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. Tammy Lozano

    The tea party folks and Sarah need to remember.. they may not agree with Obama.. but Obama ran for office because he has idea's for what direction he feels the US needs to move. When the day comes that a republican (even Sarah) becomes President then we will do it their way but for now the ELECTED president is the Obama. Respect him

    February 10, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. Nick

    Both brothers forget that Ronald Reagan sold his party and his soul the hate mongering Pat Robertson's of the world. Yhea Mike your pop knew what to do to support wingnuts.

    February 10, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. b franklin

    It's hard to believe that a liberal like Ron Reagan woulod agree with an ultra liberal like Joy Behar (How she has 2 shows I will never understand).
    The Tea Party movement is about standing for what you truly believe. To mock that is to embarass yourself.
    Those of you who so disparage the Tea Party movement are the same ones that priase groups like Code Pink, for stading for what they believe.
    Just because you disagree with either movement doesn't make them bad people.
    You should all grow-up and act like civilized adults.
    Blogs, and venues like this are the downfall of reasonable discussion.

    February 10, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. malia

    I agree 100% with Michael...Ron is a loony liberal!

    February 10, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. One foot out

    Actually Michael, I think it is those that were not shrouded by the dogmatic beliefs within the party that would have a better perspective on what Ronald Reagan would like or dislike at this stage in his life. Anyone, and I really mean anyone, who espouses the virtues of Sarah Palin has to be living in a small world filled with believers and not thinkers. I think she is at 14 minutes and 59 seconds of her 15 minutes of fame...and it cannot be over soon enough.

    I respect Ronald Reagan, but I think he has turned over in his grave a couple of hundred times since his death. Usually every time someone like you uses his name to support the actions of a party gone wild.

    Sarah who?

    February 10, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. bob

    who really cares what the brother's Reagan think!

    February 10, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. bob

    Wow...Michael sounds like a horrible brother. I would certainly disagree with my brother on public questions if we held different points of view, but I would never intimate that I know my father better. That's a snarky way of suggesting that he loved his father more than Ron.

    What a horrible person Michael is.

    February 10, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. liz

    I wonder how many of these Tea Partiers consider themselves Christians. Jesus said 'render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's.' He was telling us to pay our taxes. He didn't say we have to like it.
    I wonder how many of them like police protection, fire protection, not having to literally play russian roulette every time they buy tires or food or countless other goods that could be lethal if not for government rules governing product safety.
    I wonder how many are on Medicare, or Social Security, or food stamps, or any other government program. And i wonder how many of them would renounce their right to the programs the hated government gives them?
    My theory is that they don't hate what government does for them, they just hate what it does for the other guy. They are a stupid, greedy, hypocritical bunch indeed.

    February 10, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. Tom L.

    Honestly, what would Ron Reagan know about the Tea Party? I'd venture a bet that he doesn't even know what TEA stands for so how can he even make a comment about the movement.

    He is a typical, angry liberal Democrat who only says things based on what others say rather than looking for himself. Similar to the way Democrats speak about Rush, O'Reilly and Beck. None of them ever listen to anything that they say, but they sure do have opinions about them.

    February 10, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. terry,va.

    When you have a straight guy and a gay guy you will have differences of opinion.

    February 10, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Norcal DM

    While I hate to agree with Michael, hes right. That fire breathing reagan would have loved the birther's and those darn tea baggers. He was a die hard right wing blow hard conservative. Enough said.

    February 10, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. virtual bob

    Regardless of which brother is right, the Reagan admisistration is far from our finer days. Remember the contras? Buying arms illegally? Remember how taxes started to go up on the common lower class worker?

    Before Reagan there was a minimum cut off where someone did not have to file or pay taxes ($3000?)

    After the Reagan "Tax Cuts". the guy making $3000 suddenly owed a minimum of 10% and the taxes for those making millions went down. We shifted the tax burden down to the little folk and lowered taxes on the wealthy.

    The problem is for Republicans, they would never agree to going back to the altered tax rates of Reagan. Because the truth is, rates are much lower now for the wealthy than they were under Reagan.

    If Reagan had such a good idea about taxes, why can't we just go back to those rates?

