Nancy Reagan nixs son Michael’s U.S. Senate hopes

Conservative chateratti and internet sites have recently been abuzz with the possibility of Ronald Reagan’s oldest son Michael running for the U.S. Senate against Diane Feinstein next year.  That will never happen and here’s why – Nancy Reagan would publicly oppose Michael if he ran.

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While you’re reaching for the smelling salts or adult beverage let me assure you that I have this information from exceptionally reliable sources.  I spoke to someone possessing a rock-solid long history with members of the family and 24-karat GOP political and Reaganite connections.  This source spoke to someone exceptionally close to Nancy, someone with essentially unlimited access to her.  The message was loud and clear – Nancy was horrified at the thought of Michael running for U.S. Senate and would “do anything she could” to derail that prospect, even endorse another candidate.

The animosity does not surprise anyone familiar with the long-standing non-relationship between Mrs. Reagan and Michael, her husband’s adopted son, however Nancy’s willingness to go public with her opposition is something of a stunner. Whatever else one might say about Nancy, her number one concern is her husband’s legacy.  That she doesn’t think having her husband’s son in the United States Senate would contribute to that legacy says quite a bit about myriad familial topics.

Before conservatives get too irate with her, they might ask themselves a few questions:  what has Michael really done to preserve his father’s legacy?  Michael is heir to a name that is magic in conservative and Republican circles – a name still warmly remembered by the vast majority of American voters.  What has Michael done with that inheritance?  Where is the political infrastructure to preserve his father’s “banner of bright, bold colors”.  Where is the 527 or post-“Citizens United” “superpac” to boost conservative candidates around the country?  I don’t know the answer to those questions…but the fact that the answers do not leap to the forefront ought to soften umbrage that conservatives might otherwise feel toward Nancy.  And it might even explain some of Nancy’s concerns about Michael.

Rather than trying to read the pigeon entrails of Reagan inter-familial relations however, Nancy’s decision raises a more important topic for California Republicans – who WILL oppose Senator-for-life Feinstein in 2012?  I have two modest suggestions – Dennis Prager or Jim Rogan.

Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host – articulate, conservative and Jewish.  He is “Reaganesque” in this sense – he can present hard core conservative beliefs is easily understandable and completely non-threatening sound bites.  He would start with at least some name I.D., most particularly in the vital Southern California media markets. He talks for a living, so assuming DiFi’s handlers were actually able to prop her up long enough to participate in a debate, Prager would rip the bark off her.

Former Congressman, now Judge, Jim Rogan would enter the race with instant GOP celebrity status. While Prager is well known in Southern California, Rogan is well known to a broad network of Republican donors and activists nationally who remember that Bill and Hillary Clinton made Rogan’s defeat their number one objective for the 2000 election. (For the memory-challenged, Rogan served as one of the House managers of the Clinton documents of impeachment). Additionally, my source told me that Mrs. Reagan declared that she would be enthusiastic about a Rogan candidacy and a likely pre-primary endorser.

Rogan raised seven million dollars for his 2000 re-election, and while it was all for naught that number is an indication of his national fund-raising potential. He shares with Prager an ability to discuss hard core conservative positions in ways that are not the least bit threatening or off-putting.  He also shares with Prager the problem of needing to earn a living – neither are independently wealthy, and both would have to quit their day-jobs upon announcing for the Senate.

That could be overcome with “consulting” jobs if the GOP national money-machine was convinced that either had a real shot to capture this Senate seat. I believe that either of them could, but one of them is going to have to take a first baby step in that direction, or their friends will have to do it for them, and there is little time to spare before filing starts for 2012.

Perhaps unfortunately for her peaceful retirement, even into her 90s, Nancy Reagan’s still powerful presence on the national scene remains in the news, even in odd ways.  Just a week or two ago the New York Times published a story feed to them by one of Chris Christie’s cheesier New Jersey managers that she personally pleaded with him to run for President after he gave a speech at the Reagan Library on September 27.  The story was not true, and it took nationally syndicated columnist George Will, who is friendly with both Christie and Nancy Reagan, to root out the facts: Nancy likes Chris Christie, but she definitely did not plead with him to run for President and she laughed at the idea when Will asked her about it.

But while she has yet to say anything to the press about it, and at best it is currently good tabloid fodder and cocktail chatter, Nancy Reagan really, really doesn’t want Michael in the Senate.  So fans of Dennis Prager and Jim Rogan – start your engines!



