GOP should be ‘Closed for repairs,’ says Dole
May 26th, 2013
11:49 AM ET
11 months ago

GOP should be ‘Closed for repairs,’ says Dole

(CNN) – National Republicans have shifted so drastically in the past decade that the party’s most vaunted figure - former President Ronald Reagan - would no longer find a home in the GOP, former Sen. Bob Dole claimed Sunday.

“Reagan couldn’t have made it,” Dole said, adding he too would also have faced challenges in today’s Republican Party.

Instead of operating day-to-day in a nonelection year, the national party should focus on broader plans to rehabilitate itself after the losses of 2012, the former Kansas lawmaker said.

“I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says ‘Closed for repairs’ until New Year’s Day next year. Spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole, who was the Republican nominee for president in 1996, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

MORE: Republicans want to end perception as 'stuffy old men'

He also assigned blame for Washington’s current state of gridlock to President Barack Obama, who he argued was failing to bridge divides between the capital’s ideological camps.

“I think that the president, he lacks communication skills with his own party, let alone the Republican Party. And he’s on the road too much,” Dole said, quipping Obama was a “good golfer.”

“I think one mistake he’s made was not getting together more with Congress early on in his first administration. There's nothing like knowing the person you are talking to on the telephone, if you had an opportunity to sit down with that person and visit - not about anything, but just visit."


Filed under: Bob Dole • Republican Party
soundoff (469 Responses)
  1. Wally Lind

    There is nothing wrong with the GOP, if it can get it's base out, and stick to it's conservative message. We don't need to pander. Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan have got it about right. I don't know that I would be giving any illegal aliens any citizenship, but the party is big enough for differing views without tearing it apart. The democrats aren't. They are lockstep totalitarians, we don't have to be like that. We don't need litmus tests. If you fiscally conservative, for limited constitutional government you should be more than welcome in the GOP. We DON"T need to pander to minorities, just respect them. If they want a handout, we aint their party. Not now, not ever! They NEED a hand, that's another matter, we are your neighbors, not your patsies.

    May 27, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. simplyput

    Well, we can now definitively say that we can see the eyes of the haters, and they are dims. This is no country for old women any more than it is no country for old men...I agree with the poster that projected Weiner/Holder 2016. You sheeple are so loaded on kool-aid you can't walk straight, not that that matters to you. When Big Data has the WH you can relax and be the plastics you really are.

    May 27, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  3. Lizard Lance

    If Obama asked for legislation declaring oxygen to be the official air of human life, the Ted Cruzes, the Rand Pauls, the Paul Ryans, the Lindsey Grahams, and Mitch McConnells would oppose it. They oppose anything and everything the president stands for. They are anti-American jerks who should go find another country to reside in!

    May 27, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  4. QuietStormX

    Ahhhhhhhh, it takes two to tangle not just one. When the lowly GOP said one thing but said another many of times. If they had tried to work with President Obama. It's the lowly GOP who have not done anything but try to blame things on the President. The lowly GOP keeps looking at the next election then trying to get the Nation Right. It's so much stalled in Congress because of the lowly GOP.

    May 27, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  5. Name Uche Agonsi

    Communication is a two-way act which could be frustrated by dirts(defined as unwanted items in the art). The real problem is the GOP interest that have shifted from National consideration to Lobbysts....& the basic GOPers sworn desires not to see the Obama Administration achieve any success. Dole should have tried an analogy between the Clinton Administration & Obama,s in the art of communication..... If President Obama finds it easier to communicate with the people, the question is rather why is this different with Congress.

    May 27, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  6. Bob

    Dole correctly describes the current GOP.

    And if neither he nor Reagan could do Business with them, how could he expect Obama to do so?

    Dole played politics with the Clinton impeachment...doing nothing while the earlier version of the nutcake factory led by Gingrich led a self-destructing political kamikaze charge.....that hurt the GOP.

    The country has moved on. There is no majority of idiots from the right to win national elections.

    The best political strategy for the GOP is to do what their governors are doing: fix bridges, pave roads, build and improve schools.

