reagan would apply his principles and tactics to today’s problems in the third Tea Party “Patriot Town Hall.”
As is the case with any discussion of President Reagan’s campaigns and time in office, the discussion centered around Reagan’s strategies and tactics in reaching out to the American people. The first thing the Attorney General spoke of was how Reagan did what the Tea Party is doing now – speaking to the American people as a nation, not as the disparate differences that many politicians try to use to split us apart. Throughout the discussion, AG Meese compared the Tea Party to Reagan in this way.
When asked about the common accusation from many politicians and much of the mainstream media that Reagan was a compromiser of principles for the sake of legislation, the Attorney General refuted it strongly. He pointed out that Reagan did compromise, but only in the short term and never on principle. According to AG Meese, if Reagan could only get a half of a loaf of bread, he snatched it up – and then went for the whole loaf. Never did he go along to get along.
Part of the reason President Reagan was able to accomplish so much despite an often-hostile Congress was who he spoke to during public policy debates.He didn’t try to convince Congress. He went straight to the American people and treated them as adults. He addressed problems with them directly, in order to show them the validity of his position(s).
This was true during his campaign for President as well, according to AG Meese. Reagan didn’t run a campaign organized by Washington strategists. He ran a people-oriented campaign. In 1980, after losing the establishment-organized Iowa caucuses, Reagan went to people-oriented New Hampshire and spoke in town after town with the people of the state. AG Meese explained how Reagan would only speak briefly, then spend the rest of his time at any location discussing the issues with the people in attendance.
Another reason for the success of the Reagan presidency was the honesty of then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill. An ardent liberal, Speaker O’Neill and Reagan vehemently disagreed on policy and politics. But they were friends on the personal level, and that helped make sure they got done for the American people what was needed. AG Meese explained the late Speaker is very different than today’s liberals, who blatantly use class warfare to distract Americans from the real issues and lie to the American people about their intentions.
Over the next few weeks, more Reagan staffers will offer their own advice. Mark Levin, Becky Norton Dunlop, and others will provide insights few others can into the most successful anti-establishment presidency in modern America. Be sure to sign up for these calls at Patriottownhall.com. Also, once you sign up, you can hear Attorney General Meese’s presentation on the site, in case you missed it.