Win One Like the Gipper

William McGurn, in today’s WSJ:

Today we remember the Gipper as a popular and beloved American figure. That’s not the way he was presented to the American public when he was running against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Back then, Mr. Reagan was cast as a divisive, Neanderthal warmonger itching to push the nuclear button.

President Carter played to this image. A “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” after the single presidential debate that year noted that Mr. Carter had used the word “dangerous” six times. Another observer added that the president had also called Reagan “heartless,” “insensitive,” “misleading,” “disturbing” and “irresponsible.”

Mr. Reagan didn’t let it get to him. When Mr. Carter implied Mr. Reagan was against Medicare because he opposed all efforts to help provide decent health care for American citizens, Mr. Reagan smiled and shook his head. Then he issued four devastating words that have now entered the political lexicon: “There you go again.”

The Republican nominee is going to need a lot of those moments — not just one — to overcome the media and political obstacles about to be thrown in his way.

Good cheer, good humor, and warm generosity even in the face of unnatural adversity. That’s how to beat the Media-Government Complex.