Examine the meaning behind President Reagan's nicknames such as "Teflon" and the Great Communicator.

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The original question had to be edited.  To a great extent, I would submit that Reagan's nicknames of "Teflon" and "The Great Communicator" were earned by his ability to connect to the American people. President Reagan possessed an uncanny ability to tap into the hopes and dreams of a vast majority of American.  In his inaugural address, Reagan spoke of an "era of national renewal."  From this point on, Reagan was able to speak to Americans in a way that ensured them that he understood their predicament and articulated their hopes and dreams.

It is here where President Reagan can be seen as "the Great Communicator."  President Reagan was able to communicate his shared expectations to the American people.  At the same time, a vast majority of the public believed in President Reagan had sincerity and authenticity.  They believed that what he said was something they truly understood.  Armed with a team of speechwriters that understood the President's strengths as a communicator, Reagan's ability to connect with the public is what earned him the nickname of "the Great Communicator."

In this vein, Reagan's capacity to be "teflon" is also evident.  Due to the fact that Regan connected so well with the American public as a result of his "Great Communicator" status, very little in the way of negative elements "stuck" to him.  At each point when Reagan found himself in the midst of perception based challenges, his ability to communicate with the public was what enabled him to escape excessive scrutiny.  

Even in challenging situations such as the Iran- Contra Affair, President Reagan's ability to enable the public to believe the very best about him and the country is what inspired the "Teflon" metaphor.  Nothing could or would "stick" to him that would damage his Presidency.  Since he was able to identify himself as the embodiment of American "renewal" in terms of hopes and dreams, the public believe him.  When the President spoke of a "city on a hill," the public understood what what he conveyed.  As a result, his sincerity impelled the President's nickname to be "Teflon."

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,981 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question