Last year I attended a lecture at the Reagan Library given by Reagan’s son, Michael. I wrote an article about my experience for RedWhiteBlueNews.com; it caught the attention of the Reagan Group and soon after I found myself writing for Michael Reagan’s Reagan Report. Following is a portion of that article, which I think is still very timely today. Ann-Marie Murrell
My thoughts going into Michael Reagan’s lecture was, “WHERE is our President Reagan for 2012? Who will save us from Obama?” Within the first few minutes of Michael Reagan’s speech, I got my answer. It wasn’t necessarily the one I expected (or wanted) but something that’s haunted me ever since.
Michael talked about ‘perfection,’ and the dangers of placing regular men so high up on pedestals because– as we all know–when you’re that high up, there’s only one other way to go from there. He told us his father had been far from perfect; he divorced movie star Jane Wyman when Michael was only 8 and was a stern disciplinarian. Later, Ron married Nancy and they had Ron Jr. and Patty, creating two blended, somewhat broken Beverly Hills families.
Through it all, Michael remembered his father as being a good, decent (albeit tough) man; a man of very strong moral principles and rare work ethic. He raised his children to understand the value of the American dollar and didn’t just give it to them–they had to earn it. And in Beverly Hills, no less, where they lived next door to the “Crosby, Crawford and Hope kids” who were given anything and everything they ever wanted.
Michael said his father got involved in politics partly out of boredom, ironically when Bobby Kennedy canceled Reagan’s GE-sponsored television program. Newly unemployed, he had a lot of free time on his hands so he started reading history and government books and got involved with Barry Goldwater’s campaign—and voila, an amazing political career was born.
Throughout Michael’s speech, he continuously mentioned our perfection perception regarding his father.
“People keep asking ‘Where’s the next Reagan?’” Michael said. “I keep saying, where are their original voices? Why is everyone repeating the words my father said when they should be out there finding their own voice? What are they afraid of?”
His answer was that, unfortunately, many of the better men are afraid to run for President because of the constant scrutiny of the media in which not only will their life be torn to shreds daily but the lives of their families will as well.
Michael also reminded us that as great as his father was and despite how people now praise his presidency, if Reagan were running for president today he might not even win the GOP nomination.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? But think about it. In today’s hypercritical Conservative political climate, President Reagan would probably be considered even more ‘extreme’ than liberals think of Sarah Palin.
During his presidency he wrote a book called Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. He signed an amnesty bill that allowed millions of illegal’s to live in the US. And before cutting all those taxes people praise him for, he also raised them. He negotiated with world leaders. He was a divorced man, a former actor, and two out of four of his children were ‘troubled.’ He was in a movie about a chimpanzee, for goodness sakes!
So interestingly, by 2011’s critical scrutiny and unreachable standards of perfection, even President Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be considered “Reagan Republican” enough!
Michael’s talk caused me to really re-think my own personal stances on some of our Conservative Republican leaders.
We’re a tough bunch; we are demanding perfection from them that few—even President Reagan—could withstand today. If we have to consider that President Reagan wasn’t perfect, it’s no wonder that others like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and basically everyone else aren’t living up to our 2012 standards either.
THIS is what the ‘other guys’ are counting on, that we’ll implode from within. They don’t need to tear us down; we’re doing a good job of that ourselves–and I’m as guilty of it as anyone.
Michael said that his father knew he couldn’t win over 100% of the people but he had a very thick skin and didn’t really care. He was able to laugh off his detractors and didn’t get upset at his haters. He believed in compromise, giving and taking, and knew when to draw hard lines as well as soft when needed.
Ronald Reagan didn’t care if people liked him or not—he wanted their RESPECT, but he knew he had to EARN it.
Most of all, President Ronald Reagan loved America like nobody’s business. He loved Americans and everything we stand for. When you see videos of his speeches, he is completely engaged with his audience; he looks you directly in the eyes, almost into your soul—no Teleprompters anywhere and as Michael said he rarely even used his own note cards.
When President Reagan spoke, he believed what he was saying because it came from his heart; he believed we could be the greatest country on earth but then, he also reminded us that ‘Freedom is but a generation away from extinction.’ We have to work at it constantly, never ceasing.
With that, Michael said he’s worried lately that his father’s warnings haven’t been taken; that our generation may have allowed the very freedom his father spoke of to be taken away by the progressives currently in office. He said they are chipping away at our foundation every day and the ONLY way we can prevent it from getting worse is to get involved; be engaged and find a good, decent man to run in 2012—not a ‘perfect’ man, but someone who loves America enough to do whatever it takes to get her back on course.
We all need to remember this while we’re dissecting every aspect of every prospective Conservative Republican out there. If you really want another Reagan you’re going to have to take him (or her) with all their mortal, human flaws intact.
How will we know if they truly care about America if we chop them to bits before they ever even get up to bat? Whether we completely agree with them on every issue or not, if they’re good, decent Americans, they are going to do whatever needs to be done to get our country back. Just like President Reagan did—flawed as he was.
No, we don’t have another Ronald Reagan for 2012; we had the best one of those already.
What we need is for our next Presidential candidate—mortal flaws and all–to be Reagan-esque in that he’ll will have enormous love for the foundation of America and the heart to put her back on course.
THAT is what we need and should be looking for. Forget perfect; leave that to God. For now, let’s follow Michael Reagan’s lead and become unified in finding an intelligent, good ol’ normal guy to lead us back home.
And while we’re at it, let’s not forget what an exceptional home we have at that.