Jeb Bush: Reagan wouldn't fit in today's GOP
June 11th, 2012
10:34 AM ET
2 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. Tom

    In todays world the republicans have a distorted view of reality.

    June 11, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Truith-Bomb Thrower

    This is exactly why this guy should NOT be on the ticket. The Bushes are the worst thing to ever happen to the Republican Party.

    June 11, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. lance corporal

    he blames obama for the partisanship???????? WOW!!!!!!!

    sure gingrich, rove, britbart etc etc etc etc etc etc etc yeah they all work for obama

    even when they say something half way intelligent repubs have to make it partisan

    I'm an independent always have been and I am disgusted by the repubs in the last 12 years
    I will vote ANTI repub until they stop acting like children

    June 11, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. Martin

    He places "much of the blame on Obama" despite Boehner actually SAYING that Congress "will refuse to do anything at all to help this administration pass anything"?

    Name ONE issue that Democrats have suggested that GOP have supported, truly bipartisan, that didn't involve tax cuts or military spending.

    June 11, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Darryl Miller

    Jeb Bush is right Reagan would fit in but on the side of the Democratics.

    June 11, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Tony

    Like Huntsman and other GOP moderates who are sitting out this election, Bush is setting up a run for the presidency in 2016. After Republicans lose with Romney in November, the useless Tea Party will go away– they couldn't even stop a fake conservative like Romney, and there is no point for the Koch brothers to continue funding this movement– and we can have a functional two-party system again.

    June 11, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. CBR

    If the United States is to survive as a power we must have people in Congress who know how to work together. We need leaders who can get people to listen to each other and to bring forth good legislation. Those in power now do not have that ability. Congress does not accomplish very much. We are paying those in Congress good salaries. They have health insurance, etc. which they will have forever. Why would they want to do anything – they can sit in
    Congress and do nothing and the American people make no demands that they go to work.

    June 11, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. Joe

    The problem is on the left compromising with the right, not the other way around. Show me one thing that came from the right that was added in Obama Care. Oh that's right. They didn't even include them in writing the god awful piece of communist legislation.

    June 11, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. melvin

    12 Years before the Bush tax cuts the United States economy created 25 Million jobs,in now almost 12 years after the Bush tax cuts the United States have only created 450.000 jobs.Man oh Man why arent the Democrats talking about this,because that is a very big difference.

    June 11, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. J.J

    He is correct, they were a little bit less corrupt back in the day.

    June 11, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Bob

    Reagan was more liberal than Obama. He signed into law the most extensive, pro-choice laws in the country. He raised taxes more than any President in history. He appointed the most liberal member (*gasp* woman) of the Supreme Court. He tripled the national debt. He greatly expanded the size of government. He granted amnesty to illegal aliens. Yet today's GOP tries to white wash Reagan into a tax-cutting ultra-conservative when he was really a left-leaning moderate from California whose only real GOP clout was from making illegal arms deals and giving power to Middle East dictators and terrorists in exchange for oil.

    June 11, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Jeb Bush is just like all other republican politicians only he is a little more polished. Maybe he is a little smarter than his brother and his dad but he is still a republican. Like all other republican politicians, he favors big business and the wealthy!

    June 11, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. brian

    Republicans aren't now far right , they are just so anti-Obama, that it appears they are far right.

    June 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Dan Lungren / Darrell Issa

    Conservative Ideology is more Important then Truth 2016 .

    June 11, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. BeverlyNC

    Republican leaders met the night of President Obama's inauguration to plot against President Obama. They decided they would oppose everything Obama said or did, obtruct all legislation whether they agreed with it or not, would keep pretending President Obama was not American, and do everything they could to make sure the American economy failed just so they have President Obama fail. There is one word for that strategy and the carrying out of that very destruction and obstruction – TREASON. The Republican Party has done nothing in 3 years, has introduced ZERO jobs bills or economic recovery bills, has blocked/filibustered the most legislation in our history, and has told so many lies they cannot be trusted on any issue. It's time to clean out all Republicans and let real leaders who believe in their oath to serve the People and the country take over. With no Republicans, our economy will recover, flourish, and be a leader again when President Obama can pass his Jobs Act, Infrastructure projects, jobs training, education for our children with plenty of teachers and working schools, and cut absurd spending Republicans fight to the death to keep wasting money on – more corporate tax cuts when most pay zero in taxes, the Bush tax cuts for billionaires, subsidies for oil companies and sugar and corn industries, and have a Congress who wants America to succeed. I stand with my President who works for ALL Americans. Republicans have done nothing for anyone but their corporate owners.

    June 11, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    These GOP guys are all alike. It is a sort I'd big drama. That's it. I would not trust any of these idiots, they are using the demised guy!!!! Yes, on Obama12.

    June 11, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Ray

    A KKK member has a better shot than Bush and Reagan

    June 11, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. MBSeattle

    Good insight. Win Lose makes us all losers. Compromise provide a plateform for moving forward to solve the broad range of problems. Well said Mr Bush.

    June 11, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. anonymous

    I have a problem.
    Seeing as how the 2nd amendment is interpreted to be a privilege instead of a right, if someone is imprisoned then couldn't they technically be enslaved and owned by say, the British? Perhaps they could lose their 1st, 4th, and 5th amendment rights as well?

    There are no criminals worse than government.

    June 11, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Don't know why Conservatives are so shocked. Someone once showed some of these Reagan-Republicans some unidentified comments by Reagan, Dirksen, Goldwater, Robert Taft, Sr., and Bill Buckley. The conservatives identified all of these as having to come from Liberals because no true conservative would ever make comments like those supporting civil rights legislation, working wage, mandatory health care, easier access to voting, etc.

    June 11, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. JLO

    The Teabaggers et al are nothing but Reaganism in full flower.

    June 11, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. SoCalMatt661

    Wow, I'm pleasantly stunned......Jeb Bush is a rational Republican....so refreshing, there is hope! Maybe this will make it easier for other GOP elected officialss to come forward and start playing ball to get this country rolling and get away from Norquist and his lame ass "Never Raise Taxes No Matter What" pledge.

    June 11, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. yep

    This is just hilarious. "I blame President Obama for the lack of bipartisanship." I agree, as soon as the "Black Man" was elected the GOP openly came out and stated that their goal was to make him a 1 term president. Can you say "Fillibuster" Jeb. Something your party has used over the past 3 years, more times than all the rest of our political history! Even on programs that the GOP came up with and agreed with they have said NO becuase President Obama has supported them. It's disgraceful. So yes, I guess you can blame Obama Jeb, for the color of his skin, and the lack of compromise that has ensued. I wonder if Romney wins will the Democrats do the same thing? I tend to think that they would not put their party before American prosperity like the GOP have blatantly done. You never know though. It could be another rough 4 years if they did. But don't worry your little head about that Jeb, you and your .5% friends will come out just fine no matter what happens.

    June 11, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. tuckerpeterson

    So in other words today's GOP is not about Bi-Partisanship or the country's best interest but their own agenda? Thanks for the insight Jeb.

    June 11, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. tuckerpeterson

    Good to know that Bi-Partisanship and the Country's best interest has been replaced with partisanship and the interest of GOP re-election and maintaining power. And people wonder why nothing gets done in DC.

    June 11, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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