the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Michael Reagan to Arkansas GOP: What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Michael Reagan knows what fires up the Republican base — his father.

On Friday night, Reagan visited Arkansas — a battleground state in the midterm elections — to urge 300 GOP faithful at the state’s annual convention to focus on the big picture, not the small details. That is, if they want to recapture Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

“We shouldn’t worry about who gets the credit,” said Reagan, a former conservative radio host and the adopted son of Ronald Reagan and the actress Jane Wyman. “We should worry about winning the elections in November.”

In Arkansas, Republican Rep. John Boozman, who won the May Senate primary against seven contenders, faces Democratic incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln in November. Lincoln squeaked out a win in the June Democratic run-off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Michael Reagan speaksA recent poll showed Lincoln trailing Boozman by 19 points — 54 percent to 35 percent.

Arkansas’ Second District seat could also flip from Democratic to Republican. It is currently held by Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, who announced in January that he would not seek re-election after 13 years in the House of Representatives. Former Bush White House aide Tim Griffin is vying for the House seat against Democratic State Senator Joyce Elliot, who would be Arkansas’ first black member of Congress.

Reagan said the GOP should remember his father’s 11th commandment — “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” The 24 -hour news cycle, he said, has made politics “too personal.”

“You have to keep it at a political level,” Michael Reagan added. “It hurts the cause when it gets too personal.” For Republicans to win, he told a dinner audience, “We have to look at the big picture like Ronald Reagan did. How do we change the world?”

He spent part of the night reflecting on his father’s legacy, especially the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan visited Berlin last November — the 20th anniversary of the wall’s collapse — and said he felt ashamed that President Barack Obama was not present.

“The president of the United States would go to Copenhagen, instead, to try and bring the Olympics to Chicago,” he said.

He pointed out that Obama sent a video, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced in Berlin, explaining to her audience that Obama had to overcome his own walls. Reagan said he was irate that Hillary Clinton chose to “play the race card on that kind of day.”

The Arkansans cheered.

But Reagan didn’t throw blame just at Obama. He said that if the Republican Party had done its job when it held the presidency and Congress, “Barack Obama would not have been handed the keys to the White House.”

In a media availability before the dinner, Reagan lashed out at the proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York. Earlier this week, he wrote a column agreeing with Sarah Palin who regards the mosque is an unnecessary “provocation.”

“People in the Middle East don’t look at things like we do,” Reagan said. “Mohammad Atta wins, that is how it will be viewed. I don’t need a kumbaya at Ground Zero to know America cares. That’s hallowed ground”

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Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

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