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Trump Making the Heart Grow Fonder for Reagan?

Trump Making the Heart Grow Fonder for Reagan?
U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan addresses supporters at an electoral meeting in November 1984, a few days before the american presidential election. (Don Rypka/AFP/Getty Images)

By Saturday, 15 July 2017 11:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

I can’t help but notice the recent boomlet in interest regarding my father as president and as a person. Ronald Reagan, for obvious reasons, is a subject close to my heart and it’s gratifying to see new interest in the popular culture.

The fact the current interest in my father is mostly used as weapon to slam the present occupant of the White House is unfortunate. My preference would be for retrospectives of the Reagan administration to serve as fodder, suggestions, and potential examples to emulate for the Trump administration.

Adopt the successes and avoid the mistakes, so to speak.

All this was brought to mind by a review in the New York Post written by a writer often associated with the "Never Trump" faction of the Republican Party. Rich Lowry was reviewing "The Working Class Republican" by Henry Olsen.

He terms the book "a bracingly revisionist account of the 40th president." Maybe because politicians trying to pigeon-hole my father only looked at a part of his record. As Olsen and Lowry point out, Ronald Reagan in 1980, during his race for president against incumbent Jimmy Carter, had been a Democrat longer than he’d been a Republican.

That history, and his work as a leader of a labor union, went a long way toward forming his affinity for what he called "the forgotten American." He invented the here-to-fore unheard of political category called "the Reagan Democrat" because he genuinely cared about "men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we’re sick — professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truck drivers."

And they responded, because it was obvious Ronald Reagan wasn’t spouting phrases tested in a focus group. He reached and received the votes of people the professionals "knew" were impossible for a Republican candidate to reach, much like the current occupant of the Oval Office.

He had contradictions, because my father was human. The man who campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964 raised taxes as governor of California. The man who cut tax rates early in his first term in 1981 had to agree to raise them later in his second term. The governor who cracked down on college demonstrators had a soft spot in his heart for the unemployed and the elderly.

He was pragmatic when he had to be because he believed, "public officials are elected primarily for one purpose — to solve public problems."

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about my father that I was in complete agreement with, but I will say I agree with Olsen completely when he says Ronald Reagan was a "constitutional conservative." Would that we had more of them in office today.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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The fact the current interest in my father is mostly used as weapon to slam the present occupant of the White House is unfortunate.
trump, ronald reagan, henry olsen
Saturday, 15 July 2017 11:37 AM
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