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:

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McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility

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

    Wouldn't fit? It think R. Reagan would fit quite nicely since he was the King of Great Divide.

    June 11, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Dave Jaipersaud

    I can just hear the right wing extremist like Hannity & Romeny and their inbreeding pals blaming Obama for this. They will probably say that Obama paid Jeb to say what he said and it’s all part of a bigger conspiracy to get Obama re-elected. Yes folks that is how stupid these people are

    June 11, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Mitt

    Thanks for telling the truth, Jeb! They all have rocks and hate in their heads now.
    OBAMA 2012!

    June 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Seth

    The GOp has gone so far to the right that centrist democrats like Obama look liberal in comparison. There is no difference whatsoever between Obama and Clinton, but some people think President Clinton was a moderate and Obama is a liberal. The only reason it appears this way is because the GOP swung so far to the right in 2010 that Reagan would be called a RINO moderate, and Bush I would be considered a moderate democrat. Our country hasn't been this polarized in over 50 years, and this is 80% the fault of the tea party.

    June 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Inciteful

    If this article accurately reflects Jeb Bush's modus operandi, I wish he were running for President. Obama and Romney are polar opposites, both of whom are disingenuous, if not dangerous.

    June 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin is the truest Republican in this country today. Reagan is just another RINO. Palin will be our greatest President of all times.

    June 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. ted

    The political discourse in Washington these days is horrible and nothing is getting done. Partisanship is going to continue and those bastards in DC will put us over the financial cliff at the end of the year and blame it all on Obama when actually the blame goes to all politicians and parties and super PACs and party organizations and Norquist and Limbaugh and Palin and Daffy Duck.

    June 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. rs

    Texan- Your failure to accurately assess Obama's as a man and as a President is a product of the out-of-control spin to the right the GOP finds itself in. I am a liberal, were it only true that Obama were as liberal as I am or even better, a true Socialist. He is in fact neither. That hasn't stopped the GOP lie machine from calling Obama the most radically left President in history (in caps, with neon lights). From your exit ramp view of reality- shoot everybody seems lefty. Jeb Bush's point is you probably see Reagan that way now too if you critically examine his record. The GOP has lost control of itself. It won't compromise. When Obama sought consensus the GOP responded with either denial of its former positions (like Cap and Trade, or the individual mandate), or simply walked away. Instead they have decided Obama is a one term President, and they don't care how they accomplish that- nor about the damage to America, Americans, the middle-class, the elderly or poor. Everybody is fair game as long as they can "beat" the man in the White House.

    June 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Shardik

    Always knew JEB was the smarter son.

    June 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Greenspam

    Jeb Bush is trying to paint himself as a moderate Republican, but he's actually anything but moderate. It's funny how rhetorics and actions don't match.

    June 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Pander Bear

    When Jeb Bush becomes the voice of reason and sanity, you know we're through the looking glass.

    June 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. James PDX

    Looks like we got the worst 2 of the 3 bushes. But then, when we get any politician we're generally getting some of the worst of humanity, so that's not exactly a big compliment.

    I'm still curious if Obama gets reelected who the GOP will throw at us in 2016.

    June 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Frank

    Jeb Bush has always been regarded as the brightest of the boys. This certainly suggests that he is also honest. Today's GOP, especially airheads like Palin, really are not equipped to find common ground and govern in the interest of the common good for all Americans.

    June 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Larry L


    Neither Reagan nor Bush ever had to deal with socialist ideologs making big decisions in blatant disregard for reality.
    Ahhh... A Fox News sound-bite.

    President Reagan supported a progressive tax structure – just like President Obama. Was he a socialist? If by "socialist" you mean a workable healthcare program you must consider some facts. All polls show that Americans in a huge majority want every providion of the "Obamacare" law except the part required to pay for the benefits. They wasnt good healthcare insurrance but want everybody else to pay for it. The math simply will not work if the basicly well population doesn't pay into the pool before they become old and in the high-risk group. If you call that "socialism" you must certainly want to get rid of Medicare and Social Security as well. This is "reality"!

