tv Book TV After Words CSPAN February 5, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
in a place that i'm calling the blood lands. that is to say, not so much russia, not so much germany but the lands between her lynn and bosco, the western rim of russia and the baltic states a little ruse, ukraine and most of poland. so what this means is of all the killing that took place organized by both hitler and stalin from the atlantic to the pacific, the treman this majority of this mass murder was concentrated in this relatively small territory. >> coming up next, booktv
present after words, an hour-long program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week, former radio talkshow host and author, michael reagan commemorates his father, ronald reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth. in his latest book, "the new reagan revolution", he discusses the personality and policies of the 40th u.s. president and calls for a return to civility that michael reagan says his father was admired for. he talks about this new revolution with daily beast rider, john alvon. >> host: it is good to be a. welcome to c-span you have a new book coming out to celebrate the 100th birthday of your father, ronald reagan. 100th birthday and it is amazing because there is such an outpouring of affection and respect torture father. he has become a really unifying figure in american politics, somebody who is clearly beloved by republicans but that goodwill is extended across the
population as far as an iconic president. disco i write about that in the book and i tell the story about all at old one. i'm walking out of the gym with all at old one and i stop him and i say, mr. bald and my name is mike reagan. jane wyman is my mother and he looks at me and i said well i really had two shots. jane wyman is my mother, or maybe have to duck and say ronald reagan is my debt. into kind of chuckled and he said listen my son cameron has the -- from red october. somebody gave it to his granddad and his granddad gave it to cameron. i just wanted to say hello. he says you know something? i wanted to tell your family something. i was with some friends last night and i was telling them how much i missed your father. i said you missed my father? you disagreed with everything he stood for. he said yes i did but i didn't realize until lately what a good soul your father had in me says
this world is missing that good soul and how much i wish we had the good soul that is to make the point of what you are saying. >> host: that is one of the great anecdotes from the book and it does describe the partisanship base over time and people remember the figure in the father figure he think he was, that he did it just for nations expectations and even present obama has said many kind things about your father is a leader and as a president. which is why i was interested in one of the things you wrote in the book. use it given the fact that every republican holds up reagan as the standardbearer, the one piece of common ground that i think unites the whole republican party. you right in the book ronald reagan couldn't win the republican nomination today. what you mean by that? >> guest: what i mean by that, i had this conversation with newt gingrich a while back. i said it is interesting that the liberals seem to only need the ideology to follow. conservatives are always looking for someone to lead them and if that person is and there they break into factions.
and to get all these different factions all over the map, and so what i say there there is if ronald reagan is president and throws his hat into the ring in 2008 or 2012 who would in fact attack him because all you can look at would be his gubernatorial years. signing no-fault divorce, raise taxes, sign an abortion bill. my god he was a union leader. >> host: so you sit there and you think about the ads that came out against him, anti-tax, raise taxes, antiabortion, signed abortion, pro-marriage, can no no-fault divorce. the attack on him when it comes to the right, not from the last. that would have been the argument he would have had to try to get the nomination in his own party. >> guest: what does that say about the current state of the republican party that for all the talk of a litmus test of
conservatism and do you believe -- you have a lot of harsh words for john mccain when he was running for the nomination that he wasn't a real conservative that ronald reagan would have a hard time today. what does that say about the current state of the public and party? >> guest: at this current state of the lyrical discourse as you have both parties. you have these little groups out there who are driving, i think i tell the story in the book about my sister sent me politics is like the fuselage of an airplane. you get on the lane and some people sit on the right side of some people on the left. people on the left look out the window and see people on the left wing. you need to worry about the ones to meet under the plana may be the ones under the plane right now are flying the plane. if you will, it makes it very very tough with a discourse that in fact we are and. my father was never one to break into one issue politics. it wasn't that way. and we don't have somebody to lead then you have these
fiefdoms who have all got single issues and if you don't support their issue 100%, their litmus test, then they stay at home and then what happens? is that really good? ronald reagan really looked that the process, if you can look at it as a football game. you have got the super bowl coming up, so if you look at the football game it is a 100-yard field. every 10 yards to get a first down. 10 yards at a time make a first down is not a bad way to score a touchdown. you are not always going to give that 100-yard pass in there too many groups today who want to 100-yard pass and if it is not complete they want to go home. >> host: i love both of those metaphors. i think they're right and he gets too i think another point. one of the characteristics of your father's leadership in the republican party with this idea of the big tent and even the big tent itself has become a controversial metaphor within the republican party today. what can be done to remind people of that wisdom, that it of reagan's wisdom in the
current republican party and how does it apply? >> guest: is like the guy that says i love the seven commandments. oh there were three more? i didn't pay attention. so many people are quoting ronald reagan but not really understanding who he was and what he was. if you really reconstituting the reagan likeness. that is what i tried to do with the book to really understand where he came from and where so many people talk about what ronald reagan would do, in the book as you know this is what ronald reagan did and this is what he did when faced with the same issue you are faced with today. this is in fact what ronald reagan did and i think that is important for people to see that and to understand he was a consensus builder. he was a coalition builder. he looked in areas of agreement. you know i talk about the book. there's one spot in the book that really got me because i was doing talk radio of the time. when michael jackson died and
pete came from new york just went off the ball on talk radio, cnn and everything, calling michael jackson every word on the planet because he was being honored. and i thought to myself, my gosh ronald reagan would be just horrified by this because ronald reagan could read what was over his grave site, find good in people and that is what made ronald reagan who he was. everybody he ran into he found a good. on that day as the president of the united states if you were in infected have said a word he would have had to say word about michael jackson, he would have found the good things that michael jackson had accomplished in his life and raised those up on that day instead of calling people names. >> guest: that has been lost. that bit of reagan's wisdom. as you look at the current proper republican leaders and you look to 2012 every figure will be saying they are running under the mantle of ronald reagan.
