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.  

31 Thoughts to “The Rebel Son and the Half-Blood Prince”

  1. Lafayette

    I was couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Michael say this about Ron Jr.. I was so absolutely disgusted. Is Michael Mrs. Reagan’s spokesperson? I don’t believe Micheal’s word. I would have to hear that embarrassment statement from her and only her to believe it.

    I’ve lived with three family members with Alzheimers(two grandmothers and my dad) as their caregiver. I’ve seen numerous great aunts and uncles suffer from this dreadful disease too. One thing that’s very important to know is in the early stages, the patient is very smart about hiding certain signs of the disease. In the instance of my dad he was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2000, and by mid 2004 he’d passed away. After we had some time to really think about things, we realized that the early signs were there starting in late 1993. You are too busy taking care of your loved one to really think about when did this begin. Once my dad had passed away, we had time to really sit down and think about it all. We came to the conclusion that signs were there many years before. I will add there’s a big element of denial on the healthy family members and friends.

    I’m not one to read books, but this is one book I do indeed plan on purchasing. Michael’s asinine comment is what indeed SOLD me on the book.

  2. Michael Reagan continues to be a mean vindictive type person. Nancy Reagan said no such thing. In fact, she is who told Ron about Michael’s nastiness. It is all outlined in the body of the post..

    I will never forget that guest appearance on SNL. Ron also does some of the dog shows.

  3. Emma

    You lob public broadsides against your family–and then apologize-via Twitter? Doesn’t anyone just talk face-to-face anymore?

  4. Lafayette

    Emma :You lob public broadsides against your family–and then apologize-via Twitter? Doesn’t anyone just talk face-to-face anymore?

    No, they don’t!! I did see a friend of mine this week that I bet about four years, and am in constant contact with electronically. We both laughed that we’d be seeing each other face-to-face.

  5. Lafayette

    oops. *met* about…

  6. Emma

    I plan to read the book, too.

  7. Emma, I don’t think Ron and Michael have much to do with each other. Check out the link in that post. He addresses it even though I didn’t put it in the post.

    I really think Michael was out of line speaking for Ron’s mother. He just isn’t in the position to do that. The father …maybe, although it was mean–but not for Nancy.

    I plan on reading it also.

  8. George S. Harris

    Not only do they not share the same mother, they don’t share the same father.

  9. George S. Harris

    Lafayette’s comments regarding the early signs of dementia are right on. But you have to really look for them–most often you don’t recognize them until it is way too late. My father spent many years of his life working with number (he was an bookkeeper and then an auditor for a small fright hauling line in Oklahoma). One of the earliest signs that he was having problems was one day when he and my step-mom were driving on the Oklahoma Turnpike. They came to a toll booth and my father did not know how to come up with the right amount of change for the toll. BINGO! But that was perhaps three years before he was diagnosed. He spent the last five years of his life in a nursing home and most of that he was lightly restrained because he would not stay put. Caring for these patients 25 years ago was not as sophisticated as it is today. Now they have personal alarms, door alarms and wards euphemistically known as “Memory Units”, combination door locks, etc. Was Reagan in the early stages of Alzheimer’s? More than likely he was. But with efforts to “canonize” him, it will be hard to make people see that.

  10. Lafayette

    Well said, George. My dad had always worked with numbers, drove all over the east coast and could remember everyone he mets name. The first sign we saw was is inability to keep up with the checkbook and the next was the balancing. Little fender benders, getting lost, and locking the keys in the car are other first warning signs.
    My dad was combative, cursed, and prone to go MIA and this makes it very tough. The senior day care center for example was not an option because of this behaviour. Nursing homes are very expensive and you do have to monitor the care being given to your loved one. My dad was restrained numerous times at Annaburg Manor, but he could get out of the jackets and other restriants as if he were Houdini himself.

    Today in PWC, thanks to the Sheriff’s Dept. we have Project Lifesaver . I wish they’d had this when my dad was alive, he went MIA numerous times. For more information see link below.

  11. I downloaded the ibook teaser. Excellent book, written in very much young Ron style. He wonders the same things I wondered about my parents and grandparents, from a non political point of view.

  12. George S. Harris

    Life can be a real bitch. First, Mother Nature steals your eyesight so you can’t see your wrinkles but also you can’t see the hairs growing out of your ears and nose!! Next she stiffens your joints and strips you of your strength so that you waddle down the street like a frozen footed rooster–my mother used to use this expression and I always wondered what it meant–as each day goes by I’m gaining new insight into the things she said. Lastly, she slowly steals your mind so that those you have loved for decades become total strangers. It makes one wonder if living longer is necessarily a good thing.

  13. George S. Harris

    I have a neighbor whose husband is in the very early stages of some form of dementia–gets lost on trips, etc. and she is at a loss as to what to do. All you can do is point folks in a direction–the decisions to be made are most difficult.

  14. Longevity isn’t necessarily all it is cracked up to be.

  15. George S. Harris

    Getting older, or more specifically elderly, is not for the faint of heart. 😉

  16. punchak

    Today “CBS Sunday Morning” had a section about Barry Petersen’s book describing his wife’s (Jan Chorlton) early onset of Alzheimer’s and its progression. It was truly both beautiful and heartbreaking.
    One scene especially where Barry visits her and she tells him that her husband is away but how much she loves and misses him, not knowing that she’s actually talking to her husband. Yes, I cried.

  17. That disease is a good argument for euthansia via Netherlands style. I would just want to go get that puppy shot and go off to dream land.

  18. punchak

    Problem is, Moon, Jan seemed very happy in her own world!

    Maybe in “dream land”?

    1. @punchak,

      Well, maybe when it stopped being fun. Some people are very miserable.

  19. Lafayette

    Moon-howler :@punchak,
    Well, maybe when it stopped being fun. Some people are very miserable.

    Some are very miserable and are fully aware that they are not what the used to be mentally. My dad agonized over not be able to remember some of the most common things in his life. I personally, think I’d be asking for Dr K to pay me a visit.

  20. Wolverine

    Lafayette, I believe that a problem which developed in the Netherlands was the proposition that someone else could gain the authority to ask Dr. K to pay you a visit, whether you wanted one or not.

  21. Some people aren’t able to communicate that they want the end of the line. Dr. Kavorkian didn’t just show up at your house. I think he was a brave man.

    Seriously, this is just one more decision that should be a personal decision and not the government’s.

  22. Lafayette

    It was Moon that mentioned the Netherlands, not I. Like I said I would call myself. I also, would have an advance directive, living will, my wishes known to family and my doctor. I have no desire to live with no quality of life and/or be burden to others. Alzheimers is the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t wish it anyone or their family members.

    1. Totally agree with Lafayette.

  23. Lafayette

    Another thing, I would NOT want Del. Bob holding a vigil fighting MY choice to die with dignity and peacfullly. I wouldn’t want my family to have be drug into court for my wishes to be honored. This has been done in before in the City of Manassas at Anaburg Manor by the delegate for parts of Loudoun & PW.

  24. Absolutely not. Keep him away from me.

  25. Lafayette

    I thought you might agree. We can never forget what Hugh Finn’s family had to go through because Del. Bob.

  26. That has been about 20 years ago. Did his parents call in Delegate Bob?

  27. Lafayette

    Not 20 yet. Here’s an interesting article after all was said and done. Del Bob didn’t like Michele Finn wanting her legal fees recovered from the state. Geesh….

  28. It sure seems like 20, but I see that you are correct.

  29. Rick Bentley

    Michael Reagan’s been a d****bag for a long time.

    Not sure I have a high opinion of Ron Jr. either, he strikes me as a self-promoter.

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