Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, political consultant and former host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Reagan, 67, spoke to the Trib regarding the presidential campaign and his father's legacy.
Q: What does Mitt Romney have to do to boost his standing in the swing states where he's trailing in the polls?
A: He's got to sell himself to the American people that he likes us, that he does understand (the plight of) those who are out of work and those who are looking to get a leg up.
My father was able to do that, to reach out to people, and even though they might have disagreed with his policies, they liked him.
And I think Obama's got something of the same thing going. They may dislike his policies, but people like him more than they like Romney.
His job in these debates is not so much to be on target about the economy — people know about the economy — but to get people to like him and feel comfortable enough with him to vote for him.
Q: How large an issue might the recent violence and instability in the Middle East be in the campaign's final weeks?
A: When it comes to foreign policy, the question that should be asked is “Are you safer today than you were four years ago?”
I would think the answer to that is absolutely not, you are not safer today than you were four years ago.
The president of the United States maybe doesn't realize it, but the puppeteer of what's going on in the Middle East is Vladimir Putin. He's reconstituting the Cold War in the Middle East.
We can't have the Rodney King (type of) foreign policy — “Can't we all get along” — because that is a sign of weakness to the rest of the world.
Q: Do you think Romney can win?
A: Boy, I hope so.
I did this op-ed piece (recently) that asked: Why aren't we mad? Why isn't America mad that you have unemployment over 8 percent, 46 million people on food stamps, you have a dead ambassador, two dead Navy SEALs, a dead embassy information specialist, you have 30 embassies under siege and America isn't upset that these things are going on.
And you know, I remember Bill Clinton in his speech at the (Democrat) convention — I think he finished by now — saying that as bad as it was (when Obama took office), neither myself or any of my predecessors could have solved the problems any quicker. That's why President Obama needs four more years.
I thought to myself, “My dad did it in three.”
Q: Could you elaborate on that?
A: You look back at 1980, we had hostages in Iran, we had almost double-digit unemployment, you had double-digit interest rates, double-digit inflation, gas lines. I mean, this country was in turmoil when my father was elected.
And he never blamed Jimmy Carter for the problems. He just went out there and solved them.
The reason he got re-elected is not because he needed four more years to fix the problems that beset the country before he took office. He got four more years because he earned four more years.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media (412-320-7857 or email@example.com).
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.