who do you think understands that totality of reagan's issue? who do you see glimpses of your father and? >> guest: >> guest: i will sell you what. i in some ways try not to because i almost do a disservice and i think we do a disservice looking for ronald reagan. we were not looking for abraham lincoln when ronald reagan showed up. we were simply looking for a leader and i think what happens is by looking for ronald reagan we are never going to find the next guy because they are not going to add up to ronald reagan. now they all can kohl ronald reagan and it is like if you can quote in more than i can quote and then you get the nomination. and i think about my father who, when he brought us in, really spoke to us in parables. and he did. and i got that from bill clarke. bill clarke has been a dear friend for years and a dear friend of i dads and served with my dad. we talked about come he talks in parables where today we have too many politicians speaking in
sound bites. and so what you have as a seat as you have a guy who says okay, how do i get to the soundbite? there is no meet and say take it to the soundbite and you hope it is on the 6:00 news and then you wonder why does anybody follow me? you'd never give them anything to follow. ronald gave -- reagan gave you something to follow. what you are pope john paul ii on the street he treated you equally and gave you the same amount of time. i go any and meet people all the time. if i would walk into the room, if i could do this, it do you know what i remember about them? he reached out his hand and did this. he used both hands. i will never forget that. ronald reagan really meant it. he didn't have to make it up. >> host: there was an authenticity that no question i think red and maybe that is what all at walden was getting to at
a time when there is a lot of fronting that goes on in our politics. >> guest: one of the interesting things you did refer to it is reagan was, think we forget controversial at the time. not just in a partisan way it and 149 states but was deeply disliked by the left. i came across quotes like this. he sounds like winston churchill but acts like neville chamberlain. from a conservative, republican leader and this is my favorite from the editor of conservative digest. sometimes i wonder how much of a reaganite reagan really is. >> guest: looking back on that now when you hear him get race to the level of the near saint in the conservative movement and you remember that contemporary criticism what do you remember from those criticisms at the time? gaskell you know my father, take what is going on today in the world we live in. politics come if somebody says something somewhere in the world about them they have got to
respond. ronald reagan and you don't have to respond to everything. sometimes the best response is just not to say anything. and you know those clothes that you gave were conservatives who aren't happy because he might have cut a deal with tip o'neill or cut a deal here or cut a deal there because he had to because he understood if you want to get anything done that is the art of politics. you have to do it. >> guest: compromise is not collaboration. kisco he believed 80/20 rule. there a lot of people today, conservatives and liberals who don't believe in the 80/20 rule. it is a 100% rule. >> host: restate the 80/20 rule. >> guest: one of the examples i give with my dad the only person to ever write a book through his presidency. abortion and the concept of the nation truly a pro-life gentleman. but yet in 1992, he supported
bahrain, his daughter for congress of the united states, pro-choice and pro-life group just couldn't understand how could you do that? only jack kempe showed up to help my sister maureen wren for the congress of the united states. all the pro-life republicans stayed home, stayed home. so what did they get? jane harmon. now how many times do they agree with jane and dads use the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time. maureen and i are in the same page. 20% of the time we are not. i'm supporting my daughter, pro-choice. he caught hell for it. jack kempe caught hell for it and maureen lost. >> host: to be clear you do not believe there should be a pro-life litmus test for republican candidates? >> guest: i don't think there should be a pro-choice litmus test on the other side of it. there shouldn't be these litmus tests get you in trouble. i really tear this apart in the book and give -- i speak of pro-life events all over the
country. i am adopted in one of the questions i ask when i go out is how many adoptees are in agreement how many would rather have been aborted? so far 100% of the answers are no i am very happy being alive thank you very much but the reality of it is 69% of abortions are done on young girls who are thus a belief in god. catholic and protestant. 69%. that is a huge percentage. so then the question is, why? the argument i'm making the book is because they are more fearful of mom and dad than then they are the abortions. why are they fearful of mom and dad? if you ever get yourself present and that he don't ever come to this house and embarrass us. i have high standing in the community. dougie weprin bears this family. now that doctor goes out and gets pregnant. where do you think she is going to turn? she is going to turn to the abortion is so when i go out in speaking i say wait a minute,
