Acknowledging that the GOP's image "is not a good perception" right now, author and commentator Michael Reagan encouraged Republicans to focus on winning control of the Senate and White House, even if that means accepting a budget bill that many conservatives find unappealing.
"It’s not a disaster," the son of 40th President Ronald Reagan said of the budget compromise in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview.
"It's a deal, and not everybody's going to be happy. Conservatives aren't going to be happy, liberals aren't going to be happy . . . but it is a step forward, if you will," Michael Reagan said Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 66 to 33 to halt debate and bring a two-year budget deal to the floor. It would slash the federal spending cuts scheduled to occur under the sequester.
One of the bill's most controversial provisions: a proposal to reduce benefits for military retirees by $6 billion over the next decade.
The budget deal, which will require just 51 votes to pass when it comes to the Senate floor for a final vote Wednesday, reflects a compromise struck between Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
Their bipartisan deal, which has drawn heavy fire from grassroots conservatives, passed the House by a 332-94 vote last week.
Many analysts say the deal will help keep the spotlight on the flawed Obamacare rollout in the months leading up to November's midterm election, improving Republicans' chances of netting the six seats they need to take back control of the Senate.
"They need a perception that they're actually doing something and accomplishing something," Reagan said of Republicans. "What they really need to keep their eye on the ball about is winning back the Senate of the United States next year."
Reagan suggested his late father would have supported the compromise: "Ronald Reagan believed if you go 10 yards at a time, you will get to the other end."
Some leading conservative organizations oppose the spending plan, including Heritage Action, the Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity.
But Reagan criticized Republicans for being too quick to turn on their party's standard-bearers.
"It's interesting," he said. "A year ago, we trusted the budget director [Rep. Paul Ryan] when he was in fact running for vice president of the United States of America, and a year later we don't like it.
"We loved Gov. Christie, and then we didn't like him. We loved Marco Rubio, then we didn't like him.
"We have got to start staying on the horses instead of shooting them while we're riding them," Reagan said.
Michael Reagan also blasted some Democrats for trying to paint Ronald Reagan as a racist during the memorial services for revered South African leader Nelson Mandela.
NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and others singled out President Reagan for not doing enough to confront South Africa's apartheid regime. But Reagan's critics neglected to mention that Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter all pursued very similar policies, Michael Reagan said.
"I mean, that's the card that liberals play on conservatives, and especially on Ronald Reagan, try to paint him as a racist and find something that he might have done that they can see as racist," the son of the late president told Newsmax.
"What happened in South Africa does not make my father a racist. Ronald Reagan was looking at the big picture, he was fighting a Cold War."
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