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. Woman In California

    Clyde wrote:

    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.

    I agree with you 100% Clyde. It's too bad people still don't realize what damage this "divider" caused.

    June 11, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. FLIndpendent

    @GOPUSA – "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..."
    Even though I agree with what you say and that the GOP are being obstructionists, why in the world will you not vote if the GOP doesn't pass the infrastructure bill knowing that it is President Obama who is pushing for it? If you don't like what the GOP Congress is doing then you need to vote them OUT and vote to keep President Obama IN. Anyone that chooses not to vote this November better not complain about the outcome. Please vote for the middle class and jobs and that is a vote for our President and the Dems.

    June 11, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Felix El Gato

    Ronald Reagan had a huge Republican majority in both houses. He didn't need to be – nor was he – bipartisan. When Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida, he also had a huge Republican majority in both houses. He was even less bipartisan than Reagan. He would tolerate no disagreement, even among Republicans, that ran counter to his own wishes.

    June 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. g

    reagan was the beginning of the end of middle class america

    June 11, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Jack

    Reagan was a conservative. Reagan was tough. But Reagan was also a pragmatist. He would and did compromise. He would fight hard during the day and have drinks with Tom Foley and other Democratic opponents at the end of the day. No one minds politicians playing rough and hard but for godsakes, compromise and get things moving forward.

    June 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |

    In the words of Vice President Joe Biden, "this is not your dad's republican party."

    June 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Rick 7809

    The hyper partisan spirit was born in "W"'s administration, thanks largely to Karl Rove. He just doesn't want to blame his brother because then getting together at holidays, or in Maine during the summer, would be just too awkward.

    June 11, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Luke Brown

    Reagan didn't feel it was a moral failing to be a pragmatist. Win-win was not a bad thing.

    Much of his conservative rhetoric was bluster. For example, he blamed Congress for failing to balance the budget, but he knew full well that doing so would require a rollback of his tax cuts for the wealthy or cutting the military. He never believed in a balance budget. If he did, he would have proposed one.

    June 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Andrew

    I don't know why this would be considered shocking. I have been a registered republican for a long time, and I know I don't fit in with this extremist element that has taken over the GOP. We real republicans need to take back control of the party.

    June 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. mgc6288

    Woman In California -This "divider" got re-elected by 49 states...either all the liberals moved to MN or he did an amazing job. Read your history and then comment thoughtfully, it goes further, along with your credibility.

    June 11, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. martin

    Passing off common knowledge as some kind of deep insite into the obvious doesn't make him any smarter than you or I. He's just positioning himself for 2016.

    June 11, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Person of Interest

    Still confused how this one is Obama's fault Jeb? The crazy lefties (Occupy Movement) don't show much support for him but the crazy righties (Tea Party) love all the new hyper-partisan guys you are talking about. Orrin Hatch worked for over 30 years in the Senate and compromised on many occassions which has painted a bullseye on his back and many other progressive/moderate Republicans.

    I don't know, there maybe equal amounts of hyper-partisan lefties but the hyper-partisans on the right have all the power, so how is this Obama's fault? Heck the automatic cuts from the super-committee failure is already being talked about by Republicans as changing them for only social/public programs that the Democrats support.

    June 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. CaliforniaBC

    Nice to see there's still at least ONE sane-minded Republican left in the party who is still attached to the real world.

    June 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    Finally... a Republican comes out and states in public what the left has known for some time. That Reagan (the Republicans idol) would be considered a RINO by today's Grand Obstructionist Party. At least Reagan had the cojones to raise taxes as need, and work with the Dem's to get legislation accomplished. Given the GOBP's goal of today which is SOLELY to make Obama a single-term President, they are pulling out all the stops this go round. Not even Reagan would have accepted some of the changes been alluded to on the Immigration front (we need the Hispanic vote), the name calling, the lies and deceit being thrown by the right-leaning Super PAC's. (thanks SCOTUS BTW).
    The party of "NO!" knows no bounds on hypocrisy, lies and deceit. Why would anyone want to put another Captain from the same company that ran the ship aground last time they were in the wheel house. People need to do their own research and see thru the lies they are being told.

    June 11, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. HUNTER

    I can't believe it, but I'm not only agreeing with a Republican, I'm agreeing with a BUSH!

    June 11, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. bzonline123

    Bipartisan support? Your folks must be kidding. Each political side better to shoot each other with guns, otherwise how could America be brought down? Also anyone frequently mentions his father's achievement is not a good habit. Don't be seen as living inside your father's shadow, get your own foot moving. God helps those people who help themselves, not a sentence from Bible but practically quite true.

    June 11, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. bitsinmotion

    @felix another genius heard from. Actually the Democrats controlled the House for Reagan's entire time in office, and the Senate after 1986 as well.

    June 11, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. Ron

    Although the Republicans "revere" him, Reagan would never pass the conservative litmus test today. He would be accused of being a liberal by the right-wing extremists that now control the Republican Party.

    June 11, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Can anybody in here tell who in the Democrat Party is considered a "moderate" these days??? Nancy Pelosi???

    FACT is that most were blue dog Democrats and they are nearly extinct now having been run out off the Democrat party by the far left "progressives". You see it in here all the time. "DINO! Throw him out!! He didn't vote the party line!!"

    George Soros took over the Democrat Party long ago.

    June 11, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. bzonline123

    Bipartisan support? Not gonna happen. Each political side better to eliminate each other with weapons, otherwise how could America be brought down? Also anyone frequently mentions his father's achievement is not a good habit. Don't be seen as living inside your father's shadow, get your own foot moving. God helps those people who help themselves, not a sentence from Bible but practically quite true.

    June 11, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. derp

    First smart thing to come from a Bush's mouth in over 20 years.

    June 11, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Silly Baggers!

    I never thought I would agree with this guy. Reagan granted amnesty to illegals, he initially lowered taxes but raised them several times after, and he raised the debt ceiling many more times to accomodate spending. All things that today's GOP are completely against.

    June 11, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. drod

    Scientific proof from a Liberal and a Conservative.
    Last month, two political scientists published one of those rare op-eds that gets the political community talking.
    The thesis of the piece was contained in the title: "Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem."
    In case that was not clear enough, the authors elaborated: "We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional.
    "In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
    "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
    "When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country's challenges."

    June 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. g

    the most corrupt crime family in america-from drug money to oil money

    June 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Silly Baggers!

    One other thing. Reagan is the one who said deficitis don't matter and Cheney lived by that during the last Admin.

    June 11, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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