let me ask you this. how many can "john 3:16. all the hands go up. i say great. god so loved as he sent his son to die for our sins and how many fathers in this room are willing to get on across for their own daughter sins? when we start giving up the cross for our daughter sense, this will happen at the dinner table my father talked about all goodness starts there. we will start making our daughters more fearful of the abortionist then mom and dad and we won't have to look to the government to solve our problems. we may have just solve them at home which is what my father told me. >> host: your father said the most change in america is spoken at the dinner table. you speak movingly about your sister maureen throw the book and it is one of the loveliest aspect of the book, you help bring her spirit alive and the diversity within the family, the diversity of thought and a real character that she was and i think it is probably instructive for people to appreciate that
ronald reagan's daughter was not only pro-choice but advocating for the equal rights amendment. she disagreed with her father but that happen in one family and it did make her less of a good republican in your eyes or your father's eyes. >> guest: i still talk about the fact. ronald reagan learned how to deal with -- sitting with his own family because he had everything. yet the atheist, agnostic, christian, catholic. he had it all done, liberal, conservative, moderate. all sitting at the same dinner table trying to figure out a way through the maze to get to the turkey at thanksgiving dinner. maureen was great. she was the one in 1960 to assess to her father, someday you were going to be president of the united united states ande yeah right. i'm not even running for anything but you are going to be president of of the united states america. she is the one that really pushes him to become a republican because she is the verse republican in the family. >> guest: why didn't she
joined the republican party ahead of your father? >> guest: why not really sure because she was so involved that they both got in, feet and i'll put the story we tell about the equal rights is so funny because maureen used to just drive him crazy. here in new york when they did the whole thing with my dad's announcement. we got off his midlife like. wheelan here and mike deaver and all these guys are coming out and maureen didn't like something, the way we retreated or whatever and said how are you doing marine? fine. is everything all right? i will let you know. will we see it tonight? yes. how will we know? i brought two pairs of shoes. one of my pairs of shoes makes me taller than your candidate and the other one makes me shorter. you will know if i have been treated right today. and we thought might god would pair of shoes is she going to be
wearing? she has these equal rights amendment, era, big and the campaign went nuts. what is going on? if you got really close is that i like reagan anyway. but there was great worry about maureen's equal rights right cited was going to turn off conservatives across the country and what they get behind ronald reagan? ultimately he becomes president of the united states but there is a deal made. desk. >> host: this is a great story. >> guest: the deal is if you will loose the equal rights amendment buttons that will make the first appointment to the supreme court a woman. maureen and my dad make this deal. maureen looses the era buttons in the first appointment is sandra day o'connor. that story has been widely told before but i've never heard it. >> host: the first female supreme court was a handshake deal between maureen and your
dad. >> guest: lemma sandra day o'connor reads the book or hears me and somebody asked me the question, she has never known. >> host: i thought she was a great supreme court justice so it all worked out. was your sister involved in the election of sandra day o'connor? guest: not at all. dead knew he wanted to nominate the first woman, the first nominee will be a woman and that was the deal between maureen and my dad. >> host: that is a remarkable piece of history in your book in their a lot of wonderful moments where the curtain comes back and i think people forget at the end of the day of his people in a room and your dad presided over it a very diverse family of lyrical views. i think we whitewashed figures in history and i think your father sometimes gets whitewashed. when you hear people oversimplify reagan or oversimplify the family what cautions do you want? does that make you want to hit the brake pedal and say hey he is more interesting and the whole diversity of his views and their families views.
