In an exclusive interview at CPAC, I asked about Ronald Reagan’s legacy and its relevance today. Shirley replied, “Reagan’s legacy is intellectual conservatism, a belief in the future, a belief in young Americans, and an optimistic outlook – all the things that he brought to the Republican Party which had been missing since the time of Teddy Roosevelt.”
Asked whether there are any leaders on the stage right now who could fill Reagan’s shoes, Shirley bluntly replied, “No.” He added, “Leaders like Ronald Reagan don’t grow on trees.”
But then he offered hope, saying, “in defense of the current crop of candidates, Ronald Reagan wasn’t Ronald Reagan before Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan.”
Shirley went on to explain, “by that I mean that very few saw his greatness before he was actually president and then afterwards. He was actually derided by the Eastern elites and by the Republican establishment and by the liberal media in the Sixties and the Seventies. It took time to understand Reagan’s greatness.”
Consequently, “in defense of the current crop of candidates, we can’t peer into the future, so I would say, if they stick to their principles, if they stick to their guns, they make their argument, they might succeed and make history, and, if they do, then they will also be seen in a different light.”
GOP is Dead
Shirley also provided a contrast between the Conservative Movement and the GOP, saying, “The Republican Party is, in many ways, dead as a political party.” He added, “It functions, but it’s on life support, because it really stands for nothing.”
Despite the stunning support for conservatism in the last election, the GOP leadership seems to lack the will to pursue its raison d’être. Perhaps it has lost its way because it has lost faith in Conservatism and in America. Or, perhaps, self-interest has simply steamrollered over national interests, the Constitution, and the will of the people.
Echoing Lincoln’s sentiments at the Republican State Convention prior to Lincoln’s election and the advent of the Civil War, Shirley noted that “The Republican Party has become a house divided against itself.” Those differences are stark and irreconcilable. That house is divided between the Establishment and the Conservative Movement.
Speaking of the Establishment, Shirley charged, “It is half corporate, which is basically corrupt, access-selling.” Lord Acton’s axiom has been proven correct yet again, this time in the heart of our nation’s capital. Power’s corrupting nature is most acutely experienced in arguably the most powerful city on earth.
Conservative Movement Thrives
In contrast to the Establishment, Shirley notes, with a Reaganesque optimism, that the populist-driven Conservative Movement is “where the energy and the intellectualism thrives today.” He concluded by saying, “The Conservative Movement in America, Reaganism in America, are doing just fine. It’s the Republican Party that’s just in trouble.”
[In recognition of his Reaganesque qualities, love of America, and devotion to the Constitution, BrotherWatch has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for President of the United States.]