  1. Ronald Reagan was the best President of my lifetime. Sadly he was surrounded by squishy Country Club RINO’s like Bush Sr and Bill Bennett.

    Nancy is to blame. She never was what we would call a TEA Party type- she was more worried about what folks in the Palisades or Bel Air thought.

    If barely closeted homosexual Ron Jr ran on the Vegan Party ticket we can be sure Nancy and her astrologers would back him to the hilt.


  2. Suggest you do some research on Mike’s website .. and the Reagan Legacy work he has been doing and continues to do:

  3. Sounds like you got this information right from the horse’s mouth, who got straight from dog’s lips, who overheard it while the Elephant and the Donkey were arguing. Maybe you received this information form your Father’s Uncle’s Cousin’s Kid.
    How could anyone dispute this reliable information.

  4. Goldwater 4 Ever says

    Well…not being in the mood to slap around a 92 year old former first lady….I think the relevant points are 1) What HAS Mike done to keep the legacy alive…and 2) Would Prager or Rogan be stronger candidates?
    On #1 – – Saracino raises valid points – where IS the political operation to help conservative candidates? Where IS the operational infrastructure to keep the banner of bright, bold colors flying high? Mike should be head of a super-pac that dwarfs Karl Rove’s….THAT would be effective legacy building. On #2…either Prager or Rogan are much better suited – by temperament and ability – to be statewide candidates.

  5. Allen Brandstater says

    Independent of Bill Saracino’s sources, I can attest to the animosity Nancy Reagan (and often her husband) had for Michael. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I worked as executive assistant to Henry Salvatori, the principal figure and fundraiser for “Friends of Ronald Reagan” and a member of his kitchen cabinet going back to 1965 when they assembled the resources for Reagan’s campaign for Governor in 1966.

    More than once, Henry discussed with me the unfortunate and unpleasant relationship (if not disdain) that both Reagans held for Michael. I know Michael somewhat, and respect him for certain efforts he’s made for conservatism. But Mr. Saracino’s unnamed background and sources ring as true in 2011 as they did 40 years ago.

    Either Jim Rogan or Dr. Dennis Prager would make excellent senatorial candidates. Since I have known Jim well for 25 years, he’s my favorite. But he would have to surrender his judgeship. Canons of Judicial Ethics do not permit merely taking a “leave” to run for partisan office. That makes it problematic for Judge Rogan.

  6. Bill Saracino says

    Some folks are missing the point. This was not meant to be a bash-Michael column, nor one about Freudian parent/child interactions….but rather one that got conservatives thinking about who would be our strongest candidate against DiFi. Normally it wouldn’t matter – but next year could be the GOP wave of all time….and DiFi might not even run again…soooooo…..I want to trigger some discussion and thought about who the strongest conservative would be against her. Filing is in two months!

    • Bill I was never going to run for Senate and here are at least 3 reasons why!
      You could also call Reince Peibus and ask him about my help nationwide in last years election cycle,which continues to today!And my 26yrs in Radio the last 17 of which were syndicated!And the truth is untill we throw the consultants out the Reublican Party in calif.niether Dennis nor Jim could win.The Party is the problem!
      Do your homework!

      • Bill Saracino says


        As I said in my previous comment, this was not meant to be a anti – Michael piece, but rather a “hey – conservatives – don’t wait for a Mike Reagan Senate run, it’s not going to happen” piece. And since filling opens in two months, let’s get some serious discussion about who’s best to take on DiFi.”

        As to what you should or should not be doing – I guess my frustration – having always been a political action guy as opposed to a policy guy – is that you and other true-blue Reaganites (of which I count myself one, having been on the floor as a delegate at the Kansas City 1976 convention) – ought to be running the $100 million GOP “superpac” – not Karl Rove.

        Live long and prosper – and let’s keep the banner of bright, bold colors flying high. Cheers!

        P.S. Couldn’t agree more about the problem being the consultants…brings to mind Bill Buckley’s comment that he’d rather be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty. I think we might be better off having our campaigns run by the first 100 names on the CRA roster or YR roster.

        • Just like consultants are ruining the GOP in Calif.You have to ask yourself who profits from telling you such stories and why..I thought my relationship with Nancy was great…She has no idea where this story came from and neither do I..

