Tag Archives: 1984 campaign

Gipper’s son is right: Trump is no Reagan


It probably is no surprise to those of you who read this blog regularly to know that of Ronald Reagan’s two sons, my favorite is Ron, the left-leaning radio talk show host.

The Gipper’s other son, Michael — who also is a talk show host — tilts too far to the right for my taste. I once listened to him speak on a panel at the  1994 National Conference of Editorial Writers annual meeting in Phoenix. Oh brother, he was a serious loudmouth.

These days, Michael Reagan is making some sense as it regards whether the latest pending Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, deserves to be lumped with President Reagan.

In the view of the son: No way, man.


Trump shares none of the late president’s commitment to conservative principles, according to Michael Reagan, who told Smerconish that his dad wouldn’t vote for Trump if he were around today. Michael Reagan said he has no intention, either, of voting for Trump. And, no, he’s not going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Moreover, Trump embodies none of Daddy Reagan’s good humor, his grace, class and dignity.

“There’s nothing really Reaganesque” about him, Reagan told CNN’s Michael Smerconish. “I mean, my father was humble. That’s not what you find in a Donald Trump, I might say.

“He wasn’t demeaning. He didn’t talk down to people. He talked with people, which is the complete opposite of what Donald Trump, in fact, does,” he said.

Reagan went on to mention the second debate in 1984 between his dad and Democratic nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale. The president had done poorly in the first debate, causing some pundits to wonder out loud if he was suffering some mental slippage. The question came to him in the second encounter: Mr. President, are you up to the job? He answered, “I will not for political purposes exploit my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

He brought the house down. The person who laughed the hardest was, that’s right, Vice President Mondale.

Michael Reagan sees none of that in Donald Trump.

Neither do I. Or a lot of others.

Beware of big money, former Sen. Hart warns

Former Vice President Walter Mondale once asked famously of then-Sen. Gary Hart: Where’s the beef?

He sought to smoke out Hart’s position on the issues that were driving the 1984 Democratic Party primary presidential campaign.

These days, though, the former senator is giving us plenty to chew on as he warns of the influence of big money — as in really big money — on the upcoming 2016 campaign for president.


Hart’s target? Former Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who figures to raise as much as a billion bucks to run for president. Hart doesn’t like that kind of influence. While he expresses admiration and respect for Clinton, he sounds like he’s leaning toward a possible alternative candidate for president — say, Elizabeth Warren or Martin O’Malley.

As Politico reported: “The post-Citizens United campaign finance environment has sullied the presidential process, he said, benefiting establishment politicians who cater to financial backers. He pointed to his own experience, noting that he and his wife mortgaged their home for between $50,000 and $75,000 — an amount that made a significant difference in his first campaign in 1984.”

Ah, yes, Citizens United.

That was the infamous Supreme Court decision that ruled in 2010 that campaign contributors cannot be limited in the amount of money they give. Why, it’s a free speech issue, the court ruled. President Obama then stood in the lectern at a State of the Union speech and scolded the justices as they sat right in front of him for their decision. Although the setting was inappropriate for such a tongue-lashing, the guts of what the president said hold up today: It is that money wields too much influence in the modern political process.

Those who suggest that enabling corporations to give mountains of money to candidates is simply allowing “free speech” do not seem to grasp that some speech is heard more clearly than others. Politicians are going to listen to those who can give huge sums of money more than they’ll listen to you and me.

Is their voice more important than ours?

That’s the kind of influence Sen. Hart is warning us about.

Gary Hart has found the beef.