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.

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

    Reagan would be called a RINO by the tea party.

    June 11, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. Jebediah's Family

    He's right, of course. Here's just a partial list of people who are too liberal to be nominated in today's GOP:
    Dwight Eisenhower
    Richard Nixon
    Barry Goldwater, Sr.
    Gerald Ford
    Ronald Reagan
    George HW Bush
    John McCain

    And, of course, you could add all those commie, pinko types like Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Harding, and Coolidge.

    When the electorate is fairly evenly divided, the power of one group voting as a block is ENORMOUS. You can either let that 5% decide your future for you, or you can step forward and decide it for yourself.

    June 11, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. San Antonio

    Why does only half the family have the Texas accent?

    June 11, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Galactus999

    Different times call for different measures. In 1986 Reagan gave amnesty to over 3 million illegal aliens for the sake of compromise and for humane reasons and in 2012 we now have over 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. We now know that Amnesty for illegal aliens is a bad idea and will not work. President Reagan was a great president, but he did make mistakes and we must learn from our mistakes or we will make them again.

    June 11, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. AnaHadWolves

    I used to be a Republican. I voted for Reagan and George H. W. Bush. However, when the Republicans invited the Moral Majority/Born Agains into the tent, that same Republican party ceased to be a "big tent" party and instead became a pup tent of extremists. Now, the even farther-right Tea Party idiots continue to draw the circle tighter, excluding more and more, until that pup tent has become too small for most people except the zealots.

    I didn't leave the Republican Party...it took several very hard right turns and left me.

    June 11, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  6. NYKnows

    Reagan is only an idol if you don't know any history. Reagan was the head of the Screen Actor's Guild when it gave him some unwarranted power – then when it helped him and those who backed him financially, he acted against a life-saving union, the air traffic controllers, to the detriment of the people. Reagan claimed not to know anything about Iran-Contra, then claimed to have forgotten it, then lied about not having Alzheimer's in office! Reagan was a complete fraud, an opportunist, and an embarrassment to real Americans. Nobody idolizes Reagan – they have invented a Reagan who never existed, who could never exist, and they idolize that fantasy. Real Americans don't idolize fakes, frauds and fantasies.

    June 11, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Bucktooth

    They want Pres Obama out because he is more articulate, more charismatic, more educated, he has changed a lot for the better, and of course because he is of color!
    Game Over! I don't want any dumb people ever to say that they are not aware of racism in this country!! Liar, Liar, pants on Fire!

    June 11, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. Dindingwe

    To hell with all of this bi-partisanship! The American people want and deserve its elected officials to compromise/work together and get something done! All this bickering like 7th graders will get nothing done! Every two weeks I send them a $1100 donation in the form of taxes but I have no one in Washington representing me! This has to change!

    June 11, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. SMJ

    Another Bush making another stupid statement. Although, as a registered Republican, I don't fit with them anymore, either. They have left me – the middle class – behind. I will be voting for President Obama in November.

    June 11, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. Name JR

    The GOP road the popular coattails of candidate Reagan. He was not their first choice however. But his policies were coopted or should I say hijacked by Tip O'Neil and never fully implemented. His legacy is historic and gigantic. This is in contrast to the sad footnote our country must in the White :ouse today.

    June 11, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. citizen9

    What, the Pubbies, according to Jeb, are disagreeable and in Norquists back pocket?
    Does He, or Doesn't He, only his hairdresser knows for sure.

    June 11, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. Jim in Georgia

    Ron Reagan used to say that the democratic party left him... Well so did the republican party.
    Where is Ross Periot when we need him.

    June 11, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. sahara

    I think Jeb is absolutely correct in this only argument, at least for the first time, something very great and good is coming from the bushes, he is telling the truth. Though while in Florida, Jeb governed no like an extremist Mitt who was a liberal before he turned to a Moderate, from there becomes a Centrist, and the furthered it to a Progressive and now, he is a severely CONSERVATIVE GOPer, just imagine, this is only one person, and his name is Mitt Romney, the Bain Man, the Job shipper, the job killer, a merciless Mitt who cares about the 1 percent and cares less about the Middle class, if America votes Mitt, then we are all doomed. I wish Jeb could replace him, my father lost his job bcos of Mitt while he was heading Bain, i can not forget, looking at my dad, Mitt is an idiot

    June 11, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. AllrightyThen

    Is Jeb still pushing puns in politics? I thought his big brother told him to shut up during the Al Gore/Bush legal hearings as to the Florida voting count fraud.

