February 10th, 2010
06:58 PM ET
4 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. Annie

    Just another example about how out of touch and clueless today's Republicans really are. It's almost like they have collectively been bonked on the head and their brains don't work correctly any more.

    February 10, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Obviously, Ron Reagan didn't really know his father too well. It's incredible that this democrat–a self-described liberal–would dare say what he believes his father would think.

    February 10, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. LacrosseSon

    The only thing Ron Reagan had in common with his father was his name, huh mom!

    February 10, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Robert

    Ronnie is a fairy and wouldn't approve of anything is father said or did

    February 10, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. GAaREDSTATE

    Ron Reagan Jr. is a disgrace to his father's name and legacy!

    Mike Reagan is correct in what he states!

    February 10, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Big Joe

    Gee, Ron Jr...I wonder what the Gipper would think of today's democratic party? Now that Air America is kaput, do you have a job or are you eligible for extended unemployment benefits, because you're gonna need them. Duffus.

    February 10, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. John in WV

    The tea party activists claim that fiscal responsibility and national security are 2 of their main agendas. The spending they allowed in the last administration was nothing but spending, the state of the economy will attest to that. The spending proposed now is investment that pays something back and they hit the streets with posters painting Obama white and relating him to Hitler. National security? Get a tea party guy to acknowledge that we just took a chief taliban officer out. If your smart, you'll stick to the guy named after his dad and ignore the guy named Mike.

    February 10, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Toni G Phoenix, AZ

    Tea Party is no party. Just a way to give racsism a voice. We need people with ideas and solutions. Too bad our education system is going down for the third time.

    February 10, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. super trampped

    the republicans of today, are nothing like the republicans of 20 years ago.

    February 10, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. j

    The teabaggers are a bunch of ignorant racist. I didn't agree with Pres Reagan's political viewpoint but I think he was marginally better than the average teabagger so, depending on how he thought it would help him politically, he might have agreed with them or he might not.

    February 10, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Gary Coverdale

    Ron Reagan would not agree with the concept of Tea Parties because its a liberal concept (Tea Parties and protests). But the message they bring would certainly be embraced by the President....

    February 10, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. Shirley In California

    Ron – as much as I enjoy your commentary – your father was the WORST thing – yes, the WORST thing to EVER happen to America. We are still reeling the effects of Reaganomics. He totally destroyed this country and it will take a lot more than one president like Obama to restore our prosperity and standing. Anyone who thinks Reagan was a good president was either a relative or brain dead during his terms. Michael needs to shut up and grow up. Just because he lived well during his father's destructive years does not mean this country was doing well. Just ask millions who suffered at his hands.

    God bless this country and please deliver us from the hands of Reagan and Bush forever.

    February 10, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. meemers

    He adopted by Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman shortly after his birth.
    So he isn't they do not share the same Gene Pool.

    February 10, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. Anne P

    I never aligned with Reagan Sr. In fact, though I'm "conservative" on a few issues, but when I hear that term, "conservative" in light of the far right...I cringe and just get angry. I hate what they've done to this country now. I hate this polarization...it's so destructive. So, conservatives....you're agenda appears to be nothing more than wanting the current Admin. to fail. It's transparent and it's sad. When you can stand for ignorant people like Palin, you've lost any credibility with those of us in the middle of this mess. Put on your "big girl panties" and do something constructive for this country for a change! Try working across party lines...we're sick of the sniping!

    February 10, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Why does every Republican skip over George W. Bush years and go all the way back to Reagan? When Democrats talk about GWB Republicans place all the blame on President Obama. What's up with that.

    February 10, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Brian from RTP

    We are all fed up with how things are going. However, I am not sure sure if I will be happy with a party that can't quite straighten out its message or get them out to the people.
    Late president Reagan was great. However, I failed to see how the opinions of his son are in any way more relevant than others. I doubt his greatness or his ideals were passed on to them through his genes.

    February 10, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. CR

    Ron Jr. is a bright guy. Michael needs to get a clue.

    February 10, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. Alan in Ak

    With a white male republican in the WH there would have been no tea party in existance for the Reagan boys to argue about. The question is then would the tea party have existed if Fox news and the repubs had tried to form it in the Clinton years or if HC had been elected this time would they be so gung ho to stir the masses?

    Sarah Palin and the later term RR have about the same brain power which puts Michael right there with them.

    February 10, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Lee

    What most people forget is that Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before he was a Republican. He was a Union President and worked openly with liberals all his life. He held to the principles of consensus and worked with Democrats to pass important legislation. The Republican Party today bears little resemblance to the Republican Party of the Reagan years. This Republican Party is more closely associated with the politics of the Bush family. Today's Republican Party in based more upon social ideals. President Reagan's White House concentrated on the concepts of better business opportunities for America. A concept that many Republicans wish the party would return to. Ronald Reagan was above all a gentleman. He would have never condoned the name calling and insults that the Tea Party accepts.

    February 10, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  20. cw

    Bet Reagan would embrace their votes, and the notion of less government and lower taxes, but dismiss this 'next wave' of Tea Party – Poopers for sure. No one likes a hater with no plan, no track record, and no realism.

    February 10, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Chipster

    So, now we're going to fight over the presumed opinion of people who are no longer living!

    We don't have enough division and nonsense in our country right now? We must go beyond the grave to bicker? Good grief!

    February 10, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Public Editor

    Fix the image caption (add "how" - I'll let you figure out where)

    February 10, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Mickey

    The downfall of this great country started with a Republican: Reagan and his "trickle down economics".

    But I do agree with Ron, that he would have denounced this teabagging movement for what it is based upon: racism, fear, and hatred.

    Even with having Alzheimers Disease during his presidency, he would have never tolerated the blatant racism of Republican politicians such as McConnell, Boehnor (pronounced "BONER"...no, really), Cantor, and Bachmann, among others., or whackjob moonbats like Beck or Limbaugh or O'Reilly.

    February 10, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Masked Avenger

    Michael Reagan is sad. He spent the majority of his life being ignored by his father. Long after the Great Communicator's passing, Mike is still trying futilely to gain his father's favor.

    February 10, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Chuck Anaheim,Ca

    Thats funny! I think their dad is responsible for a lot of the economic turmoil we are in today. He taught the rest how to deficit spend.

    February 10, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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