Would Reagan have liked Sarah Palin? Sons argue
The late president was a grassroots man and so is Sarah Palin, says Michael
With the debate raging as to whether Sarah Palin is a serious Republican contender for the White House in 2012 - especially now we all know she has to write her key policies on her hand in order the remember them - a question for Americans of the right is: would that conservativee icon Ronald Reagan have approved? And to find out, who better to ask that his sons Michael and Ron Jnr?
The problem is, the two brothers are ideologically opposed and totally disagree on the matter. Ron, once a ballet dancer and now a liberal radio talk show host, has been saying that the old man would look down on Palin and on the Tea Party movement, at whose debut convention earlier this month she gave the keynote address (complete with palm-notes).
Wrong, says Michael, the older son. Brother Ron doesn't know what he's talking about. After all, it was he, Michael, who worked with his father on his White House campaigns in 1980 and 1984, and he reckons his dad would have been proud of Palin because they share one important characteristic: they are grassroots politicians.
In an interview posted at the weekend by the Business & Media Institute, Michael Reagan said: "People need to remember [that] without the grassroots Ronald Reagan probably doesn't become president of the United States of America.
"When he decided to run a second time, when he brought the family together, he talked about the bellmen and the chambermaids of the hotels he would visit who wanted him to try it again.
"It wasn't like he was saying, 'Listen, David Rockefeller has told me to run,' it was because those people at the very grassroots, those people who are affected so much by government told him to run. So, he would look at the Tea Party movement and say, 'Congratulations for what you've been able to accomplish, you know, in this year'."
Pressed about what his father would have thought of Sarah Palin's prominence in today's conservative movement, Michael Reagan responded: "I think my father would have questioned why she would have walked away from being the governor of Alaska, but he would absolutely applaud her.
"She's using her celebrity, if you will, to raise awareness of the conservative movement, to in fact raise money for the party and to help conservatives and others get elected to office in Washington DC and at the local level.
"This is exactly what my father did between 1976 and 1980 [when he was first elected president]. He helped people get elected, he helped raise money for the party and he did all of those things."
Those looking for signs that Michael Reagan - who was the late president's adopted son with his first wife, actress Jane Wyman - might have any doubts about Palin himself, here's the rider: "She is bringing and shining a light on grassroots America and I would suggest that any of the others that are out there who may in fact have an interest in 2012, you know, hit the ground running also and do what they can do to build the party." ·
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