    They can't get their heads out of their hindquarters long enough to pursue Reagan policies.

    May 27, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  7. brian

    Obama should socialize with Republicans? Those country club Republicans won't let him join the club because of the color of his skin. Those Republican country clubs are also one reason more than 90% of Jews vote Democratic. Bob Dole should open his eyes.

    May 27, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  8. Don DaMiddle

    It doesn't take "communication skills" to work with the GOP today.
    It takes MONEY. The GOP only serves the Lobbyists who fund their campaigns.
    They sign "PAC Pledges" (in exchange for bribes) to serve Lobbyists before America.
    You can't negotiate Bi-Partisan legislation with a corrupt party.

    May 27, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  9. Nils

    Amen, we switched to Independent last fall. There are two things wrong with our current system of two primary parties: one is the Democrats, the other is the Republicans. We need a viable third party movement to shake up these two parties. The Democrats are totally fiscally and socially irresponsible while the Republicans are chewing on each other. Too many in both parties don't realize we are a Republic, not a democracy. Polls and the whims of the populace are their conscience vs firm moral constitutional based actions. The media is a co-conspirator with its biased coverage and lack of aggressive investigative journalism. It should be an independent auditor but instead it allows political bias to taint its reporting.

    May 27, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  10. Vence

    Nothing is wrong according to GOP. Stay the course!!

    War on immigrants 2.0
    War on women 3.0
    War on gays 4.o
    War on the 47%

    May 27, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  11. Antony

    The GOP faces the same problem as their adversaries. An ignorant voter-base forces them to make hardline decisions that swing well to the right of anything sensical. They can't discuss abortion, they can't discuss taxes, they can't discuss guns, they can't discuss health-care, because the second they do they're branded as moderates and doomed.

    May 27, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  12. What a bunch of bull!

    Obama is president because NOBODY could have defeated him - not a "repaired" GOP - NOT Hillary Clinton - NOT anyone who was NOT African American! This had nothing to do with Obama himself being smart or special - it ONLY had to do with Obama being a so-called African American - and some bleeding hearts felt it was time for such a person to "make" the final grade. It was a historical drama of the worst kind, and Obama is just a fortunate bystander. And Dole is a totally irrelevant boob by now!

    May 27, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  13. albie

    I would consider voting republican again if... and only if ... they get rid of all of their religious ties

    May 27, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  14. Tom

    I think the sign on the Republican National Committee door should read "closed for an enema."

    May 27, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  15. No support

    With all due respect Mr Dole, how is it that you can say that you wouldn't be welcome in today's republican party and somehow you feel that Obama would get any more respect than you? It is a different party now, it is a much more hostile group of angry white haired men. They have little regard for their constituents and operate on the assumption that trash talk wins elections.

    May 27, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  16. Catori

    As soon as moderate Republicans run as Independents against Tea Party candidates, the GOP will start to get a clearer idea of what it's supporters want.

    May 27, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  17. Anon

    What is he talking about Obama hasn't tried to reach across the aisle? Democrats have been angry that he's tried way too hard to no avail. The GOP has made zero effort to work with Obama or look at their failures and learn from them. The party is broken in so many ways that they need to just skip an election and try to figure out what they actually stand for. It's certainly not fiscal responsibility. They've increased our deficits more than any democrats. They have the most disparate voting groups because they don't have a unified message. They pander to every demographic they think can get votes. I can't remember the last time a Republican introduced a bill that helped the majority of Americans. Democrats aren't perfect, but the Republicans want to vote to increase the interest payments for college loans at a time when the economy sucks and India and China are real threats to our workforce? There is no argument for that being a good idea. They just have no idea what they want to accomplish.

    May 27, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  18. BeverlyNC

    The Republican Party should be abandoned for at least 15 years while the extremists grow too old to be relevant to anyone. We need a whole new Republican Party who knows who they are, has defined serious policies, leaders with character, integrity, morals, and humanity, and respect for ALL people regardless of color, race, ethnicity, wealth, job title and realize corporations are destructive, greedy, non-patriotic betrayers of our nation, our economy, and our workers. This groups of Republicans are beyond "repair". They are so full of hate, so willing to cheat and lie, not one is worthy or capable of any leadership or ability to put the People first.

