EVERY presidential candidate has a style uniquely his own. Ronald Reagan is now developing a reputation for getting all his facts wrong. One of his more recent misstatements was that Vietnam veterans "were not eligible for the G.I. Bill of Rights with regards to education or anything."
Mr. Reagan is very angry about the press reporting on his factual flubs, and claims the media seems preoccupied with his mistakes.
I believe the only way he can fight this is by holding a weekly radio and TV show, along the lines of "The Answer Man," where people could call in and ask him questions so that his answers would not be filtered through the people who are covering him.
It would go something like this.
"Governor, could you tell us how you would resolve the energy crisis?"
"There is more oil under Three Mile Island than in all of Saudi Arabia.
But because of bureaucratic foul-ups in the Department of Energy and the EPA, our oil companies have not been given permission to drill even a test well."
"Mr. Reagan, do you think the United States is in a strong defense posture at this time?"
"I certainly do not. When the Chinese bombed Pearl Harbor, this country was unprepared to go to war. I believe we are in the same position now as we were then. This nation has to say to the kaiser of Germany, if you go one step further in trying to dominate the world, we will blockade Cuba."
"Mr. Reagan, you've taken a strong stand against the government getting involved in the lives of its citizens. Can you give us a specific example of how it is doing this?"
"Yes. When this country was founded, if someone was sick, that person could go to any barber, and he would bleed you with leeches. But now, HEW has ruled that barbers have to be licensed before they can do it. Most barbers refuse to fill out the paperwork required of them, and instead of the American people getting better medical care, it is costing them $5 billion more a year."
"Governor, what would you do about farm parity?"
"I would let the farmers raise their own parity, rather than have Washington tell them what crops they can, or cannot, grow. Nancy and I both like parity, particularly as a dip with potatio chips. Some people hate parity with anything. But in a free economic society, I don't want some pencil-pusher in the Department of Agriculture telling me what I am allowed to eat."
"Mr. Reagan, I'd like to ask you a question about the MX missile. Do you think the U.S. should build it?"
"Yes, I do. There are 6,000,512 people who would rather take their welfare checks from the government than figure out how to make the MX missile work. I say we should tell them they either get a job in research and development on the MX program, or forfeit their welfare payments."
"Governor, are you for the boycott of the Moscow Olympics?"
"Yes, I am, providing our American athletes are permitted to participate in them. We must let Khruschev know that we mean business."