>> guest: here is the man -- i grew up watching because there is a man who rode all of his speeches. i used to laugh when people would say who writes his speeches? i remember walking into the bedroom in the back me in the bedroom was his desk and you pull up the right-hand drawer in the whole bottom part of the tour was 3x5 cards with rubber bands around them. those were his speeches so he would reach in there and grab this one. do you know how we used to have fun? shuffle the deck. think about a guy who writes his speech so many times do to make it interesting for himself and he shuffles the deck. now i'm going to give a speech. it was amazing, just to sit and watch them. and he was such a reader. a good friend of mine, tom a tremendous jones, was a writer. tommies to say when he goes out and speak used to say readers
are leaders and ronald reagan was probably the last great reader that we really had because he really read about history and understood it. and how people read his writings and all these other things in like us he he was pretty diverse and pretty smart guy. >> host: in his own hand is a pretty good look too. >> guest: we talk about the diversity of the family and you have to mention your brother has a book coming out right now too and one of the things the media picked up and we all know there is a conflict bias in the media, was him saying perhaps your father had early onset alzheimer's, and you tweeted i believe a response that made waves itself because it was very confrontational. said my brother was an embarrassment to his father when he was alive and today he became an embarrassment to his mother. those are harsh words from a very genial guide.
what is going on there? >> guest: i tell you i get very upset when i see my father, things said about my father that just aren't true and they come from ron, who at one time stated i will never write a book, and to just kind of put this into a book. i have so long listen to people, bill maher -- mauer being one of them who have tried to tell their audiences that ronald ronald reagan had alzheimer's when he was president and that is why he did the things he did. he was stupid and whatever it was, dementia. it is angered me of the year so much so that i told bill maher i am never doing your show and i'm not going to put anybody on my show that this your show because it just offends me so much that you say these things. and now one of the sons to come out and he got an inkling that maybe this was going on when there was no evidence. i am the chairman of the
alzheimer's foundation. i took over for art linkletter when he passed away and i've been on the board for years. if you have an inkling something is going on with your father, you should have talked to your mother. you certainly could have called me or talk to anybody who was in the white house at the time instead of putting it out there because there a lot of people who would like to use that to discredit your father's administration, and so what really made me very very angry that he in fact would say that and do that and he might have -- he may have a great book and it probably is good. ron has a great heart but what happens is like a piece of legislation in washington, you have a great piece of legislation legislation and all of a sudden there is nothing to back it up. it was just wrong for him to do. yeah, came off, i had just gotten off the plane and i heard that and just let wow. my father wasn't that happy with
his political side but you know he tried to negotiate and debate with ron during the eight years of his presidency but do you know what my father was really concerned about with ron as he reached over the dinner table 1 night when we were talking about religion and talking about politics? my dad would be sitting at the seed and nancy basijan i would be sitting over here. my dad leaned over and he grabs my hand and he says michael, my wish is that ron would become a christian like you and i. that is what he was concerned about. and i tell that story in the book i also that i also tell the story about the masai women and african and staying at the club and i'm there in a man comes up to me and says hello. i say hello and he says i am a messiah. you have been here before? you are mr. reagan. you are christian are you? i said yes. i have seen you on tv. i'm looking around like this.
he says i have seen you on tv and you have your brother, ron, don't you? i said yeah. he is an atheist is in the? i said if he is. i have seen him on the larry king show. i said yeah. do you talk to him? i said we don't talk that often. the next time you be talking to your brother run you tell and there is a messiah warrior that craze for him every single day and i felt about this big as a christian because i didn't and it reminded me that i should be just like the story i tell in the book about our pastor at church you know, who said to the congregation one morning, how many of you here in the room have prayed for bill clinton? three hands go up. how many of you pray for george bush in everybody's hands go up and he said to us, have we christians been praying for bill clinton like we should have been, maybe monica lewinsky would have never made it to the oval office.
>> host: you raise to great great.they think they are, but first of all just to go back do you regret the personal and public nature of that tweet about your brother? >> guest: yeah i do. i really really do and that was a bad reaction to it. i said it because it really made me angry. dealing with this disease as i do and don't give it to my dad earlier than when he really had it. >> host: you tell the story about three hands going up to pray for bill clinton and every one for bush and your congregation. do you believe the current political environment has been so polarized and there has been a lot of anger directed at a rock obama in particular. do you ever pray for barack obama? >> guest: i really do and they even talk about that. it is interesting, and with all the things i write in the book i might have written this in the book and in fact i like the fact fact -- i disagree with his politics as you know in the book
but i like the fact that he still dates his wife. i do like that. when you look at a community in the world we live in today you have 40 million children tonight will go to bed in fatherless homes, 40 million. that is a huge amount of children going to bed in fatherless homes. 516,000 children in foster care in america, 100,000 available for adoption, 70% of those who a ate jacqueline up on the streets or in jail. you have children being born out of wedlock and eight by community second to none, the white community and hispanic community. you have a black president who is dating his wife. loving his children and giving time to the family. if i was in fact an adviser to barack obama, if he wants to bring a country together, that is a great issue to bring a country together. and it is a wonderful issue for him and i believe it is a winning issue for him. it is a winning issue for him because it is a good thing.
