“My father crapped bigger ones than George Bush”
--Ron Reagan Jr., April 2003

Ronald Prescott Reagan does not plan to follow his father into politics, yet he is acutely aware of the prerogative he carries as his father’s namesake. While he has not systematically sought out public platform, when given the opportunity, he has been unafraid to speak his mind about George W. Bush.

There has been little doubt that Ron Jr, holds more liberal views than his father (his sister Patti also has a more left-leaning stance but their adopted brother Michael is decidedly conservative). Ron Jr. often questioned his father’s policies while his father held office, but those words have little in common with the condemnation he has expressed towards Bush and his administration.

On the 2000 election campaigns

During the 2000 Republican National Convention:
The big elephant sitting in the corner is that George W. Bush is simply unqualified for the job... What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?1

One might separate Reagan’s statements into sarcastic one-liners and those of careful coherence – something of which he felt Bush incapable.

Asked to comment on Bush’s temperament in an interview:
We reveal ourselves in small moments, and one of those small moments that didn't get nearly the play it should have was the Carla Faye Tucker incident. . . .When Bush was asked by the conservative journalist Tucker Carlson shortly {after the execution} what he thought Carla Faye Tucker might have said to him . . ., he put on a squeaky little voice and said, "Please don't kill me! Please don't kill me!" Now, it takes a special kind of guy to ridicule a woman he's just put to death. If that doesn't demonstrate a lack of gravitas, as well as a lack of dignity and self-respect, I don't know what does. . . . So--experience, aptitude, temperament: I think Bush falls short in all three.2

On Iraq and WMD

Now, what happens when you go in the Oval Office is you start living in a bubble, you know, you don’t read the paper anymore, you just listen to who you want to listen to. And we’re seeing that now. David Kay, for instance, comes out with a report and says Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction. What does George W. Bush say? ‘Well, I still think they had them.’ That’s not just spin. That’s dementia, you know3

Perhaps as a measure of frustration, Reagan’s comments tended increasingly toward his sarcasm and one-linerisms:

And the weapons of mass destruction? Whatever happened to them? I'm sure we'll find some, they're being flown in right now in a C-130.1

Comparing Reagan Sr. and Bush

Sure, he wasn't a technocrat like Clinton. But my father was a man -- that's the difference between him and Bush. To paraphrase Jack Palance, my father crapped bigger ones than George Bush.1

Reagan’s Funeral

Faced with his father’s death, Reagan Jr. was cast more fully before the public stage. Though he recognized that overtly political statements would be considered completely inappropriate, he managed to take a stab at the administration in his state funeral speech. In the midst of reflection on his childhood and his father’s character, he noted:
Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.4

This single paragraph most fully manifests Ron Jr.’s disgust for the Bush administration. Despite the risk of offense to his family and his filial image, in a sense, he swore against Bush on his father’s grave. Though the younger Reagan cannot be said to speak for his father, in the midst of a campaign by some conservatives to extend his father’s popularity to aid Bush’s reelection chances, it is doubtful that Ron will let his own impressions be overlooked.

1Talbot, David. "Reagan Blasts Bush". Salon.com. 14 April 2003. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/04/14/ron_reagan/
2Sischy, Ingrid. "Fighting to Keep America a Democracy Rather than a Monarchy". Interview Magazine. November 2000.

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