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

    Today's Republican party seems to think compromise means "do everything I want and I will give you nothing. Oh and everything is Obama's fault." Jeb Bush's comments about the current GOP not being accepting of Reagan and Bush Sr. Heck the current Republican party wants to ignore Bush Jr too. Given this history, it seems the curent Republican party wants to ignore the last 30 years of their failed ideologies and just push push push to give to the rich rich rich – and trick the rest of the country to voting against their best interests.

    June 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. anonymous

    No, he's not blaming Obama for the GOP's problems. He's blaming Obama for Obama's problems. Also, he's not accusing just the Republicans of being too partisan.....he's accusing both parties of it, and he's right.

    June 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Michael

    Sorry Jeb, but you are only half right. Today's political landscape is an all or nothing. Our country will continue it's downward spiral unless this changes. The Tea Party, not Obama, is the main reason.

    June 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Pat in IL

    Jeb Bush is right. The "my way or the highway....end of conversation" way of trying to get things done never works in the long run. The current Republicans in Congress having been proving that the only thing that attitude does is stop any sort of progress and often sends us sliding backward. What really horrifies me is that that attitude is a very uneducated way of thinking and getting things done and most of thse people have degrees from prestigious schools!

    June 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. kaligaclark

    Even though I do not agree with any bushy POO, he nailed this one. Even the thought of the gop working with ANYBODY to come to common ground has become the eighth deadly sin! The teapeople have made a living NOT compromising with ANYTBODY on ANYTHING!!!!

    June 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This Bush has brains! It is nice to know that there is a Republican out there that actually understands that you need both sides of the ledger working to get things cleared up.

    June 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. mane

    wow! I'm surprised at Jeb's comment. Not

    June 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. The Film Professor

    We always knew that Jeb was ten times smarter than W; it's amazing that they come from the same family.

    And Jeb is totally right about this - bipartisanship is dead in this country, thanks in large part to extreme positions taken on talk radio and in the media that fuel the elections of partisans on both sides, but particularly the GOP.

    June 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Ron

    While true, Reagan set the stage for todays GOP (well, really Nixon did by INSTALLING Ford as president and institutionalizing "for the good of the country" meant get out of jail free – ensuring the highest official in the land will NEVER be held accountable). But back to Reagan, he consolidated the religious-right, all the fire and brimstone types which are now their base or 30% of the electorate.

    The dual irony is that Reagan would not only NOT be accepted by the right-wingers, he also despised those he duped into backing his party at all costs.

    June 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Ol' Yeller

    Coming Soon! Jeb Bush backs off statements made earlier Monday.

    June 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Jim, San Antonio

    Honesty from a Republican! Check hell, is it freezing over?

    June 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Marie MD

    The only smart bush. Unfortunately ghe bad taste left by his father and that brother of his tanked any hope to ever see another bush in the WH.

    June 11, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Wait....what???

    Isn't that a picture of Philip Seymour Hoffman?

    June 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. gop usa

    I am ashamed at how my party has obstructed everything.We need to work as a team and try to find solutions for our jobs problem.The obstruction has hurt many millions of people hoping our gov will help the middleclass,yet nothing is being done.I am a repub and work construction and am frustrated my party is obstructing any infrastructure bill designed to help our tradesmen.I blame my party because they are the ones keeping our roads and bridges being built.I am tired of the games and the gop needs to start helping people like me who are waiting to get their tools out and start building our roads and bridges that are badly needed to be fixed and repaired.Many of us tradesmen are repubs and cant understand why the gop is playing games with our lively hood..We need to get back to work,we need help,we need the gop to pass an infrastructure bill that our country needs badly.This is not a hand out we need this for our roads and bridges.This will put millions back to work.I hope the gop will do the right thing because many of us gop supporters in construction are watching and we see who is helping the middleclass........if we get no help we may not vote comming november....

    June 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. HCX

    Sounds like Jeb is planning to run in 2016 as the alter-Republican.

    June 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Vince

    Oh no...FACTS! Closing my ears....closing my ears!!!!

    June 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Texan

    Neither Reagan nor Bush ever had to deal with socialist ideologs making big decisions in blatant disregard for reality. At least the democrats then had the country's success as the primary goal, now it's just how to hand out enough goodies (regardless of the inability to sustain it) to appease their entitlement base and get votes.

    Reagan 'compromised' with democrats of his time ...tax increases in return for big spending cuts. Reagan upheld his end of the bargain and raised taxes but when it came time for cuts the democrats changed their minds. 'Compromising' and 'negotiating' has to be done in good faith, and there is no history of good faith when it comes to the DNC keeping up their end of the bargain (more recent examples abound, they're so common we don't even acknowledge them now.)

    The Tea Party wants the RNC to realize that when someone wants to take your whole leg, negotiating them to only take your foot is a foolis thing to do. We have negotiated and compromised ourselves into enough debt for generations. It's time to put the kool-aid away, admit that endless stimulus has failed to spur anything, and right-size the federal spending to fit our new reality.

    Compromise can also mean 'we tried your way and it failed, now let's try our way...' but the democrats will have NONE of that. They ignored republicans as long as they could with their super-majorities and focused on socialist wish-lists instead of fixing the country. Now they blame conservatiess for their utter failures, how typical!

    June 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Jean Sartre

    Actually, any rational person would be systematically excluded from today's Republican Party... it is a party of right-wing, social engineering, radicals who are more radical and out-of-touch than the Taliban!

    In point of fact, they are America's Taliban...

    June 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Jeb Bush isn't saying anything that anyone who has been paying attention has not already realized, or heard before.

    Here's the hypocrisy from the extreme right wing that I find so amazing because they pull it off with such alacrity. The far right cries against taxes, claiming "it is my money" and "I earned it." Nothing wrong with wanting to keep your hard earned dough. Nope. But, the hypocrisy is when they claim that if you give them their tax cut, that somehow they will transform from a Scrooge into a benevolent being, known in today's politics as a "Job Creator". That is slick.

    June 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Crooked Bridge

    If only Jeb would run the RNC, then maybe some sanity would prevail.

    June 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Jeb is smartest offspring in the Bush family. He is speaking plain truth. But Reagan surely helped to create the beast now masquerading as the Republican Party.

    June 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. iTexan

    I'm a Democrat but I really respected Reagan and G. H. W. Bush. I respect that Jeb would show this sort of honesty. I can't argue with him. He's absolutely right. Both sides need to find ways to work together, or we all suffer. We've become a generation of spoiled brats. We can't all get our way all of the time. It's time for our government to grow up and act like adults.

    June 11, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. wm Scot

    When will the electorate finally get the message and sent these tea party idiots and fringe liberals home and get some moderates in there to govern this county ?????

    June 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Jason

    It really is true that 1 in 3 is an idiot. We have 2 Bushes that are intelligent and great leaders and a 3rd that's total FUBAR.

    June 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    Yep, Old Ronnie would have just flipped back over to the Democratic Party. The GOP would definitely not be accepting of his liberal ideas like tax hikes (8 times) and compromise.

    June 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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