>> host: you don't believe anybody should be demonizing the president of the united states? guess code know, think you can debate and you can enjoy the debate on so many different levels, you can but to really make it arsenal there is a lot of people who do make a personal. there are all kinds, of course i mention that they're all kinds of crazy things out there. the people that have this whole thing with barack obama, was he born in america or born in kenya? that whole thing, there are millions of dollars being sent to these people to keep the thing alive and you are going to what are you thinking? >> host: you mention something to that effect in the book and i would like to bring about. you say beware of individuals and organizations that at the coup cringe at the conservative movement. they take advantage of goodhearted trusting people who worry about the direction the country is going.
these outfits want your e-mail address and credit card number. they harm the conservative cause by damaging credibility. do you think those folks, the birthers are part of that? >> guest: you have the birthers and other web sites i mentioned, and teach obama. people send money. think of it in commonsense terms. it is just not going to happen. all these people are doing, they are raising money for themselves and spending money on themselves. if you want to get involved get involved in something real but to get involved in these things like these people are really going to impeach the president or the birthers are really going to get to the bottom -- do you really think barack obama is going to be yanked out of office and thrown somewhere? do you think that is going to happen? no it is not going to happen so you have these french organizations making millions of dollars. >> host: we have had a lot of calls recently which i think are overdue for civility in our politics and one of the things i was struck by, but you go back to the speech in which he has a
great line about one thing about our democratic friends they know so much that is and so, he hoisted care to say our democratic friends. as far as i know he never called jimmy carter a communist. that civility, did your father against the cause of civility? to people who wanted to honor your father restore stability civility to their dialogue? >> guest: my father gave a talk on socialized medicine. but always with a smile and when you make things personal you really accomplish nothing and ronald reagan understood that. an example of a given the book is when we are sitting at the dinner table, maureen myself, nancy. this is in the 1960s and -- is running against nixon. my father is telling us hey, do you know that the republican committee has photographs of
john f. kennedy going into hotel rooms and out of hotel rooms with women other than his wife? maureen and i pop up and say are they going to use it? will nixon use it against kennedy in the election? dad says no he really shouldn't because he is not running for husband of the year. he is running for the presidency of the united states. there are a lot of bad husband to our great leaders. is up to him and his wife to settle that. is not up to us to break into their marriage and we shouldn't do that. but today it will be the first thing. that is the first thing you would stand like i tell people who are thinking of running, what is it that you are most embarrassed by in your life because whatever it is you haven't told somebody ob on the front page of the newspaper the day you announce and that is what set about politics today. gotcha politics. your personal life is more pork than anything else you have done in your life and it is kind of scary that way. >> host: do you think your father would have got into politics today?
>> guest: you know really everything really has its time but you know as you'll find it in the book whether you have got got -- would he have gotten into politics hadn't been for bobbi kennedy? the fact do you have my dad who is a hit television show, top 10 every sunday night general electric theater. he is doing quite well and what is great about is nancy at home she make sure we kids were sitting in front of the tv at 9:00 on sunday night to watch it. we had to boost the ratings. so we were sitting with dad and he says i lost my job. >> host: what happen? >> guest: bobbi kennedy calls general electric and says you know, your government contracts are up for renewal. do you want your government contract to be renewed? you need to get rid of the hosting get rid of the television show and not long after that general electric theaters canceled.
ronald reagan was looking for a job. if it stays on the air stays past the goldwater campaign. there is none -- make no time for choosing a speech. >> host: everything works out. kisco you have to thank bobby kennedy because one phonecall changed the world and ronald reagan had to find that new job and went from borax into politics and the rest is history. >> host: so it all worked out. one of the things that i am struck by in your father's career was, he comes from hollywood and presumably when he was an actor, he and nancy and her mother had friends who were and. and i think that is an important piece of history that gets whitewashed. and he campaigned against i think prop 6, the anita bryant, the movie had reference your father campaigning gets this
reference that would have taken them out of the public schools. that seem to be a very courageous move at that time for your father to stand up against many social conservatives and religious conservatives who felt strongly about that. i wonder what less less lesson e current republican party should take of that of your father stance and particularly the current debate going on. cpac is convening and there is a concern that go proud as one of 50 sponsors and that is cause such a ripple in sight of the conservative movement that the heritage foundation, the heritage foundation has pulled out of support for cpac this year. this is an organization your father helped build. many of the cabinet members are leading luminaries, the bedrock organization and the image of ronald reagan. given your father is campaigning against prop 6, what lessons do you think the conservative movement should take from our reagan when it comes to a more inclusive attitude? >> guest: you bring up a good point.
my mother gave raw cuts in his first job in hollywood. i knew rock and all of them all my life. it was amazing to me that the community i lived in, the conservative community, surprised that there have been in the republican party who had been major fund-raisers and advisers to campaigns forever. i mean, forever. and they have been a great help to the party. and so i think my dad, my dad certainly would take a stand against marriage but would not take a stand, you know, and this area where i live, i look at adoption. i told you early for about 560,000 children and america.
