Edwards ended his presentation with a study of his own, on Ronald Reagan, who is generally regarded as one of the Presidency’s great communicators. Edwards wrote, “If we cannot find evidence of the impact of the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, then we have reason to reconsider the broad assumptions regarding the consequences of rhetoric.” As it turns out, there was reason to reconsider. Reagan succeeded in passing major provisions of his agenda, such as the 1981 tax cuts, but, Edwards wrote, “surveys of public opinion have found that support for regulatory programs and spending on health care, welfare, urban problems, education, environmental protection and aid to minorities”—all programs that the President opposed—“increased rather than decreased during Reagan’s tenure.” Meanwhile, “support for increased defense expenditures was decidedly lower at the end of his administration than at the beginning.” In other words, people were less persuaded by Reagan when he left office than they were when he took office.
That would be a passage from Ezra Klein’s first piece for The New Yorker. If he’s not going to post it on his Tumblr, then I will.