    May 27, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  19. Name willard

    Federal appeals court is backing the Goverment descison not to relase photo and video take bin laden durning and after a raid in which the terroist lead was killed by us commando
    The court said that the cia properlty witheld pubication of the image
    The court conculed that the photo used the conduct facial recogoniation aNalysis of bin laden could reveal class field intellgance methods and that image of bin laden burial at sea could trigger violence against amercian citziens

    May 27, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  20. Trevor

    They're (GOP) pretty much everything they're fighting against. But most people don't see that. Too bad for them.

    May 27, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  21. mountainlady

    I don't register as an independent because it leaves me out of too many primaries. I've been voting for over 40 years and have watched candidates come and go. I've never seen a Republican Party like the one we have today. I've actually voted Republican on a couple of rare occasions because they were the best candidate and I always prided myself on voting based on issues rather than party. I can't do that anymore. The current GOP is so extreme and unrecognizable that I have to vote Democrat no matter what. The right wing fringe are holding our nation hostage to their extreme ideology and in a fast moving world, I fear for the future of our country. We can't afford to be frozen in political gridlock while the rest of the world moves on. Are there any GOP moderates with the guts to stand up to the Tea Baggers?

    May 27, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  22. Thomas

    Thank you Karl Rove .

    You created the TeaPlague and now you can nolonger control it !

    May 27, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  23. Stephen

    Bob Dole is right about needing to be closed for repairs! The GOP lost touch with reality in recent years. Their focus seems to be endless wars, expanding national security at the expense of personal privacy, deregulation, and allowing the CEOs and corporate execs to go on a rampage unchecked. They are also into less taxes and more tax breaks for the wealthiest who don't need them (Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffett admit this). Their focus on austerity measures and removing funding for domestic programs makes them lose even more. Lastly, the GOP struggled in the last administration in failure to respond to a rampant epidemic of mortgage fraud (The regulators could have stopped it before it caused a meltdown), and to a major disaster (Hurricane Katrina).

    I think the GOP could rebuild by:

    1) Supporting a balanced budget
    2) Be willing to fund the federal programs that work well that the majority of the general public want and the majority of the public are willing to pay for
    3) Balance privacy with national security (The patriot act went too far)
    4) Take a pro-earth approach to environmental issues
    5) A better response plan for disasters
    6) Don't start unnecessary wars and if one is necessary, put more planning into managing it rather than rush in
    7) Support reasonable regulations to protect the economy against fraud based crashes and be willing to hold the top level execs accountable when fraud is committed
    8) Be willing to support policies that benefit the middle and lower classes of society even when it isn't the most profitable for corporate execs sometimes.
    9) Stop mixing religion with politics
    10) More effort to attract minorities, women, and the young to the party, and be willing to supports efforts they value.

    May 27, 2013 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  24. Angela

    I used to be a republican. IT is now the party of nuts and loons. Eisenhower would be a Democrat today as would Nixon and probably even Reagan, though I have scant respect for him.
    As for the notion of tomariner that Democrats don't love their country, out of his tiny mind both Democrats and Republicans love the country. As for enemies, Well we had a GOP president who was ineffective at getting rid of our enemies, trotted off and invaded a nation that had done nothing to us. Then we got a democratic president who actually has been getting rid of our enemies. Working with allies and getting the job done, sure beats swaggering and chest thumping, just efficiently doing the job.

    May 27, 2013 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  25. Edwin

    Dole was always a class act. I'm not convinced Obama could have gotten the GOP to work with him on, well, ANYTHING - they said their primary goal was to make him a one-term president, and they did everything in their power to try and make it happen - but I do think that Obama has been focused a bit too much on his own image.

    Of course, when the other party openly despises and disrespects you as much as the GOP has towards Obama, a little narcissism might be necessary to offset that hostility.

    May 27, 2013 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
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