February 10th, 2010
06:58 PM ET
5 years ago

Reagan brothers spar over dad's view of Tea Party movement

Brothers Michael Reagan, left, and Ron Reagan, right, are disagreeing about how their father, the former president, would have viewed the Tea Party movement.
Brothers Michael Reagan, left, and Ron Reagan, right, are disagreeing about how their father, the former president, would have viewed the Tea Party movement.

Washington (CNN) - Don't invite the late President Ronald Reagan's two sons over for a tea party, much less a beer.

Well, maybe a beer, kind of like President Obama's "beer summit" last summer at the White House. That might be needed.

The brothers Reagan, Ron and Michael, don't agree on how their dad – often described as the father of the modern day conservatism – would view the Tea Party movement.

Ron, a liberal, told HLN's Joy Behar that he didn't think his father would embrace the Tea Party movement and its activists.

"I think he would be unamused by the TEA partiers with their Hitler signs and all the rest of it," Ron Reagan said in the January 26 interview on CNN's sister network. "No, I don't think he'd be cottoning to that much at all. As much as we're wringing our hands about the Democratic Party though and it's all well that we do that, we have to remember that the alternative, the Republicans are a true train wreck – a train wreck. Look at Sarah Palin. Look at Scott Brown. You know."

Michael fired back at his brother on Wednesday, saying he has a better understanding of their father's political thinking, after all he holds the same conservative views.

"In 1976 and 1980, and throughout his presidency, President Reagan worked tirelessly to build the conservative movement and the Republican Party through the grassroots," Michael Reagan said in a statement. "He knew what it took to build a movement.

"Unlike my brother, I campaigned with and for my father in 1976 and in 1980 – and I feel more qualified to say what he would and would not have supported. He would be applauding the grassroots organization of this country and Sarah Palin for making herself available to elect conservative candidates."

So much for brotherly love.


Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • Ronald Reagan • Tea Party movement
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. fred

    Ron was raised by his father and stayed close to him. Michael was not raised by him and was estranged until long after the Alzheimer's had done incredible damage.

    Michael never even new the old man, but he's perfectly OK with using him after his face.

    February 10, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Mrs. S Callahan

    Boys.......try to find common ground....wouldn't your father support the right to speak up...at the same time want to preserve the Republican parties ideals into the modern century? There IS a common ground.

    February 10, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Dem in AZ

    I think Ron has a valid point that his father would not like the hate that is going on in the TEA baggers. Concern over the deficit..ok...Hate mongering. Not exceptable. Ron is the smarter one.

    February 10, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. lillacluvr

    Why would Tea Partiers embrace Ronald Reagan? This man raised taxes and ran up a huge deficit. Even Dick Cheney bragged that Reagan proved deficits don't matter. As for the two brothers, which one of these two has ridden the coattails of their famous father for years – one guess and it is not Ron.

    February 10, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. Lynne in CA

    Ron's the smart one...Michael's the Republican

    February 10, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Old Farmboy

    You have to admit that they're two sides of the coin. Michael, the straight Republican, that believed in his father. Then there's Ron.. The gay namesake with his liberal points of view. I know CNN probably won't print this because I called Ron "GAY". Well, he is...

    February 10, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. chibob

    At least President Reagan didn't quit half way thru his term.
    He was very good at reading a teleprompter.
    I am positive he never wrote "tax cuts" on his palm.

    February 10, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. RSH

    We can blame Ronald Reagan for today's conservative mentality of "deficits don't matter & tax cuts for the rich are the solution to everything."

    February 10, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  9. republican

    Ronald Reagan was a user. Mostly for the rich not to mention Corporations. It's nice of Ron to put in father in a different light; however, knowing Ronald Reagan on the basis of what he did, I'd have to say he'd take comfort in the offshoot of the John Birch party.

    February 10, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Velasquez

    If little Ronnie is right. Why would his father say, "The Government is not the answer to our Problems, It is the Problem"!! It's just a simple question, since he's claiming he knew his father better. I mean since were talking about grass roots and government. Just how do you get from point "A" to point "B" without a grass roots movement? And, what does it take?

    February 10, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. Sharp

    Who cares? President Reagan was a doddering, senile old fool during most of his presidency. His approval is hardly a litmus test for anything.

    February 10, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Elliott Carlin

    Poor Ronnie Jr.

    When he donned the ballerina slippers, we knew he'd never fill his father's shoes.

    Maybe he and Rahm can do a benefit duet sometime.

    February 10, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    What's with the 'look at Scott Brown'? Scott Brown just was elected by a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1. That was the Teaparty's doing. It was a rebellion of the independents against Obama's failed agenda. How is that a train wreck for anyone but Obama?

    February 10, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Butch

    It looks like Michael is the more experienced of the two... and has a broader
    outlook. And... EXPERIENCE is what is lacking in the White House!

    February 10, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. Publius Novus

    Ronald Reagan benefitted greatly from the modern conservative movement, but he certainly was not the father of it. Reagan didn't have quite the necessary wattage to understand it, much less father it. The commonality between Reagan and the Tea Partiers is their irrational distaste for taxation. Reagan is largely responsible for the destruction of the psychological tax base of the United States. We are struggling under the effects of Reagan and his dishonest tax policies at local, state, and federal levels. Reagan and his conservative movement succeeded in making persuading the mainstream media and the political elites, without a shred of objective evidence, that tax cuts stimulate the economy. That idea is now "conventional wisdom" and a part of the Tea Party dogma.

    February 10, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. RM

    Ron Reagan Jr. is an idiot!

    February 10, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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