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. drod

    TRUTH
    1. The failed Bush-Republican experiment caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
    2. Obama has worked on the Recovery despite Republican Obstructionism since day one.
    3. Obama will be reelected.
    4. The country will recover
    5. Republicnas will get over it.

    June 11, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Gutsy observation! Did he clear it with Limbaugh or Nordquist before saying it?

    June 11, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The unhinged GOBP will ignore Jeb like they ignore what his brother W did to America.

    June 11, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    A Bush is a Bush, no matter what Jeb says, it's still a Bush.

    June 11, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Oliver

    Its actually a bit sad that the better Bush child will never have a shot because of the massive blunders of his idiot brother. I'm a democrat, but I've always thought of Jeb as bright and capable of the highest office. I probably wouldn't vote for him, but a lot of people would.

    June 11, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Doug

    lol, conservative Democrat, as if they exist anymore. Yes the tooth fairy and the conservative Democrat are the same thing in 2012, they both promise to leave you something after they take something from you and in reality they don't exist.

    June 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. asm_ith

    Jeb Bush's honesty highlights the absurdity of every time any Republican candidate continues to talk about Reagan. They honor only his name, not his policies, methods, willingness to compromise, etc. It will be interesting to see how they talk about Reagan now that Jeb's comments are out, or will they just start attacking Jeb.

    June 11, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. bilk7

    The GOP of Reagan's time doens't exist anymore. Today's GOP is a wacked out extremisy group trying to destroy our form of government.

    June 11, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. G-nO-P

    I am sure this man, is being surgicqlly removed from any GOP Considerations now that he has spoken the Truth about his party and has Chosen NOT to PAy the 'CRAZY TAX' that the new Tea Party republican party has become ...

    June 11, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. scott

    If not for his last name, Jeb probably could run the table in a presidential election. He wouldn't grab any democrats to speak of but he'd capture most of the independents. I'm not a fan of Jeb, having had him as the governor of my state – but maybe he COULD pull it off in the future. If President Obama is re-elected, a possible contest for for 2016 is Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton. That would be interesting.

    June 11, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Squigman

    The republican party seems to have been infiltrated by extremist, hell bent on world domination or destruction. They seem to have the idea that if they can not dominate, then destroy it for everyone else. Look at your 401k's and your chances for retirement. All of your dreams went to people already bloated with money. They thought you'd never miss it.

    June 11, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Gary

    Too bad for Jeb that Fredo preempted his White House aspirations. He's always been more like his honorable Dad and even though I don't agree with him in regard to President Obama being the cause of the current disaster in Congress, at least I know that he is wiling to work through bi partisanship rather than the slash and burn tactics of the tea baggers

    June 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. JohnW

    Yeah, he should have concentrated on things with more common ground. Cuz, you know, only a few people wanted to kick start the economy and fix the health care problem. On the other hand, though, that's kind of true since their stated goal was to make Obama a one-term president and therefore would go against anything he wanted no matter how good it was for the country. Either way though, pointing to the guy that's holding his hand out and saying he's the problem is pretty ridiculously stupid. GOP status quo, I guess.

    June 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. tor5

    So I guess it's a choice between someone who is a good spouse, versus someone who is a good spouse and has fought for the middle class and consumer protection.

    June 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. CBR

    Instead of blaming this all on President Obama Mr. Bush needs to put some of the blame on the Republican leadership in Congress. Sen. McConnell was very clear in January of 2009 that he would not help Mr. Obama to get a second term. That meant sitting on his hands during the last three years. How does Mr. Bush explain that.

    Unfortunately, some of this partisanship began under Lee Atwater who served as the head of the Bush for President team. Now the Republicans have allowed Mr. Nordquist to demand that those running for election sign his no new taxes pledge. This man has never been elected to any position. The Republicans allowed him to make demands of candidates because these people do not have the backbone necessary to tell Mr. Nordquist that they will not sign his pledge. Policy decisions should not be held hostage like this.

    June 11, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Norm

    Even the Republicans know their party has been hijacked by extremists.
    Why does this raise eyebrows?
    People have been saying this for the last ten years.

    June 11, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Mr. Moderate

    Trouble fitting in??? He would be thrown out!

    June 11, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. HA

    And when was the last time we had a convervative Republician in office by today's terms?

    June 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Keith

    Jeb Bush, that guy I could vote for. Romney, never

    I am going to have to give Hope and Change another chance

    June 11, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Keef

    "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

    –Dick Cheney, 2002

    Just sayin'

    June 11, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. WachetAuf

    Reagan gave the radical idealogues in his party the license to do what they have now accomplished. While he may not have been an idealogue himself, he was trapped. What was he to do? The idealogues had gravitated to the GOP because, among other reasons, the Democrats finally tackled the segregation problem with the help of a few moderate Republican senators. These idealogues eventually became the loudest voices in the Republican party. Moderate GOP voices cannot be heard any longer. They now refer to thmselves as "independents" or, like Ron Paul, libertarians. It is the essential problem which has confronted Speaker of the House John Behner. It is no wonder he cries a lot. He feels imprisoned by the idealogues. He tries to negotiate with the Democrats but the idealogical power base not only refuses to follow his lead but threatens to destroy the economy if they do not get their way (narcissision transformed to sociopathy). George Bush The First was himself very moderate until he needed the support of the idealogues to get elected. George Bush The Second was merely a pawn who has no values at all. He is too conflicted. He had alcohol problems and who was saved by Jesus. To deal with the psychological issues created by his Father's moderate political philoposphy, his commitment to Jesus and the evil dictates of the radical right, he had to manufacture a strange doctrine which he call "compassionate conservatism". That meant that he had to pass a new drug bill which added billions ot the budget, cut taxes for the wealthy, and spend trillions on two unneccessary wars. George Bush The Second still does not own his life because he never was able to reconcile the personality conflcts within himself whcih led us to this insane political place we are in. The Stalinists of the world are chameleons. They are two-faced. They use their power to destroy the world and then, when things are totally lost, they make us believe that they are our savior. That is not Reagan. Reagan did not want to destroy our society or the Democratic party. He wanted to reform things. He never managed it. Taxes went up. The debt was increased year after year. Until Bill Clinton came to leadership. Our budget was balanced.

    June 11, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Can't ANYBODY name ANY moderate Democrats???????????????????????????????????

    June 11, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Jt_flyer

    The man is right. You people portray Reagan wearing a robe, staff in left hand, bible in right – guiding the republican party throgh the masses of evil like Moses.

    By comparion, Todays republicans seem more like partisan Zombies, incapable of free thought.

    June 11, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. jimmy

    kudos to jeb for speaking what everyone else can clearly see. i have found the far right distaseful ever since 1976, when the reagan supporters booed jerry ford and tried to shout down his supporters. they have adopted lenin's bolshevik strategy for taking over a party: declare any deviation from the party line to be treason, then show up at meetings and yell and holler until all reasonable people throw up their hands and leave. i'm sure the left is just as bad, but i'm on the rightward side of things and can't stand these people. just one of many reasons i abandoned the GOP and became libertarian long ago.

    June 11, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Jeb will never be invited to FoxLies now.

    June 11, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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