Google “the speech reagan” and the fourth result should be the YouTube below. It is labeled “Ronald Reagan Speech – 1964 Republican National Convention” but that is not accurate. The speech was first taped at NBC studios in Hollywood, and aired nationally on NBC on October 27, 1964, less than one week before Barry Goldwater’s loss to President Johnson. If you want to feel inspired today, this is a great place to start.
This speech raised more than $1 million for the Goldwater campaign and hundreds of thousands of dollars continued to pour in the months after the election. The Republican National Committee aired the speech twice nationally after that first NBC airing, and local stations throughout the country played it hundreds of more times. But how did that speech first get on the air? How did the foundation of Reagan’s political career come about?
Nicole Holpin and Ron Robinson explain this story and more in their new book Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement. The Republican Party and the Goldwater campaign had nothing to do with recruiting Reagan to do what has become to know as “The Speech.” It was three Southern California business men, Ford dealership owner Holmes Tuttle, Western Geophysical Company founder Henry Salvatori, and Union Oil Company president Cy Rubel, who approached Reagan after a Goldwater fundraiser in 1964 and promised to pay to air Reagan’s speech across California if he performed it to tape. Without their activism and generous giving, Reagan may never have run for governor in 1966. And the history of the conservative movement would be much different. Amazon describes their book:
Money changes everything, especially in politics. Politicians, think tanks, and political parties would not be where they are without monetary gifts. Yet, when it comes to celebrating donors, the media often praise liberals for their selfless giving and criticize conservatives for their selfish hoarding. … Part historical account of the conservative movement and part expose about political philanthropy, Funding Fathers busts the myth that conservatives donate less money than democrats and exposes how the media, liberal organizations, and even conservatives perpetuate this lie.