President Ronald Reagan was an effective leader because he never lost sight of the big picture of expanding freedom in the world, his eldest son Michael tells Newsmax.TV. The author of a new book about the Reagan revolution also said that, in working toward that goal, the 40th president was the prototype for the tea party, bucking the Republican establishment to win the presidency and change the world.
“Ronald Reagan was the original tea party, and I write about that in the book,” Michael said in the exclusive interview. “He was the original tea party. Here was somebody who was, in fact, not very well respected by the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party, the hierarchy in Washington, D.C., and New York City, the East Coast Republicans, if you will. He was the change. He was born out of the grass roots of America.”
Newsmax interviewed Michael Reagan in preparation for its special February issue commemorating his father’s 100th birthday Feb. 6 and its exclusive coverage at newsmax.com this week in the run-up to that occasion.
Story continues below video.
Michael Reagan’s new book, “The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan’s Principles Can Restore America’s Greatness,”
is an intimate look at historic moments and private interludes and how the 40th president's beliefs apply to the world today.
His father was successful, he said, because he knew how to work with others.
“He didn’t make it one issue,” he said. “He didn’t go to Margaret Thatcher and say, ‘Are you pro-life or pro-choice’ and, based on the answer, say, ‘I’m either going to work with you or not work with you.’ He didn’t go to Pope John Paul and say, ‘Hey, tell me about your immigration policy’ and, based on that answer, say, ‘We’re going to work together or not.’ He knew the big picture.
“The big picture was bringing freedom to the world. And he knew the only way to get there was by building a coalition of Pope John Paul, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, Václav Havel, and ultimately, Mikhail Gorbachev, in order to bring the wall down in 1989. So he didn’t let the little stuff get in the way of the big picture.”
Since Reagan’s presidency, the only time a seemingly unbridgeable chasm was crossed was when President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich found a way to work together during a period of divided government, said Reagan, a former talk-show host and Newsmax contributor who now is spokesman for The Reagan Nation and chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation.
“It was a battle for Newt, it was a battle for my father, but both were able to do something very good for the country,” he said. “But remember: Ronald Reagan didn’t make things personal. He was able to laugh things off. He was able to use his humor to defuse people, what have you,” regardless of whether it was ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson, Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill, or anyone else he might encounter.
“And he also never forgot who elected him, the people. So he was always able to go back to the people and tell the people exactly what he wanted to accomplish and enlist their help in them working together. Ronald Reagan didn’t see the word ‘I,’ it was always we, together, we can do this, we can do that. And together we did change the world.”
Reagan said his father always thought of others and looked for the good in people, but “today, in the America we live in, too often we don’t try to find the good, we try to find the bad and get ratings.”
Along those lines, he cautioned about the constant need to look for the next Ronald Reagan, because no one can compare.
“We didn’t compare Ronald Reagan to Abraham Lincoln . . . If you’re looking for Ronald Reagan, you’re never really going to find him. Feel lucky and proud that we had him in our lifetimes. And look for the leader, the next leader of this great movement. If you keep on looking for Ronald Reagan, you may very well walk right past the next great leader of this movement.”
Editor’s Note: To get Newsmax’s special commemorative issue marking Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, and choose a FREE gift — Click Here Now.
To read previous parts of special Newsmax.com commemorative series, click below:
Reagan at 100: A Newsmax Tour of Rancho del Cielo
Reagan Recollections: Meese Recalls Clarity, Directness
Gorbachev: Reagan Was Great President, Peace Partner
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.