if you take a child who has been put into foster care who is going to go through 10, 1215 homes in their lifetime before the age out any wonder why they are angry because they have got no place to go. if you see a child, you have a the chance to leave today. i have this nice couple who want to adopt you. rosie o'donnell and her significant other, or you can stay here with us. that child is going to say give me the rosie o'donnell. i thank rosie o'donnell and those people for adopting children and i think too often we get into this whole thing up oak oh my goodness, that child, there is no study on the planet that is going to tell you that child is not better off with rosie o'donnell then the child is in the foster care system in america today. where i sit there and disagree on the marriage side, i certainly say wait a minute, there is a whole lot of variance
in there for we are saying no end by saying no we are taking children and saying they would rather have you been jailed on the streets of america. i think we need to learn to say how can we have a big tent and have people in fact in it and that is what we really truly need to do. >> host: every child should have a loving home. >> guest: absolutely every child. it is absolutely true. when you think about the numbers of foster kids, we did a couple of -- through the center from the blindside. that family, people go to these events and think that is wonderful but the thing is you need to be doing that also. so what we are doing is we are challenging churches and saying to churches hey adopt a child. we went to a mega-church in texas and said listen if you want to adopt, fill the void. you adopt the children.
don't have them available. but we went to this church in texas and we challenge them and they put together hope 100 in their mega-church in a few months ago they were at 106 children they have adopted in that the church which is phenomenal. >> host: one of the things in recent days as your book has come out the that caused controversy in op-ed he wrote on martin luther king. the pope at the got attention and it is red and totality. but the quote the got pick up the tension was ronald reagan was a far better friend to black americans than barack obama has been. did you anticipate that maybe that would be controversial? >> guest: absolutely. >> host: sometimes you write articles just to see what will happen but again i made the point. the point is when ronald reagan went in as president of the united states united states and he was assigned at -- wanda signed the legislation that created martin luther king day. here's a guy that took the
unemployment black community from 19% down to 11%, forget the decimal point to at that point in his time period. it is now up 16%. he took the middle-class blacks and they moved up. the black community grew by leaps and bounds in his administration and he was not a man -- he was colorblind from what i say in the article and write in the book. in fact here is a man who went to school and the last living member of his graduation class just turned 100 last year, black when mcardle gorbachev saw that a black woman went to school with ronald reagan back in the 1930s she was absolutely amazed by that, because he was raised in a timeframe when in fact in schools and communists, the communist world they were made to read uncle tom's cabin, so they are thinking my gosh,
america is all like this and all of a sudden found out that ronald reagan's two best friends were black and played on the football team and when they couldn't stay in town which was 15 miles away from the house and was going to put them on the bus overnight my dad drives them back to the house and welcoming them to the reagan household and spent the night and got up the next day and drove 15 miles back to play football. ronald reagan cared about america and i said the other night, where martin luther king and my father -- dartmouth the king freed the white man. absolutely true. that is a statement by father made when he signed the legislation. if you have abraham lincoln freeing the slaves, you do have martin luther king freeing the black man. and you have ronald reagan thanking all of his life about freedom. so we have martin luther king and ronald reagan, one freeing the white man and the whole thing with black america.
