Jimmy Carter Speech Analysis

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On October 13, 1982, two years after his election to the presidency, Ronald Reagan said in a televised speech, “…unemployment is the problem uppermost on many people’s minds….but, remember, you can’t solve unemployment without solving the things that caused it, the out-of-control government spending, the skyrocketing inflation and interest rates that led to unemployment in the first place.” (Reagan). By blaming the government for America’s economic woes, Reagan reinforced the conservative agenda that he had espoused for the better part of forty years. These same right-wing ideals propelled Reagan to victory in the presidential election of 1980, where he won a landslide victory over incumbent president Jimmy Carter. While the political leanings of a nation are often fluid, Reagan’s 489-49 sweep of the …show more content…
On July 15, 1979, Carter delivered his infamous “Malaise” speech, in which he lamented the “Crisis of Confidence” that he perceived to be plaguing the United States populace. He felt that Americans were too reliant on the government to resolve the gas shortage, and thus he tried to convince them to take steps themselves to fix the issue. Midway through the address, Carter said, “I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can…” (Carter). While this speech was successful at first, boosting his approval rating by about 5% in the following days, the lasting implication was dreadful. Many felt that Carter’s words were condescending—instead of proposing federal solutions to the economic and energy problems afflicting the country, Carter chose to blame the public (“Carter’s…”). This ill-timed speech, which many historians describe as having a “boomerang” effect, further alienated potential voters, and created a new crisis of confidence, only this time in regards to Carter’s

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