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Reagan Author Craig Shirley: 40th Prez Was Deep Thinker

By Henry J. Reske and Kathleen Walter   |   Friday, 04 Feb 2011 04:14 PM

Percolating behind President Ronald Reagan’s charm and perpetual smile was a complex individual who was a deep thinker with a sophisticated, world-changing political philosophy, Reagan author Craig Shirley says. The nation’s 40th president also was a prolific writer, Shirley told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.

Shirley, who talked with Newsmax in connection with its special February issue marking Reagan’s 100th birthday Feb. 6 and Newsmax.com’s special series in the run-up this week, said he hopes the centennial will clarify things about Reagan’s image.

“One is to get beyond just that he was a nice guy,” he said. “Of course he was a nice guy, but there was much more than that. This was an extremely complex man, who thought about things very deeply, who wrote extensively, had a very refined political philosophy, and literally changed America, changed the Republican Party and in so doing changed the world.”

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Shirley is a prolific writer himself, including three books about Reagan’s political rise. The most recent, “Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America,” has just become available in paperback.

During the Newsmax interview, he rebutted son Ron Reagan’s allegation that his dad had Alzheimer’s disease while in office. raised the issue in his recently released book “My Father at 100: A Memoir.”

Shirley scoffed at the notion, saying, “This is a man who was physically and mentally vigorous from the day he took office in January 1981 to the day he left office in January of 1989.”

Reagan would have worked well with the tea party movement, said Shirley, president and CEO of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs.

“He would have struck a balance by forcing the establishment Republicans to surrender,” he said. “Ronald Reagan was in many ways the first tea party candidate . . . He ran against the entrenched interests of Washington. He ran against the lobbyists. He ran against big labor. He ran against big business and big government because he was articulating a view and a philosophy, an ideology that put the individual at the center of the universe, the individual at the center of politics and not government.”

The most obvious contrast between Reagan and President Barack Obama is their view of the country.

“Barack Obama said not too long along, yes I believe in American exceptionalism just as a man from Greece believes in Greek exceptionalism, or as a man from, I think he said, from England, believes in English exceptionalism,” Shirley said. “Reagan embraced the notion of American exceptionalism because he truly believed as many, many other, including the founders, that America operates at a higher moral plane than any other country in the history of the world.”

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

Michael Reagan: My Dad's Principles Can Restore US Greatness

Historian Brinkley: Reagan Was Rock Star President

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Percolating behind President Ronald Reagan s charm and perpetual smile was a complex individual who was a deep thinker with a sophisticated, world-changing political philosophy, Reagan author Craig Shirley says. The nation s 40th president also was a prolific writer,...

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