    June 12, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. captnavenger

    Ironically, he's making this statement while continuing to promote the very thing he's disagreeing with.

    On the one hand, he's right, Reagan did get more accomplished because politics then was not as divisive. On the other hand, he went on to include the White House in his scolding, and to try to place blame on the President for this. That's a fat, steaming load of bull. Obama has been called weak by his own party SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE he would not give up on trying to reach across the aisle, and continue with his bipartisan efforts long after it was clear the Republicans and the Tea Partiers were never going to give him anything but grief and a big middle finger (for their own political ends, obviously).

    So which is it, Jeb? Is it that Reagan would not fit in with Republicans of today because they are bullheaded lunks up to nothing but blocking progress for their own re-election chances? Or is it all Obama's fault that Reagan would not fit in well with today's Republicans? Or are you just continuing the divisiveness of your party by blaming them not for their own actions, but choosing a convenient patsy from the other side?

    Your words are hollow if you don't live by them.

    June 12, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. tammy

    Romney refuses to identify his biggest donors who "bundle" money for his campaign. He often declines to say who's meeting with him or what he's doing for hours at a time. He puts limits on media access to his fundraisers. And he resists releasing all of his tax returns, making just a single year public after facing pressure to do so. Arizona media.

    June 12, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  17. slickteigkcmo

    Yes, broken, exclusive, divisive, sad, full of ego, contempt, lack of compromise, no unity, this is the Republican Party, so really all politics need an overhaul and politicians need to "represent" ALL the people of America again, do work for the good of ALL, shame on all politicians consumed by greed, ego, stubborness, immaturity, maybe evil hearts, shame on all of you of all "parties". Remember who you work for !!!!!!!!!!!! It's all of us, out here across America, every gender, race, creed , size, shape, socio economic background, YOU WORK FOR US. Now, go represent us all, care, share, love and do your darn jobs for ALL AMERICANS, not just your special chosen friends..... who put money in your back pockets, better get it correct soon, or get out of your jobs!!!!!! Whomever is in office at any level of politics, represent the people, do your jobs well, fairly, ethically, or leave your post and give us good, great representation in Washington and in/for every state, every citizen of America. Yes, this takes good old "Hard Work" , like many of us do at our jobs. God bless you and all Americans! Get going, or get going!

    June 12, 2012 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  18. Iamnotfooled

    Jeb Bush is right. The True Republican Party is Dead. Grover and the Tea Party has taken over Congress and those cowards in the House are letting them. Jeb Bush at least has the guts to stand up to them and not sign the Pledge.

    June 12, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  19. Blindersoff

    If all of america know the agenda of the republican leadership concerning bringing down america to spite president Obama, then what is the problem, I say get rid of the republican leadership once and for all. Send a loud and clear message. A message that they will understand. "NO" to their treasonous fascism of, it's us or we will raze this Great country secret mantra.

    June 12, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  20. trex

    ............Reagan would look at today's gop and say........."Well, they're right on what they want, BUT, dead wrong on how to get there"................................"

    June 12, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  21. clarke

    GOP today is to extreme for me. I agree with Bush.

    June 12, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  22. JPNAmerican

    Reagan was to the left of Senator Lugar and look what happened to him

    June 12, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  23. Anti Sarah

    And here is where I agree with a Bush.

    June 12, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  24. Franky

    Jeb speaks the truth here. Reagan raised taxes 7 times, only cut them 1 time, gave amnesty to all illegals without any "Dream" requirement even. Jeb is right, Reagan, would not fit in todays GOP at all. Obama is far closer to a Reaganite than any of the prominent GOP members. The GOP of today is not the party of the "Great Compromiser" as Reagan was colluiqally named.

    June 12, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  25. Gary

    As two political groups move farther to the left and farther to the right, there is now middle ground, only chaos remains.

    June 12, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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