Michael Reagan, radio personality and son of the late President Ronald Reagan, told Neil Cavuto of Fox News this week about his contemptuous take on Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democratic Party: “We come not to condemn Arlen Specter, we come to bury Arlen Specter,” he said mockingly.
Specter admitted that he made the historic decision largely to avoid another challenge in the primaries next year from former Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Toomey. He added that he was also motivated to leave the GOP because it had shifted far to the right of his views.
“No one in the conservative movement has supported this man for a long period of time because he hasn’t really supported anyone in the conservative movement,” Reagan said.
“This is a self-inflicted wound that came not too many weeks ago when he was one of three Republicans that voted with Democrats to bring the $800 billion monstrosity package to the Senate for a vote that’s going to be put on the backs of our children into the future,” Reagan said.
“At that point, the conservatives said ‘we’re done with you.’ We have time to build this party in Pennsylvania and bring up someone who is going to win — and who is going to be on our team in 2010.
“When it came down to push and shove in this whole stimulus package, he went with Barack Obama. He went with what was going on in Washington, D.C. He did not stand with the conservatives.
“Conservatives sat back for a long time watching George Bush and the spending that was going on in Washington… It cost them the House and the Senate in 2006. Still they didn’t learn anything — and it cost them the White House in 2008,” Reagan said.
“When are they going to listen to our side of the party?" he said. "We’re always asked to give in to the moderates and the liberals. It’s about time the moderates and liberals said, wait a minute, it’s about time conservatives had a voice in this party.
“If we had taken over the party, we wouldn’t be in the spending crunch we have today; we wouldn’t have the deficits we have today,” Reagan concluded.
Cavuto reminded Reagan about the time his father lost his party’s nomination in a squeaker to Gerald Ford – setting up the Gerald Ford-vs.-Jimmy Carter presidential contest. Some Republican friends wanted Reagan to bolt the party and form a third party in 1976.
Ronald Reagan’s response to the idea of forming a third party was adamant: The only way to proceed was to fight it out in the primary and then get behind whoever wins.
Reagan said Arlen Specter needed to take Reagan’s advice and “get behind whoever they nominate in Pennsylvania.”
“This party needs to be built from the bottom up — not from the top down,” Michael Reagan said. “We’ve been king builders for so long and we’ve lost everything because of it.”
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