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Ronald Reagan was the Tea Party

Published 10:42am Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Liberals and their Democratic Party allies are frightened out of their halfwits by the re-emergence of the dreaded tea party, which began in Boston Harbor in December 1773, when colonists dressed as Indians dumped shiploads of tea into the water, helping to set off what eventually became the American Revolution.

There’s nothing new about the liberal alarm over the tea party’s reappearance in American politics. The last time they confronted it was back in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, when my dad Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California and then for the presidency of the United States.

The left, as they always will, attacked him personally instead of dealing with the issues; he beat them each time, hands down.

Ronald Reagan was the personification of American exceptionalism. He understood that the concept of self-rule — a government of the people, by the people and for the people, as Lincoln put it — was the secret behind this nation’s astonishing progress from a loose confederation of almost-primitive states to becoming the mightiest nation in the world, all in a mere 200 years.

Ronald Reagan believed in the American people. Unlike today’s liberal elite he was convinced they have the wisdom to chart the nation’s future, and he insisted that the government get out of their way and allow them to chart their own futures and the future of the United States.

When people ask me if he would support the tea party movement I tell them he was the tea party of his time. He saw it as being as American as apple pie and he sought to serve it as pie a la mode.

He would have been astonished at the huge popularity of today’s tea parties — of the movement’s sudden emergence and power.

But then I doubt that in his worst nightmares he would have ever imagined that a massive power grab from the White House in a mere two years would reach down and attempt to inflict the president’s version of European socialism on every single American.

He took the presidency when it had been dangerously weakened by indecisive foreign and domestic policies and over the next eight years strengthened the nation’s economy and restored our reputation as a nation not to be trifled with.

He would have seen today’s tea party as the proper response to the threat to our individual liberties represented by such legislation as so-called Obamacare, which inserts the federal government between Americans and their medical-care providers.

He would have recognized the administration’s barely disguised attempts to introduce their version of Euro-socialism, and would have rallied the American people to oppose it with traditional American vigor.

And he would have been in the forefront of the tea party movement, urging it on and devoting every last ounce of his energy to its progress in restoring America to its rightful place as the head of the family of free nations.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. E-mail comments to

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