    • EyesOpen007 says

      Since I haven’t lived in Cali in over forty years (I was there when Ron was Gov) I don’t know either Rogan or Prager. But if your descriptions of them are correct, then I would say that Rogan should be the one to run for Senate. From what you said, they seem to be roughly equally good at presenting the conservative viewpoint, but Rogan seems to be in a much better position to raise a bunch of cash. And even if next year should turn out to be “the GOP wave of all time” (I have my doubts) it will still take a boatload of money to beat “DiFi”. That is my “discussion and thought” on the subject, and I’m stickin’ to it!!

      BTW, I always felt bad for Ron because of his disfunctional family, it must have pained him terribly.

  7. She consulted the witches whilst Ron was alive
    ‘Twas Bel Air and Brentwood that preoccupied her
    She took us into, shall we say, a budgetary dive
    Now 16 Trillion – and counting – it goes by in a blur

    Her adopted son Michael, a stalwart among us,
    is forsaken for her blood, who’s a bit of a lamb
    doing pirouettes and tutus and lovely fluffiness…
    Alas, she’s left our country in yet another jam.

  8. Richard Poirier says

    Although Dennis Prager would probably be the better debater, Jim Rogan has actual political experience. The controlling question of who’s more likely to win may come down to the mood of California voters in 2012. Are they more inclined in the 2012 election season to desire legal and congressional experience or someone who earns a living in the private sector without an elected background? I’m not sure what the voters will want at this point yet. But the choice is analogous to the choice right now between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cane. Experience or an outsider?

  9. Mark Larson says

    Mike has been one of my best friends for more than 23 years… I know him like very few people do. I don’t believe there is anyone in the Reagan family who stands up more consistently for the Reagan legacy. For some people to spin things based on unnamed sources or how Mike may have been 40 years ago…well, that’s just uninformed ..and old, often distorted info. Yes, Mike had his challenges years ago, but he has transformed his life as noted in his book “On The Outside Looking In”. And note his Father’s reference to Mikes turnaround in the Reagan diaries. Also consider the agenda of people who may be using this “story” for their own agendas.

    As to Mrs Reagan, I want to believe she would support whoever is the GOP nominee after a her husband would have done.

  10. Mark Larson says

    BTW..I have great respect for my friends Dennis Prager and Jim Rogan… But that’s not the issue with this story….

  11. Meg or Carly are examples of the “Open Borders” TREASON Lobby and the results- another Gov. Brown type leftist ( assuming DiFi) fails to run .

    Mike Reagan would be a great candidate- BUT Nancy is a RINO and her (other; word deleted by editors) son is a liberal

  12. Mr Micheal Regan has his act together, Nancy is just Rons side kick. good for nancy, she is not political, she has sway over at least ten people. Mike should take it to the limit, after all he was raised by a profit.

  13. Nancy you are a dear. Let Ronald live through Mick. it’s important now that he carry this message your husband had so eloquently designed Ronald Regan was a man before his time We really need him now, he would never stand for this BS, he warned us against it. Let Mike carry the flag. This is important..

  14. Custer'sTwin says

    This is a wonderful article (by my favorite writer, Bill Saracino) because it makes the case for a real GOP challenger to the superannuated Ms. Feinstein. Jim Rogan would make a terrific U.S. Senator. He sprang from poverty and troubled family circumstances but overcame the odds to become an articulate, thoughtful conservative who relates well to blue-collar voters. I love Dennis Prager, too. Mr. Saracino is correct: Prager is an estimable debater and would reduce Feinstein in short order to the babbling dotard we know she truly is. We have two chances to take back this seat for conservatives. Which one of you will step up? Jim? Dennis? We are waiting.

  15. Even if the source concerning the Michael/Nancy relationship came forward immediately after having breakfast with both of them where the conversation took place, both would nevertheless deny the validity of such a story. But anyone who knows anything about our beloved former first lady’s behind the scenes handiwork would not find it unplausible. And one thing we can see, they don’t have breakfast together, or any other meals. Out of respect for all, I’ll leave it at that.

    However, it’s fair game to comment on a potential Micheal Reagan candidacy, and without question their relationship would draw speculation. Mike… we love ya. We understand.

    If Prager or Rogan could be enticed to run we’ll look back on this thought-provoking column and recall where the seed was planted.


  1. […] “It was something that was kind of unusual but families are families–they just are,” he said. “The Reagans always had that split. They always had that split because of Reagan and Jane Wyman and Reagan and Nancy. It just never went away.” […]

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