ronald reagan thinking about freeing the people behind the iron curtain. >> host: why then did your father do not support the sofa rights act? >> guest: you know i really wish i could answer that. i really don't know but the civil rights act at the time in the 1960s, the republican party was the one who really force that ultimately the past. i wish i could answer that for you. >> host: you never asked him? >> guest: never asked. >> host: that is interesting but it does seem like a contradiction to you in that respect. one of the interesting things that have come out on his christmas vacation president obama was reading a biography of ronald reagan by lou cannot and you make the point -- guest go he chose wisely. >> host: there you go. why do you think he chose that book and what do you hope he learns from it going forward? >> guest: you notice interesting and you find at issue go through the archives of
the reagan library there are are more democrats starting reg and then republicans. if you listen to barack obama speeches and bill clinton's speeches you hear a lot of reaganesque terms in those speeches. and you wish gosh it would be nice if the republicans could pick some of those things up that it is not stupid to pick up a lou cannon book and probably the best biographer of ronald reagan was lou cannon because he came to the full spectrum buddy started with ronald reagan. and you got to see the man all the way through the system. he is just a great great guy but it was good to feel the sea that and i think it is wise for presidents or others to study those that went before them. read about them and learn from them. ronald reagan was a great great reader of those who went before him and he was in awe when he walked into that white house and
of those who went before him and to keep that or a of respectability through at all. he learned a lot from others. >> host: in that spirit of civility your father always reaching out and talking about our democratic friends. who are some of the democrats if you think are good americans who you look to and say you know what? that is someone who deserves a kind word and deserves defense. guest go it is interesting he just announced his retirement. joe lieberman just announced his retirement in washington d.c.. it is interesting, i miss the old guys, a hubert humphrey's. where are those guys today? they were tremendous. i will tell you, it has gotten so embattled in washington and i said this the other day on a
talkshow. washington is starting to sound like a radio talk show, and i don't think that -- it doesn't do it well. it doesn't play well. talk radio is good for talk radio but washington needs to be what washington does, the laws, the debate and what have you. i think washington when it starts talking with -- sounding like talk radio you don't really get to see the person and admire the person and what he is truly trying to do because everybody's trying to make their point. as i said earlier speak in sound bites. you don't get to hear the person because of the sound bites. so where's the breadth and where is the depth? >> host: you spent much of your life working in talk radio and one of the points made in the book is people will say something incendiary as to draw ratings. do you feel there is a growing group of political figures who
play politics by talk radio rules and they are trying to shock and get money from people as a result? >> guest: i think that absolutely goes on. i think for my side of the equation, you know you need to expand. if you want to be elected the need to be bigger than talk radio, bigger than fox and expand outside of all of those things. and be able to have the voice that is going to reach many. if you want to reach the reagan democrats they are out there. that is what you are going to have to do. you have to find the area of agreement with them. is it going to be on talk radio or what have you? it is like right now the debate going on with the raising of the debt limit. you know, it is probably going to have to be raised that you are in a position to really negotiate. ronald reagan would have used could have used this as a great arena to negotiate the spending cuts and get those spending cuts
in with the raising of the debt ceiling. if you raise the debt ceiling that is that, we are going home and picking up our marbles and leaving. wait a minute that is not the way washington works. >> host: it is not all or nothing. one of the lines you have in the book is is the influence of talk radio and you make the point that maybe there are political leaders that don't have political responsibility and you say glenn beck is not running for president. he is running for the bank. rush limbaugh's running to the bank. talk a little bit about that. >> guest: i was on a show the other night. here is the book. that is the only party part he pulled on me. issa gee thanks. put it in context. the context is the fact is right now there are no leaders. there's not a leader of the conservative movement. there is no leader of the republicans. so you have people who are looking for that leader and what happens is they listen to rush and they listen to sean and they
listen to glenn. they listen to talk radio. that is the voice because they have no other voice. and my process is, don't look down to run for office because the reality is if everybody listens to rush, voted for rush he would still only lose by 40 or 50 million votes because you have this whole other group out here who just don't like them. he understands that he puts on a show. and so they are running but they are running to the bank. you need to find someone who is actually running for office and get behind that person that infects is running for office and support them. another thing we do, we seem to have this tendency who is running for governor and who is running for governor and who was running for president? what about schools? what about mayors? what about super fibers -- supervisors? the democrats up and been so smarter for years because they said have your president, have your governor. we are going to own every city in every state across the
country. look at california. we had a republican governor. that did well for us. every other position in government in california is owned by the democratic hardy. of the governor can do is veto the bill or signed the bill. what happens is everybody blames them. the reality of that is why do you elect new leaders at the state-level? we need to start building the party this way and that is what ronald reagan believed in what he built grassroots to set for your periods. he helped people grassroots electing mayors and local members of congress so when he went out in 1980 he already had her put together. >> host: building the party through the politics of -- not through division. casco i'm talking about colin powell. you don't kicks colin powell out of the party. you say when the world did you vote for barack obama? what was it that make you vote
for barack obama? something must have bush do in that direction. i mean the fact is if you were used like he was used in front of the united nations to get a war going you would a little tip off. you wouldn't be saying i am beholden to that operation. i would say why? what can we do to change, to make sure you are in the tent and i made the point in the book. my dad never ever ever got involved in a primary. he believed to get involved in it primary 50% of the people aren't going to like you but i thought to myself he would love colin powell and colin powell of tim. i said my father was ever going to endorse a primary for someone to run for president the only man i know that he would have endorsed for the presidency would have been colin powell. >> host: yet when colin powell thought about running he came under fire from the right. >> guest: he did didn't did and told alliance. he didn't call the lines.
but what happens is sometimes we don't look at the depth of a person. local colin powell is doing with with -- when nobody's looking. look what he is doing for young kids in the inner city, him and others in washington d.c. and other places. here's a guy who is committed. he is not living off of fame. this man is using his celebrity but not patting himself on the bed. the great thing about colin powell come the same with ronald reagan. it was never about i. it was about we and what can we do together. but neither one would pat themselves on the back. they don't go look what i did. they do it quietly behind the scenes in my dad did many things quietly behind-the-scenes. so i think the message you are saying is right now there is a lot of party purges in the republican party what they called rhino, republican in name only and often it is done in the name of your father in a way.