    Ironically, most of the phe provisions of the law came from the REPUBLICAN PLAN FOR HEALTHCARE REFORM! They only chose to obstruct it when it was proposed by the President and they felt they could gain political points with the fearful, white, angry crowd of the Tea Party.

    June 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Mike Botwin

    Words of wisdom from a man who ordered vehicle safety inspections outside of minority voting precincts in 2000. Thanks but no thanks Jeb. And you can forget being president. We'll be paying for your brother's wars and your father's broken promises for decades. No more Sons of Bushes.

    June 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    iTexan wrote:

    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.
    Haven't you been paying any attention for the past three years? Republicans have no desire to compromise on anything, no matter how crucial or petty. The top Republican in the House, Speaker Boehner, proudly declared on national television that compromise is not in his toolbox. You just had a Tea Party candidate win a spot on the ticket to run for the House with a platform the defines compromise as: I get everything I want, and you yield to everything that I want.

    June 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. cog in the wheel

    I'm always surprised that so few people recognize that the federal deficit ZOOMED upwards due to Reagan's 'trickle down' theories. Bush the first was exactly right when he branded it "voodoo economics," and the past 30 years has proven him correct. The fed deficit has never recovered from the Reagan administration–while the growth of the deficit slowed a bit during the Clinton years, the deficit immediately skyrocketed following GW Bush's tax cuts (more trickle-down BS). Obama's failure to eliminate those tax cuts has only continued creating more red ink.

    At least Reagan had the good sense to accommodate bi-partisanship, and actually raised taxes when he saw the deficit growing. Too little, the damage was done.

    June 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Jason

    Jebby your dad was a good man that would never fit in your brothers creation of the present day republican party.

    June 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    Obama proposed a Health Care Plan modeled after Bob Dole's plan. A mandate to carry health insurance . A Personal Responsibility Approach. And the Modern Repubs. tried to sabotage it & may end up doing so w/ a Modern Repub. Supreme Ct. Jeb is right; this ain't his Father's Repub. Party.

    June 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. BigTBone

    When terms like commie, marxist, socialist, Mao etc. are thrown at him 24/7, I think we know which side has lost their marbles. Also for an alleged socialist, Obama is really, really bad at it. Single payer anyone?

    I agree with the posts that appreciate Jeb's honesty (2/3 honest is better than 0/3) but to think Obama has done anything to garner the negativity and animosity thrust upon him is inaccurate and flawed at best... Can someone review every speech since 2008 and flag "bi-partisan" or "compromise" or "solutions from both sides of the aisle" or "the best parts of ideas from both parties"...

    Obama looked for help continuously. Ask Dick Lugar what happens if you agree with Obama.

    June 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Concerned Mom

    He speaks the truth. The GOP is way too extreme. I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket this November. The Democrats aren't perfect, but they are much more middle-of-the-road with plans that most Americans can get behind such as spending cuts paired with tax increases (back to Clinton era levels) for the wealthy, holding big banks accountable through regulation, and keeping college affordable.

    June 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Tea Party

    Politics now resemble the Red Sox/Yankee Rivarly....It doesn't matter what the other team does you hate them regardless.

    American populous sucks.

    June 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Marc in Texas

    It amazes me hoow Republicans can't see the self-destruction of their party. Let's list – they are aging – so they alienate youth. They have inr0ads wioth Catholics – bu they alienate Hispanics. They have a tradition of accomplishing things through compromise and give-and-take – so they drive out the THINKERS by demanding blood oaths and blind partisanship. They praise Reagan – but apparently not many of them have a clue about history that they wern't spoon-fed by Sean Hannity. I would be more gleeful – bu there's a certaing sinister thuggishness at play here.

    June 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. John

    Today Republican Party really sucks, they sign pledges they should never sigh. And all they cares about there party and protecting the Rich and Big Business. They don't have any worry about the American People that they are suppose to be serving.

    June 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Clyde

    Who is ol' Jeb kidding? Reagan was the orignal hate filled, greedy, right wing etremist. The world is a better place without Reagan in it.

    June 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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