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. itmattersnot

    this s-c-u-m bag is so irrelevant. someone please tell him!

    June 11, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. itmattersnot

    just what the re-pubic-ans need – another loud mouth bush....

    June 11, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. itmattersnot

    just what the repubicans need – another loud mouth bush....

    June 11, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. dnick47

    Any man (or woman) of honor would find it impossible to mesh into today's GOP. Goldwater couldn't. Dirkerson wouldn't have, neither could Teddy Roosvelt, Abe certainly would fit Ms. Smith from Maine, nor Jerry Ford, nor Lugar (which is why he & Hatch are out), either could Nixon who, for all his faults, knew how to strike a deal, Dole is certainly not one of them – recall how he stood up to be counted whe Newt insinuated that Speaker O'Neil was not a patroit! In fact I cannot think of any former Republican that could draw respect and reverence from the opposition even if they fought hook & nail about something meshing with this lynch mob Bonner and McConnel have assembled... no party has been brought so low as the current Republican Party. I am finally agreeing with a Bush – hard to believe.

    June 11, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The choices in this election are clear: Hope and Change vs. Hopelessly Deranged.

    June 11, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. mm

    No matter what Obama would have done or tried, he was destined to fail. It was and is the GOP's goal to see him fail and we as citizens being the collateral damage.

    June 11, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. craig

    Whoa! That's two amazing things rolled into one statement. First, it's a Bush speaking the truth, and second, it's a member of the GOP acknowledging that the current party wouldn't measure up to their hero's requirements. Of course, I'm pretty sure the same could be said about Lincoln, who probably wouldn't fit in the party either. In fact, I dread to think what Lincoln would say about the party today. I DO know he'd be somewhere well beyond severely disappointed.

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

    August comes quickly Jeb. Time to pay for 2010.

    June 11, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Drew Williams

    The problem with today's GOP is that they know the most active members of their base are frightened, angry, reactionary simpletons who can think only in sound bites and slogans. To explain an entire concept that might allow for compromise with another party? Ha, totally beyond them. So the Republican pols don't even try any more.

    June 11, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. vbscript2

    "The choices in this election are clear: Hope and Change vs. Hopelessly Deranged."

    That's true. And we definitely need the change away from the current hopelessly deranged administration.

    June 11, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Reagan was an actor playing his greatest role.

    June 11, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. vbscript2

    "The problem with today's GOP is that they know the most active members of their base are frightened, angry, reactionary simpletons who can think only in sound bites and slogans. To explain an entire concept that might allow for compromise with another party? Ha, totally beyond them. So the Republican pols don't even try any more."

    Incidentally, that's also the problem with today's Democratic Party. At least they do agree on that, I guess. The only difference is that the Republicans' base gets their sound bites from Fox News while the Democrats' base get theirs from MSNBC (and, to a lesser extent, CNN.)

    June 11, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. mommytwice

    Don't know where he gets off placing most of the blame on Obama. The man has tried and tried to compromise, to reach out. He has been smacked down nearly every time. The GOP isn't even remotely interested in working with any Democrat anywhere. They are interested ONLY in unseating the president.

    June 11, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. scoto

    A cabbage would have a hard time meshing with this bunch. Even a dumb cabbage

    June 11, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. h8bogez

    Jeb is right...Reagan was anti gun, he started California down the path to strict gun laws as governor. He also raised taxes over 10 times when the nation needed more revenue. Today's GOP party would not do either of these things.

    June 11, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Bocephus Moonshine

    Finally, a Republican who is willing to tell the truth about Ronald Reagan's legacy of compromising with Democrats. The way some Republicans like to rewrite history and twist the truth of what Reagan accomplished makes me describe Reagan as "'the Republican messiah."

    June 11, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Ronda in Houston,TX

    All the Bushes need to go somewhere far away from politics. Their opinions don't matter anymore.

    June 11, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. rika33

    That's true – the folks who run the parfty now and talk about Reagan all the time only use him to try to justify extreme views to the gulible. I'm just surprised someone on the inside said it out loud.

    June 11, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Norm

    I find it hilarious that Republicans worship this "paid actor" who was hired to play the part of a president back in the 80's.
    Shows how phoney they really are.

    June 11, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. josh gonzalez

    The conservative wing of the GOP is no longer about fiscal responsibility. It's pure anger fueled by hatred for president Obama.

    June 11, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Folks, don't be so surprised about Jeb speaking the truth. If his big brother hadn't decided that he HAD to be President in 2000, Jeb would probably have run in 2004 and won. Jeb is cut more along the lines of his father and grandfather than big brother Dubya was – a serious politician with a more realistic view of himself in relationship to the country.

    But Jeb is definitely on the money. The Republicans he named above were well known for being able to work with the Democrats in getting legislation accomplished. Today's "slash and burn" Republicans got their start from Newt Gingrich and his now infamous tirades before an empty House chamber (thanks to the rules changes associated with C-SPAN we now know that the only other people in the chamber were those also waiting for the only camera time available to them) against the "Liberal Government". He set the pace for the current "No Compromise, No Surrender" tactics of the Republicans in the House and Senate.

    The few Republicans left still adept at the art of compromise are being shoved off to the side as not "Conservative" enough. I guess the Republicans would rather have ideologically pure candidates who lose elections to moderates willing to compromise who could win Independent and conservative-leaning Democratic voters and capture the election.

    June 11, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. KasichFatCat

    What should we expect when the entire primary was about who was more conservative. Could you imagine the Democrats doing the same? For the last 20 years we have watched Republican leap frog each other trying to show who is the most conservative.

    June 11, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Lando

    Precisely...and I could'nt agree more. He is an exceptional Republican and for the good of the country...I may take
    a second look if he run's.

    June 11, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. cedarrapids

    That reagan wouldnt fit into the gop these days isnt news to anyone.

    June 11, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Old Artilley Man

    This is the opening move in his run for the presidency. He realizes that by the time he can actually conduct an open campaign the right wing zealots in the republican party will either have devastated the republican party and/ or the nation if they gain power. If he is going to win he will have to rebuild the republican party into a more centrist and realistic party. This is his move to disassociate himself from them and give the reasonable republicans somewhere to turn to.

    June 11, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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