Jeb Bush: Reagan wouldn't fit in today's GOP
June 11th, 2012
10:34 AM ET
6 years ago

Jeb Bush: Reagan wouldn't fit in today's GOP

(CNN) – One of the GOP's leading voices said Monday that former President Ronald Reagan, considered an idol among Republican politicians, would struggle to mesh with today's hyper-partisan attitude among some elected officials.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking to editors at Bloomberg, also said his father, former President George H.W. Bush, would have trouble fitting in with today's Republican Party.

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"Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad – they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party – and I don't – as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement, doesn't allow for finding some common ground," Bush said, according to the website Buzzfeed.

The remarks were nearly immediately highlighted by President Barack Obama's re-election team, which emailed the comments to a press distribution list. Obama's team has itself struggled in recent weeks with off-message comments from campaign surrogates, including former President Bill Clinton and Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker.

Jeb Bush said an attitude of bipartisanship existed during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

"Back to my dad's time and Ronald Reagan's time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support," Bush said, according to Buzzfeed.

Today's White House and Congress don't reflect the same attitude, Bush said, placing much of the blame on Obama.

"His first year could have been a year of enormous accomplishment had he focused on things where there was more common ground," Bush said.

Last week Bush made headlines when he broke with many in his party on taxes, saying he favored slight tax increases in return for large cuts in spending.

When pressed in the hearing, Bush said he also disagreed with popular pledges authored by Washington anti-tax heavyweight Grover Norquist and his group, Americans for Tax Reform.

"I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor," Bush said.

Also see:

Axelrod weighs in on Obama's private sector comments

Romney video goes after Obama's comments on economy

Daniels, Walker want Romney to go bold

McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility

Filed under: George H.W. Bush • Jeb Bush • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. WachetAuf

    Some asked a critical question. When was the last time we had a true "conservative" in the White House? Who will impose the policies now espoused by the radical right idealogues who now lead the GOP? Not Eisenhower. Not Nixon. Not Ford. Not Reagan. Not Bush I. Not Bush II? I have not studied it but maybe among these: Harding, Hoover and Coolidge all who served during the "roaring twenties" when the wealthy got even more wealthy leaving behind the middle classes and the poor. But, whether these presidents were conservative idealogues or not, their policies led us to the Great Depression. Similar to what the GOP is now proposing? If the GOP now takes control, as it seems to be doing, will it take another World War to get us out of it? Will another Democratic president be forced to drop another nuclear bomb? two, three or more, to try to save American lives and end a war which possibly cannot ber wion by anyone?

    June 11, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. MLL

    Jeb is correct. There are some of us who still remember Reagan bailing out the auto industry, raising necessary taxes, working with Congress, and signing legislation that allowed abortiion in California. Notice you do not hear much about him from the religious conservative, tea party right. Reagan would have to run as a democrat today.

    June 11, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. louise

    I always knew he was the smartest in the BUSH family.....

    June 11, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. wow o wow

    Finally a Bush who doesn't seem to be a puppet. It isn't a big surprise to anyone that his daddy or Reagan would be laughed out of the party today. Todays Republican party has been hijacked by small group of terrorist (tea party) and are afraid to stand up to the small group. It is about time they realized the destruction the tea party is planning on the United States... and in honor of the victims of flight 93... say..."Let's Roll."

    June 11, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. DDanny1

    If a politician questioned the intelligence used to justify invading Iraq you were a coward or terrorist lover. Before that, the Republicans went after Clinton for an affair in office, despite the fact that any Presidential historian will tell you there is ample evidence that well over HALF of U.S. Presidents from both parties fooled around while in office (google Sally Fairfax, Sally Hemmings, Kay Summersby, Lucia Calhoun, Helen Douglas, Alice Glass, Lucy Mercer, Nan Britton, and due to character limit I'm not going to even touch on JFK). You have Karl Rove who once turned a opposing candidate who grew up as an orphan, and started a charity to help others like himself a pedophile. Now you have the Tea Party candidate who beat Lugar going on FOX the day after the election saying "My idea of Compromise is the other side taking up the Conservative way of doing things" and McConnell's comment "The FIRST duty of myself and every conservative in the country should be to insure Barack Obama becomes a one term president". And you have politicians like Newt Gingrich questioning EVERY ONE ELSE'S MORALITY while claiming his many, many trips to the darkside have been excused because he has "asked forgiveness" usually just before taking another journey.
    Proof positive that bipartisanship can be laid at the feet of Conservatives is the FACT that a DEMOCRAT COULD NOT ME ELECTED IF HE SAID HE WOULD REFUSE TO COMPROMISE.

    June 11, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. jocko

    Is it possible? A Bush being right about something?

    June 11, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Romney is a lier. Somebody better call his mama. Just say it as it is the gopt sucks.