but what you are saying if i'm hearing you correctly as the republican party would be rebuilding in states like ella forney should be reaching out. even the figures that don't fit the litmus test. that is actually more consistent with their father's beliefs and identity. >> guest: of the reality is in california and i said this to someone who came up to me and said, paint across -- and said to the person i can't vote for your candidate because she is pro-choice. and i looked up and i said do you think that is the problem in california? i mean we are 12.4% unemployment. we are in the tank here. the issue is jobs, unemployment. that is the issue. we want somebody who in fact is going to bring those jobs back. that is the issue. and what happens is we get caught up in a social issue and they say i'm not going to vote for use so now what do we have? look at jerry brown for the third time in the state of
california. that was a better deal. i'm not going to vote for you because you are pro-choice and i'm going with jerry brown. really? that works out well. and sometimes you just shake your head at these things that absolutely go on. i think we need to really stand back and look at ourselves and go, what are we doing to ourselves? what are we doing to ourselves to purge people who may be great? there is a young -- firestone vineyards. firestone whenever my father had a fund-raiser, when he was running for president of the united statesunited states, he would always call the firestone. would you put on a fund-raiser? they would, whatever you need. they put on a fund-raiser in raise a lot of money for my dad and all these things. one day firestone says i want to run for office. we can't support you because you agree with us on everything we want. but you liked his money. so, come on.
what is the deal here? we want to use you and then we want to throw you out. throwing out is not going to get the party going. we won the last election because of -- we were able to demonize harry reid, nancy pelosi and barack obama. it wasn't too hard to do but if you want to win the presidency you have to leave. you have to say this is what i'm going to do. people say barack obama will bring us another ronald reagan. really? but we had ronald reagan when jimmy carter was president. he was there. where is he today? and the problem is if you are looking for ronald reagan you may very well walk past the next great leader of this movement and by trying to find ronald reagan and all the candidates you will end up having them fail because none of them will add up or match up. >> host: final question, looking through 2012 it is remarkable. 2011, 30 years ago almost to the day of other was inaugurated president of the united states.
that are stern was rough. there was high unemployment and his approval ratings were in the low 40s at time and yet he rebounded to win 49 states. still a victory which i think boggles the mind. he did that as you say -- >> guest: again what the 50th state was? we lost minnesota. he said i didn't go to minnesota. he said, see? >> host: did he take that personally? >> guest: that asterix aside, he has his own theories about minnesota. he won 49 states and a time when republican registration was lower than it was today. by appealing to to brag break into my and appealing to independents and it is the politics of -- not division and came from a rough first term. lessons do you think that any candidate should take from your father success in 1984, going into that election with a rough economy. a lot of frustration and then
being able to win that crossover appeal so decisively that he wins virtually unanimously in terms of these electoral -- >> guest: a great sense of humor, that helps. but you know, it is having people believe in you. people believe that ronald reagan. today we don't believe in our politicians. they tell us one thing on tuesday and another thing on wednesday. they can't keep track of where they were on tuesday or wednesday. ronald reagan was consistent. if anything in to be consistent up where you are, who you are and what you want to do. you can do it meg wittman did in california run one set of ads in the hispanic community and another set of ads and the other communities and say oh how did they find out i did that? you have got to really be consistent and what we are missing in politics today is that consistency. i can talk to young people today who were born in 1990s and you
give me about a week -- and they will be consistent because he was so consistent. you've really knew where he was coming from and you knew his heart and he had such a wonderful wonderful heart. the story i tell them there but the secret service agent. i walk in the room and the secret service agent is hand-feeding my dad. he is deep into alzheimer's and i walk in and the secret service agent said let me get out of the way. the secret service -- secret service agent grabs his hand and kisses it. who does that? or in 76 when he is campaigning in south carolina. he goes into a trailer to talk to children who live come to listen to his speech, the school for the blind. we have these young kids and they asked him to spend some time for them.
he wanted to do it out of the glare of lights because he didn't want people to think he was doing it for press. b-spline chilling are asking questions and all of a sudden he goes, these kids can't see me. they can only hear me. how do they see? he steps over and he leans his face down amongst these children and invites them to lay their hands on his face so they can now see and hear him answer the questions. who does that, unless it is here? and people who voted for ronald reagan felt it, that the man was speaking from here and that is what we need to get back to. people who speak from here, not through the latest polling but from here. >> host: michael reagan thank you for wonderful new book on the 100th andrew -- anniversary of your father's birth, "the new reagan revolution." guest:thank you.