In connection with the release of his new book, “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative,” reviewed here, we interviewed Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College, Reagan biographer, and author of numerous books including the 2012 title ”The Communist” (published under our Mercury Ink imprint) and “God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life.”
Our correspondence with Professor Kengor comes in light of a renewed focus on Russia given the goings-on in the Ukraine, years of economic stagnation and hostile in-fighting between conservatives and Establishment Republicans, among other similarities with the era in which Reagan rose to the White House.
Below we cover these timely issues and more. The interview, conducted via email, has been slightly edited for formatting. And again, be sure to check out our review and cheat sheet if you missed them too.
Give us your elevator pitch for why TheBlaze audience should read another book on Reagan.
Kengor: Because this is a book on Reagan that’s crucial and timely and well worth their time—and it’s short. They will sincerely find great benefit in this one. I mean that.
We constantly hear Republicans of all stripes make the claim “I’m a Reagan conservative,” or, when asked which Republican they most identify with, they point to Reagan. But in fact, many to most are not Reagan conservatives at all. Many of them are liberal/progressive Republicans. So, what is a “Reagan conservative?”
I’m someone who has studied Reagan enough (some say more than anyone) that I felt I could and should and must take up the task of answering that question, especially during this battle within the GOP between genuine conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn and what Reagan would have called the “Rockefeller Republican” types. There are far more Reagan conservatives coming out of the Tea Party than from the so-called Establishment.
Thus, with the 2014 mid-terms coming up, and the crucial 2016 presidential nomination coming as well, this project to define what a Reagan conservative is struck me as imperative. I should add, too, that Reagan was such a model conservative, really the prototype, that this book defines not just Reagan conservatism but conservatism generally.
When I spoke on this book at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara last week, the executive director of the group, Andrew Coffin, said that this book is a kind of manifesto on conservatism.
So, I ask readers of The Blaze: What could be more needed right now as we engage in this battle for 2016? I think a short book carefully explaining Reagan conservatism and conservatism generally is one they should read.
Besides, because it’s a short book, it’s also very inexpensive—only something like $13 on Amazon. You can’t beat that. It’s cheap and quick but an enlightening read. You’ll benefit from this and will want to buy it for your friends, including your liberal friends.