PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Author HW Brands, in discussing his new book, Reagan: The Life contends that Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era of politics in America, one that still survives today.

Brands told Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that Reagan changed the nation’s entire perspective on the federal government.

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“Before Reagan became President, for the half-century before then, we lived in, what I call, the age of Franklin Roosevelt. It was a liberal era when people looked at social problems and said government is the agency that ought to solve those problems. Reagan came along and said in his inaugural address government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem itself. That’s the attitude that has characterized American politics ever since. In that regard, we still live in the age of Reagan.”



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However, he insisted that Reagan was much more focused on policy achievements than ideological purity.

“People remember Reagan as this speaker, this orator of Republican conservative consistency. In Reagan’s speeches, he was 100 percent conservative, 100 percent of the time. But Reagan as the actual President, the one who was governing the country was much more of pragmatist than he’s often given credit for being. Reagan used to say that he would rather get 80 percent of what he wanted than go over the cliff with his flag flying. Reagan understood the point of getting elected was to govern and not simply make speeches and make points.”

Brands also noted how powerful of a role as an advocate for the President his wife played.

“Nancy Reagan had an agenda, but it wasn’t a political agenda. It was a personal agenda and the personal agenda was the success of her husband. If you had asked Nancy Reagan what her position on the top marginal tax rate was, she wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer. But she was very protective of her husband. She was very much on the look out for people who might do him harm. She was a force in the White House and a lot of people who worked in the White House didn’t like that force. She was the one who was on the lookout to make sure that he had the greatest chance of success.

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