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. Bruce

    I'm a center left voter who voted for Ronald Reagan's second term. From what I learn about him at that time, which is what made me vote for him, I have to agree with Ron. I don't He would have been interested in associating with the TEA party...a faux name for the far right fringe.

    February 10, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. muffy

    Ron is the biological son and lived a lot longer with him than the other Yahoo. He is about as Right Wing as Palin and not too bright, whereas Ron is very intelligent.

    February 10, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Dave

    Ronald Reagan himself would fail most of the conservative "tests" that many repubs and tea baggers have put out there. These people have truly lost their way.

    February 10, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Donovan

    Michael is a brainless idealogue. Ron actually has taken a step back, looked at the situation, and has come to a logical conclusion. I'd take Ron's opinion over Michael's any day of the week.

    February 10, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Edwin

    Reagan would have utterly hated the Tea Party. He would NEVER have spoken ill of another republican, at least publicly, and he was not as conservative as the "party purists" would like.

    He would have admired the grassroots effort, but he would have worked with them to include MORE people as republicans, not fewer. He did not subscribe to the "true believer" philosophy that a republican needs to have unwavering views on key issues.

    Personally, I think he did a lot of harm to the country when he was president, but that's neither here nor there. He would have considered exclusionary tactics to be anti-party, not pro-conservatism.

    February 10, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    I agree with Michael rather than Ron about this.
    How much I miss the inspiring leadership and patriotism of President Reagan, as well as the warm charm of First Lady Nancy Reagan.

    February 10, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Scott

    Michael Reagan is an idiot and an embarrassment. He should be ashamed of himself.

    February 10, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Helena

    I do not believe that President Reagan would have approved of all the bickering between the 2 parties. I strongly believe President Reagan would be most disapproving of all the disrespect shown towards President Obama.

    February 10, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Rayne Williams

    But would Ronald Reagan be applauding the nasty rhetoric and extremism of Palin and certain parts of the Tea Party movement? Reagan understood the need for compromise, and wasn't the man of the modern myth created by Grover Nordquist and others. His real record is available for anyone who wants to look it up.

    February 10, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. GoneRogueInTX

    why all of a sudden is it popular to brown nose ronald reagan for republicans???? i dont remember him beig that great of a president...oh i get it since the last two republicans (the bushes) were a disaster, i guess i would skip back to reagan as well...

    February 10, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. rightsaid

    Of course Reagan would have approved of the Tea Baggers.

    He was astute in using coded language that appeals to racists. When he talked about "State's rights" it was the same as Tancredo calling for "literacy tests" for voting. Learn your history folks. The Tea Party is racist and so is the GOP base.

    February 10, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Michele

    Ronald Reagan would be keynote speaker at the tea parties....He's the inspiration Michael knows that and Ron well that's why no one but CNN's sister network talks with him.

    February 10, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. ExtLocus

    Reagan was the worst president ever. He is responsible for all the crap that is going on today.

    February 10, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. IgotaFEVER4theTruth

    "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.

    Yeah but boy all those hitler image's while Bush was Prez is a HOOT.

    February 10, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Michael - Portage, Mi

    Unfortunately, if the best the "Tea Party" (most of whom I'll wager have no clue what the original Boston TP was really all about......taxation w/o representation) can do for a headliner is Sarah Palin, that's just pathetic. Every time Ms. Palin leaves town, Wasilla is missing its village idiot.

    February 10, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Albo58

    ...and now we know why Ron Jr NEVER went into politics!

    February 10, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. Robert

    I don't think Ronald Reagan would view his son Ron very favorably. Ron is one of his father's few failures.

    February 10, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. David

    Ron is right he knows his dad better than some nut job that does'nt know the Korean War even happing. And Brown another closet case toe tapper. His dad would go back to being a democrate again if he seen the fools today and the outright crooks and ripocrites.

    February 10, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Michael Hippenhammer

    It is funny how the conservative movent has turned to portraying the left as Nazis and faciests and Stallanists when conservative actions and their way of thinking mirrors those monsters of our past. Hitlers speeches sound like the Republican/ tea party anger. I think of Hitler as the most conservative of thinkers of all time. Conservatives fight for their own good at the expense of others. Tax a rich person more and they still drive home in their expensive car to their expensive home and vacation in their expensive resorts. Tax a family more and they have to choose food or bills or bills and forego the family movie night at the theater.

    February 10, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. jb

    Nice to see the conservative Regan admitting his father messed up the country. Reganomics put us in a hole and The Bush crime family put the dirt on us.

    February 10, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. David

    Ron is right he knows his dad better than some nut job that does'nt know the Korean War even happing. And Brown another closet case toe tapper. His dad would go back to being a democrate again if he seen the fools today and the outright crooks and ripocrites the Republican Party is today.

    February 10, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. Charlie in Maine

    They are an insult to Ronald Reagan, an insult to the founding fathers and an insult to common sense. I think the "Daughters of the American Revolution" should sue these idiots over rhe missuse of the phrase "Tea Party".

    February 10, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Jeff

    That's funny, that in order to understand someone, you have to share the same political views. I personally doubt Reagan would endorse or appreciate Sarah Palin, other than he probably would have that she was pretty and looked nice in a skirt. What's really funny is that people who go to tea parties have more in common with the Germans of 1937 than the current U.S. Republican party. They are looking for people to blame for their current situation, rather than solutions. Of course Sarah loves these people, they are poor, uneducated, and very easy to manipulate.

    February 10, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. Dave in AZ

    Hey CNN, biased much? Thanks for giving the conservative brother only a few words vs giving nearly this whole 'article' to the liberal.

    Liberal = CNN. Never deviates. Sickening.

    February 10, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Justin

    Ron Reagan is a very smart individual. His father was not about the extremist negative insults. His father was more uplifting. The tea party members are just embarrassed for loosing so bad during the election. It has become a circus that the rest of the country is happy to avoid. They may well push the independents away.

    February 10, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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