    February 10, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Rob Cohen

    I'm an Independent Voter. I voted for Obama and I voted for Bush twice!
    It's not so much that we (independents) don't like Palin or hate her, it is more of that fact that she is incompetent. Fellow Americans, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Southern, Yankee, White, Black, Brown – I think we can all agree that this country, this Empire (and it is an Empire!) needs the best of the best, the brightest, the eilte to run it. So my challenge to all of you die-hard Republicans is this. In 2012 put some stellar candidates out there.

    February 10, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. demogal

    Are you kidding me? Who cares what Ronnie would think of this nonsense. I don't much want to hear what he would think about anything, after the destructive path he set this nation's economy on. Please, can we just let the guy rest in peace and be forgotten?

    February 10, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Objective Thinking

    I agree with calling Sarah Palin a train wreck, but what did Scott Brown do to deserve this title? Ron Reagan must be a disciple of Keith Olbermann.

    February 10, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. Aari

    Who is Ron Reagan Jr. So don't tell be telling us who has a better understanding of their father's. Thank you.

    February 10, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. SPacific

    Make no mistake baout it. Tea Partiers ARE republicans. Its a way for the mainstream GOP to foster an extremist voting block yet distance themselves from most of the kooks, crazies, and inane positions that make up this cult, without having to answer for it....

    February 10, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Scott

    Yeah...and Michael Reagan forgets that Ronnie was originally a Democrat and even after he switched parties still had a deep admiration for Franklin Roosevelt. Michael also forgets his father submitted budgets that raised taxes on three different occasions. Michael is just regurgitating the current party lines regarding the so-called tea baggers. I do not believe that Ronald Reagan, who used to call Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O'neil his friend, would support a group that utilizes hate symbols in their rallies. Wake up Mike.

    February 10, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. Bill5

    I gotta say ron you have no idea what you are talking about. Even though he is your father he stood for the same ideas of what some tea partiers stand for. Like smaller goverment and lower taxes. If I remember correctly his economic ideas pulled us out of the hole that carter put us in. Dont put all of us in the same catagory of the iditos who put offensive posters out there. Your father was a great leader and you in no way will ever come close to what he has done

    February 10, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Michael Reagan is a pedantic know-it-all who has accomplished nothing in his life other than capitalize on his father's name. Unfortunately the same thing can be said for Ron as well.

    February 10, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Sad to see

    how politics destroyes families! USA is a divided country!

    February 10, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. I want Sarah to run Because . . .

    stupid people deserve representation too.

    Where's the diploma, Sarah. Show us your college diploma – the real one.

    February 10, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. Bob in Pa

    Scott Brown and Sarah Palin are train wrecks ? Please.
    Libs think they are so educated and above every one else that they still can't see what is happening.

    February 10, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. Michael

    Political theater over Reagan, who in his time in office ran up record deficits, spending and raised taxes! Reagen did what he thought was needed for the country at that time! Conservatives who brandish the Reagan legend, somehow leave out his spending, raising of taxes and record deficits! Now, democrats have a President who has already lowered taxes for 95% of Americans, stopped the bleeding on an economy which almost went in the ditch! President Obama wants to pay for his programs and spending, give small business a tax break, and put forth a jobs bill! But, where are conservatives who wanted small businesses to receive a tax break, or tax cuts for the middle class, or to put Americans back to work! Well, I will tell you! They are sitting back on their loins sipping tea made from bags with holes, that do nothing for themselves or anyone else! Their do nothing agenda, and its hypocrite leaders Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Boehner, Pence, and Cantor have "hoodwinked Americans." I believe Ronald Reagan was a man of principles, not two faced, or a ideological hypocrite! He was a leader not a follower of a neocon creed!

    February 10, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. ShyCelticWitch

    I believe Ron has the right opinion here. While I am an independent, I admired Ronald Regan for his hands-on politics and determination to have a bipartisan congress. The ridiculous antics of the current GOP cast has made American's weary of the whole game. Between Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah (Caribou Barbie) Palin (I'll take the pig without the lipstick) and the rest of the right wingnuts (Ann Coulter, I'd include you, but you don't quite fit my idea of "human", and you're doing as much for the women in this country as the plague did for Europe) I don't think we can stand much more. The Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of entitled brats who think think we should build prisons for debtors and the homeless.

    February 10, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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