    June 11, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Observer91

    I'm not a fan of any politician, current or former, with the last name of Bush, but Jeb makes an important point. And it's not only Reagan, but Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln, Eisenhower and even Nixon who would be very disappointed in their party. Democrats have the same problem too, but it seems like it's to a much lesser extent than today's Republicans. I don't think they even want to work with President Obama, and instead just want him to "disappear" (but "roll over and die" would fit their mentality better). This may end up being the secret ingredient that will ultimately make their demise, or at least a change in the way they opperate within out government. It's about time.

    June 11, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Rudy NYC - The choices in this election are clear: Hope and Change vs. Hopelessly Deranged.
    Rudy, that was what the American people voted for and what they received in 2008 with Obama. You honestly expect to try and sell this snake oil again this year??? You really do think the American people are complete fools.

    June 11, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    WachetAuf wrote:

    ....Reagan gave the radical idealogues in his party the license to do what they have now accomplished. While he may not have been an idealogue himself, he was trapped. ...................
    Reagan was not trapped. Reagan was the hero because he came up with iron clad excuse for tax cuts. Reagan was a hero because he united the diverse elements on the right, which was put on display during the primary season. Finally, Reagan was a hero because he assimillated the southern christian democrats who disliked the Civil Rights Act. This group was known as Reagan Democrats, but today they are called Christian Conservatives.

    Reagan was as ideological as they came. He was a divisive public figure and proud of it. He was notorious for his merciless policies while Gov. of CA. You know, the Black Panther Party was born in California for one reason. Reagan.

    June 11, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Indy

    If Reagan was alive and well he would line up Boehner and McConnell and have a slap a thon with the two that vowed to take America down and blame it on Obama. Boehner would have no tan left and the slap to McConnell"s face would forever be known as "the slap heard around the world"

    June 11, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Ol' Lefty

    Agree w/ Jeb about Reagan (and other former GOP Presidents). But don't blame Obama, he's bent over backwards to reach accomadation w/ them. My fault w/ the President is that it took him too long to realize you can't compromise w/ loons.

    June 11, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. griffbos

    I find it funny so many are attacking Jeb with in the party, I have liked Jeb for sometime, he is smarter than his father and brother and would have made a great President, but it seems the writting is on the wall he will never make it as a republican, maybe he should launch an independent run.........

    June 11, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. griffbos

    I like Jeb , much brighter than his father and brother, would make a great President, but from the attacks from with in his own party onthis bporad looks lik ethat will never happen, maybe he should launch an independent run, would be much better than the two whe have to choose between a republican no way I caqn bring myself to vote for out of touch Romney

    June 11, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    So....i guess Jeb will be leaving the party, then? Wait – he's not? Didn't think so either. Business as usual from the GOP.

    June 11, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. PJ

    That's pretty much the case. Reagan was a Conservative and to the Right of the politcal spectrum. Today's GOP is Fascist and wants to burn orphans, Jews and the poor.

    June 11, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Squealy

    He is right. When a republican tells you the party is too conservative, that is just further proof that the current polarization is being caused by the right's move to the ultra right, and NOT each party moving further from center. This whole "Obama is such a socialist radical" is ridiculous.

    June 11, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Mary

    I like Jeb Bush. He seems to be smarter than his brother and won't be a push-over like GW. As an independent, I would consider Jeb Bush as a viable candidate but not Romney who does not seem to have clue to the issues the middle class and porr face. Romney will be a proxy president for the conservatives like GW.

    June 11, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. The Truth

    So why couldn't the Democrats get anything done when they controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010? Every Republican could vote no and bills could still pass easily if all the Democrats voted yes.

    Wait does this mean many Democrats voted no, against their own party? But, but, but the Republicans, its their fault, they are the party of no.

    Even though Republicans do have issues and need to move away from the extreme stances, Democrats have proven to be the bigger party of no. Nothing spells teamwork better then the President telling the Congressional minority leaders in their first official meeting that his party won. Yep, nothing puts people into teamwork or into a compromising mood then someone demanding they fall into lock step with what he wants to do.

    Fun fact for the day, more Democrats this year have voted for Republican budget proposals then Democrats have voted for the President's proposal. Total votes for the President's budget proposl this year 0 in the House, 0 in the Senate and yes there was a vote in each house on it.

    June 11, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Romney is not My Hero

    Jeb-yah is making too much sense. I command DNA proof that he's related to George "Double Duh" Bush.

    June 11, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. DCBuck

    Jeb is totally right on this. To paraphrase Reagan, I did not leave the Republican party; it left me.

    June 11, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. paul

    Translation: "I'm running in 2016"

    June 11, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. grive

    i think hell just froze over, cause i thought i would ever agree with a bush

    June 11, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Jake

    DUH!! Of course Reagan wouldn't win the GOP nomination if he ran today. By today's Republican standards Reagan would be a liberal. When Reagan was around politicians actually fought based on subtance influenced by idiological perspectives, but not dependent on it. Today the younger politicians fight over idiological perspectives as though the ideology in of itself is the substance. Everybody is busy as hell worrying about winning, because winning validates your ideology and thus validates your existence.

    June 11, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. carly

    I guess the right wing nuts can't handle the truth.

    June 11, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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