Republican strategist Michael Reagan complains to Newsmax that there has been more focus on the David Petraeus sex scandal than on the administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi that cost the lives of four Americans.
The elder son of President Ronald Reagan also says the Republican Party needs to convey a “message of inclusion” to minority voters and “be inspiring to people” or it will continue to lose at the polls.
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Reagan is a former talk radio host, a best-selling author, a frequent Newsmax contributor, and the current chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, Reagan has some choice — and somewhat tongue-in-cheek — comments on the scandal over former CIA Director Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.
“I don’t think people are surprised that generals are having sex with people. I just don’t,” he says.
“I mean, we’re covering the sexcapades of Gen. Petraeus more than we’re covering Libya and Benghazi where we have people actually dead.
“And it’s truly interesting that the right always gets blamed for being in the bedroom, but the left lives there. Maybe it’s time for them to get out of the bedroom.”
Reagan says he is also not surprised that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election and Republicans fared poorly in the Senate races on Election Day.
“It wasn’t a surprise to a lot of people,” he tells Newsmax. “When you have a message that isn’t inspirational, that doesn’t really reach out and be inclusive, then don’t expect people that you’re not talking to to come out and vote for you.
“You’ve got to be able to reach those people. So you’ve got to have a message and find your message before you do anything else. Just simply capitulating and giving in on this or giving in on that is not going to make you a good candidate. You’ve got to learn to have a message of inclusion and one of inspiration to bring people to you in the next election.”
Asked to elaborate on the message of inclusion, Reagan says: “I just got done speaking at a function in West Palm Beach. Great function. Great people. And I said, ‘Would all of the African-Americans in the room please stand?’ Nobody stood. The only blacks in the room were serving me coffee.
“Then I say, ‘Hey, all the Hispanics, please stand.’ About two people show up. Where are they? They’re doing the flowers out front.
“If you’re not going to be engaged within those communities 24/7, don’t expect those communities to come forward on Election Day. Ronald Reagan was the last person to bring in the Hispanic vote. Why? Because he was inclusive. He had a message of inclusion, found areas of agreement.
“We have a great Hispanic governor in New Mexico. We have a great governor in Nevada, Hispanic. But you never see him on the campaign trail. I would be going to people like that saying, ‘You know, your state is 75 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican. How did you get elected as a Republican? What was your message?’ We don’t do that. We don’t do it at all. Until we do, we’re going to lose.”
Asked if Obama’s re-election means that Americans want big government rather than the smaller government and lower taxes championed by Ronald Reagan, Michael responds: “What it means is that Mitt Romney and the Republicans didn’t run a campaign where they even talked about it.
“You can run a campaign and put a candidate together to talk about all of the things we didn’t talk about in the campaign and that we just stayed mum on and quiet. You can’t have a campaign that says, ‘Well, I’m going to create 12 million jobs.’ How are you going to do that? ‘Well, I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.’ You have to be inspiring to people. That’s what you need to be. And our candidate truly wasn’t inspiring.
“But that wasn’t his fault, and I get really tired of conservatives saying, ‘Well, the mainstream media really picked on Mitt Romney.’ You had eight conservatives running against a moderate [in the GOP primaries]. Did they not think the conservatives would split the vote amongst themselves? Which is exactly what they did, which allows a 30-percenter to win the primaries and win the nomination.
“So quit whining about the mainstream media. Ronald Reagan never had the mainstream media on his team and yet he was able to win. Why? He had a message of inclusion and he went above and over their heads. That’s what we need to do.”
Reagan is promoting the Take Back Our State ballot initiative in California, which would make positions in the state legislature part-time jobs.
“Shannon Grove and I — she’s the assemblywoman from Bakersfield — are going to re-up it for the 2014 campaign in California and get it on the ballot for 2014,” he explains. “We want to take the state back to a part-time legislature, which it was, where people that represent you actually have to have jobs. They’re not making money from me, they’re actually having jobs so they have to live under the laws that they pass.
“Forty-three states have it. California had it until 1967. Let’s [go] back to it.”
He also discusses his email service, Reagan.com.
“It’s going great, going very well. It’s the only conservative email service out there.
“We don’t support Pelosi, Reid and Obama. If you have AOL or Yahoo! or any one of these, they’re taking your information, selling your information, forming political action committees and giving it to the Democrats. Why? Why are we conservatives supporting that?
“We say we don’t support Barack Obama but our email address we’re getting for free is supporting him. So Reagan.com is there. People can go there — $40 for the year. We do not support Pelosi, Reid and Obama and you have the greatest name in conservatism.”
In his Newsmax interview Reagan also declares that some tea party candidates were “absolutely fools” for getting involved in moral controversies instead of concentrating on economic issue.
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