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.

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

    Reagan is closed to Obama than anyone in the GOP

    June 11, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Northernstar

    It is true that the Tea Party has a remarkable amout of power and MONEY which is going to change everything. There is no clear leadership only the threat of losing your seat if you don't do what the Tea Party wants. This latest group to join Congress just followed the Tea Party line: shut the gov't down rather than compromise on taxes – no compromise. Only their way. It is beyond being childish; it is stup$d. Regean & the Speaker of the House (Tip O'Neal) did not agree on anything – other than NOTHING was more important than the success of the US. And they worked to find common ground to move the country forward. Unfortunately that is no longer the case.

    June 11, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. GwynniesPapa

    I was always confused by the far right comparing them selves to President Reagan. I always admired how he maintained his conservitive values while reaching common ground. I always thought Ronald Reagan rocognized that if you were in congress or the senate you were sent there by people who voted and therefore should be respected. Palin and othe teabaggers who want to emulate the man should develop some class and dignity. I always told my family and friends that I hardly ever agreed with Ronald Reagans politics but I always liked Ronald Reagan and his style I can not say that about many from ethier house of congress on either side of the ilse.. He was a great statesman and a great negotiator these right wing radicals could not shine his shoes yet the have come to act in a way that he would clearly disapprove of. You speak the truth Jeb Bush.

    June 11, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. cel

    Jeb is correct, Reagan was never a conservative, he was an actor, pushing the agenda, killing the only labor union that endorsed him(remember the FAA ir Traffic Controllers Union?) while raising taxesm approving abortion in California and spying on his fellow actors for the FBI while President of The Screen Actors Guild. He was a great actor.

    June 11, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Aeromechanic

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

    You mean if Obama had just done what the GOP wanted him to do.

    June 11, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Mrs G

    And, PJ, the elderly don't matter much to the GOP. Kasich in Ohio denied funding to nursing homes and that will mean a loss of jobs. They are a great bunch. Ask Romney what he would do since he said "I'm not concerned about the very poor."

    June 11, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    I'll bet they pull RMoney out at the convention and put Bush in when it's to late to fully vette him. Dollar to a Donut.

    Karl Rove is one sneaky b..t..rd.

    June 11, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. dizzylucy

    Oh come on now, Jeb. It's obvious to everyone that the GOP was NEVER going to compromise or work with Obama on anything. Even if there's common ground, they won't admit to it or act on it. Their primary (and maybe only) goal is to get him out of office.

    June 11, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. WiseTexan

    The GOP touts Reagan as a great tax cutter, bt they never mention the following:
    1. While Reagan did in fact lower the percentge of the brackets, he closed abusive loopholes and shelters at the same time.

    2. Reagan enacted the largest tax increase in 20 years when he doubled the SS tax from 3.125% to 6.25%.

    June 11, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. communicator1453

    I think Jeb Bush is on to something.

    June 11, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. jimmieb

    I somewhat agree. However, Regan took care of the rich as well. When he set out to change the country, he had no mercy on the poor. So if your poor, and republicans get in office, get ready for the next great depression, they will through you in the street!. They have no plan for the future of this country, don't care about education, as sure as heck don't care an equal distribution of wealth. Oops!that does sound socialist (who cares). Don't you read, "The World is Flat" everyone is catching up with us, and passed us in some cases. Stop thinking about the good old days and live in the present.

    June 11, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Bruce

    What this NeoCon isn't revealing is that the GOP's primary focus was not bipartisanship but that Pres. Oboma fail, make the healthcare reform his "Waterloo" and don't forget their number one make him a one term prez!

    June 11, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    Blaming Obama for this??? Well, doesn't that just show that Jebbiepoo is contributing to the problem himself. It's HIS guys who declared a war on the American people because the American people elected the Black Guy, and it's HIS guys who said their primary aim in the first four years would be to make sure he can't accomplish anything.

    June 11, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. jimmieb

    If your old, poor( and don't have to be minority), or have no education, your in trouble. This climate and lack of working together to move this country forward the worst I have seen. Its all about making money on politics! All the stations markets news and we buy it, oh how ignorant we are! I know we have the love, skill, and talent to move forward

    June 11, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. dave

    yeah repubclians back then were more moderate-right, not extreme right like today. i wish we had some of them around still. id feel a lot safer

    June 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |

    Finally, something somewhat smart coming from a Bush.

    June 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    I think Jeb is blowing his chance at getting a job on FoxNews like other Republican hacks have done. He talks too much sense and is willing to reach across the aisle if needed to and agrees with the American people to a certain extent that revenue on certain classes should be increased. In fact he could teach some of our resident right wingers that post here on a regular basis a thing or two about politics.

    June 11, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Brendan

    Dave, what in the name of Barack Obama is a "repubclian?" Is that some sort of bird?

    June 11, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I think Jeb Bush needs to talk about his brother, George W. Bush and let Reagan rest in peace because I'm sure if his brother was like Reagan you wouldn't hear a word about Reagan, it would be all GWB.

    June 11, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. DumbasRocks [R]s

    From the mouths of babes.......

    June 11, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Ken in MD

    Of course he's absolutely correct. Reagan would be like Olympia Snowe today, outcast by the party.

    June 11, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Carol

    The Repubs have worked very hard to block anything that Obama attempts. It's too bad that they aren't working as hard for our country.

    June 11, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  23. Asturiano

    Ronnie would be too liberal; besides jelly beans don't go with tea.

    June 11, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. independent

    He blames the President for the lack of bipartisan cooperation in Congress????? Has FL already legalized marijuana?

    June 11, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Allan J Krueger

    Absolutely correct, Jeb!

    June 11, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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