Bummer. I didn’t really mean that. It did make a catch title though. Ron Reagan Jr. has always been the rebel son. He always followed the beat of his own drummer. As a younger man, he dropped out of college and joined the Joffrey Ballet. He eloped and has been married to the same woman for 30 years. At one point, he appeared on SNL in his skivvies in a skit. In 2004, Reagan spoke at the Democratic Convention on behalf of stem cell research. He supported Barack Obama for president. He has not been the model of conservatism–not by any stretch.
Ron Reagan Jr. is embroiled in quite a battle over his new book, My Father at 100. Who could he possibly be at odds with? His half brother Michael, adopted son of Jane Wyman and Ronald Reagan, has taken great issue with several comments Ron made in his book regarding his father’s Alzheimer’s. Michael Reagan, age 65, is a conservative commentator with a national reputation.
Young Reagan relates that when his father was in the White House, he was concerned about little things. He actually reports that he shadowed his dad and noticed some very subtle changes; changes only family members might pick up on. He now feels that might have been the beginning of the disease that took his father’s life.
Michael Reagan has taken great exception to this point of view and responded accordingly via twitter:
“Ron, my brother, was an embarrassment to my father when he was alive and today he became an embarrassment to his mother,”
It might be interesting to note that the 2 Reagan brothers do not share the same mother. Ron Reagan Jr. is Nancy Reagan’s son. Furthermore, what a mean, nasty thing to say publically about anyone, especially a family member.
According the The Daily Beast:
Ron, who is 52, says he was blissfully ignorant of Mike’s broadsides until he heard about them from Nancy Reagan.
“I didn’t watch any TV over the weekend, so I was behind on all this Mike tweeting stuff,” says Ron, himself a non-tweeter. “So I called to speak to her and she was concerned. ‘Are you all right?’ And I was kinda like, ‘Yeah. Why?’ And she said, ‘Mike just said these awful, mean things.’ ‘What did he say?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know. I’m not even going to tell you.’”
Ron adds: “When I realized what was going on, I called her back and said, ‘They’re going to ask me what you think about the book. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so you gotta tell me what I should say.’ “
The former first lady’s review, according to her son: “I’ve read it, I loved it, it made me cry, and I’m very proud of you.”
The Daily Beast further reports:
Ron adds: “People talk about this feud between Mike and me. It’s kind of a one-sided feud. I have no interest in it. He’s the one that started it, and he seems to be keeping it going.” (Indeed, on Thursday, after Ron had clarified but didn’t back away from what he wrote in his book about Alzheimer’s, Mike addressed the controversy again, tweeting: “I accept my brothers explantion for his getting the facts wrong and appologize for my harshness.”
Many people who worked with President Reagan in the 80’s do not feel he showed any signs of Alzheimers. Ron is glad:
“I’m gratified to hear people saying that they didn’t see any signs of dementia when he was in office, too. I didn’t see that either. I only noticed things occasionally that only someone intimately familiar would know. I’ve likened it to watching TV and the picture momentarily goes slightly out of focus and then snaps back. You did wonder what that was, but I can’t say those were signs of Alzheimer’s. He was a man in his mid-70s. You’re slowing down in various ways. He was losing his hearing. He’d been shot and nearly killed. That’ll stop you a little bit.”
Meanwhile, Ron Reagan Jr. says he should probably send his brother a thank you note since the controversy has boosted book sales immensely.