January 10, 2005


Echoes of Reagan in governor's big speech (The Buzz, January 10, 2005, Sacramento Bee)

In what Republicans can only assume is a nod to former President Reagan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used the line "This is a time for choosing" in his State of the State address last week.

Reaganphiles know the phrase dates back to Oct. 27, 1964, when California's original actor-turned-politician made his first major political speech on television titled "A Time for Choosing."

In the speech, Reagan described how he had switched from Democrat to Republican and urged Americans to vote for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

"It was Reagan's first big splash in American politics," said Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution fellow who worked as chief speechwriter for former California Gov. Pete Wilson. "It was the beginning of Reaganism."

It's unlikely the governor's use of the phrase was mere coincidence; Schwarzenegger's State of the State address was written by Landon Parvin, a former Reagan speechwriter.

Amongst Reaganauts it's known simply as: The Speech.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2005 5:27 PM

Thanks for posting, OJ -- I know about The Speech but I've never heard it in an audio file until just this moment.

I wonder if there's a video of it somewhere on the Net?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 10, 2005 6:51 PM


What memories. I was 14. The speech was run a second time here. so on the replay I taped it (audio, of course) on a reel to reel tape deck. A classmate of mine and I must have listened to it a dozen times, even after Goldwater lost. My "worldview" was set then, and hasn't appreciably changed since. Same goes for my friend's.

The line that has always stayed with me, truly a classic: "We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one "

Posted by: Dan at January 10, 2005 10:06 PM

Funny that just as Republicans were struck after that speech by a realization Reagan should have been their candidate, the same thing happened after his '76 Convention speech.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2005 11:11 PM

Here's a link to a C-SPAN video recording of The Speech. It's in real player format.

Posted by: at January 11, 2005 8:16 AM


I know a couple who were atthe '76 convention in Kansas City, the wife as a (reluctant, but too enmeshed in local politics to get out of it) Ford delegate. After hering Reagan's speech, they said they both were in tears, in different parts of the hall, and so were many of the people sitting around them. Virtually everybody knew they had screwed the pooch.

I have never been 100% sure that Reagan could have prevailed, without the four years of abject failure that was Carter's record, in 1976. But I never believed for a minute that Ford could win, even though he came closer than I expected.

Posted by: Dan at January 11, 2005 11:39 AM

Thanks, whoever it is who posted that!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 11, 2005 12:01 PM


I remember reading that the lead GOP delegate from Mississippi, who had been sitting on the fence and then swung his state's votes to Ford at the last minute, heard Reagan's '76 speech and said "I've made the worst mistake of my life."

He was right: When Reagan took office, this particular delegate was denied a high-up government position that instead went to a delegate who had been loyal to Reagan.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 11, 2005 12:04 PM