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. Mark

    Ok, lets face it, the GOP behaves the way they do because it wins – political Darwinism. GOP voters will not vote for someone who even suggests any compromise in they ideology. Ultimately, it is the voters fault. Solutions anyone?? I have one, campaign finance reform. Actually campaign finance elimination, but we could start with reform – Citizen United. This is were it brought us, an unholy alliance between big corporations (who want no regulation), the money they throw around, then used by the politicians to woo a lot of people who can't spend more than time than it takes to read a bumper sticker. Kill Citizens United (and ALL corporate campaign donations )- CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE.

    May 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. frank thomas

    I live in an area of California completely dominated y the far right tea party, we cannot even get bike lanes built,We have a 5,000 plus democratic lead in voter registration, the problem is getting people fire up to vote, we did vote over 6,000 plus Obama.

    May 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. lawless4u

    John do you really think that is the case when you have a couple republican leaders who have publicly said that they will oppose Obama on every issue and that their primary goal was to make sure Obama was a one term president?

    May 26, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. chinaman03

    close for repair? no way, what is the media going to do for the rest of the year? they will have no stand-up materials for their prints and shows. they have to shut down and layoff workers. unemployment will rise. stock markets will crash. china will rise and rule the world. oh, this is actual good.

    May 26, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Paul

    I agree Reagan would not have recognized the new republican party. People forget the influence the evangelical Right had on politics in the 80s and some of the naive intolerance to gays. Equal right for gays would have never been spoken of during theReagan years. Now most republicans agree in principal with equal rights under the law. Equality in adoption, legel benefits, and visitation rights. The word marriage seems to be the sticking point (Chris Christie). The Right of old, pretended to be a small government institution, while increasing the debt (Eric Cantor). The new right is putting its politics first and actually voting by it (Ted Cruz). I applaud their tenacity. The old right was heavy handed in foreign policy, the new right has a more isolationist approach (Rand Paul). The old right was all white, the new right actually is more inclusive, and keeps winning their districts. (Tim Scott, Rose, Rubio) I enjoy this new infighting. After the Bush years, the young Republicans were fed up with the old talk.

    May 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. DE Miller

    Dole is right on point on both points. I support President Obama but I think there is some truth in what Dole says about the President trying harder early on to build bridges, although he faced the most amazingly negative, resentful group ever. Though it would have been very challenging, the president might have made at least a tad of progress on the relationship side. As for the Republicans, they scare the hell out of me. They seem to want the President to fail so badly that they are willing to let the country fail. In the past I have voted across party lines for the best candidate but no longer. Republicans: close for repairs!

    May 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. John in Seattle

    I love the termites comment... the GOP will crumble into dust because its ideas don't work and like termites, they are blind.

    May 26, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. king

    when will these repubs come up with any idea that will move this country forward. their only answer is feeding the rich with more money, get the government out the waand everything will fall into place

    May 26, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. St Xavier

    Dole like many retired politions they need to stay retired especially from speaking about todays activities in government. Times are changing an change is happening, some say for the better an some say for the worst it all depends on who you are. We have different thinking going on now, it's hard to figure who's right an who's wrong this is where we are right now. Reasonable under standing an wisdom needs to be happening, sadly the country is at a stand still for wanting to achieve it's greatness.

    May 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Pete32

    He is right in sense. More than ever, there needs to be a viable opposing force to the big government, top-down control of everything and fiscally clueless economics of the democratic party, but the republicans lately have not been it. Their anti-deficit and anti-debt talk is mostly just that - TALK - and they are shooting themselves in the foot by listening to the social wing of the party. It's fine if you are socially conservative, but that's an individual choice: not a legislative mandate. I so wish the libertarian wing of the GOP would come forward to take the reins, or, simply replace the republicans as the other party. Otherwise, we are heading in the dangerous direction of a one-party system.

    May 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Pete32

    He is right in a sense. More than ever, there needs to be a viable opposing force to the big government, top-down control of everything and fiscally clueless economics of the democratic party, but the republicans lately have not been it. Their anti-deficit and anti-debt talk is mostly just that - TALK - and they are shooting themselves in the foot by listening to the social wing of the party. It's fine if you are socially conservative, but that's an individual choice: not a legislative mandate. I so wish the libertarian wing of the GOP would come forward to take the reins, or, simply replace the republicans as the other party. Otherwise, we are heading in the dangerous direction of a one-party system.

    May 26, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    This is heavy..

    May 26, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Bob

    That's funny, Mr. Dole. You claim the GOP has no room for you or Reagan, but it's Obama's fault for not being able to communicate with these ultraright nut jobs. It's also funny about Obama's golf time, especially compared to the previous occupant of the White House, using the term "occupant" loosely.

    May 26, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. rick

    Please. Our country has averaged one filibuster every decade or so throughout our history. in the first 4 years of Obama's presidency the GOP had over 400. Rather hard to do anything when the opposition is set on obstructionism. This my way or the highway is why there is gridlock.

    May 26, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. CC

    The party of Rush, Faux News, and Romney, maybe he's right.

    May 26, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. rkdres

    All you partisan wackjobs never cease to amaze me.

    May 26, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Tee Darling77

    What? "Closed for repairs"......I closed the GOP wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back. They're full of hate. As far as I am concerned, they're done for good. They're worthless. I closed my book on them wayyyyyyy back in the days!!!

    May 26, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Peter Sprague

    Interesting commentary from a man who understood country first; was a master of bipartisan legislation; and served his country in ways that today's "legislators" ( and I use the word charitably) can only imagine. I was a Republican much of my life when the party had moderate leaders like Percy, Hatfield, Brooke, Scranton, Schweiker etc.Those leaders have been replaced by lugnuts with no world view; no ability to acknowledge nor deal with complexity; and bring no meaningful experience nor wisdom to what are important positions and public forums. Gingrich, Palin, Santorum are an embarrassment to the GOP and the nation.The gerrymandering of congressional districts has assured that the weak, stupid, and uncomprehending Tea Mongers will have locks on House seats for a very long time.Sadly, their strident noise making and obstructionist behavior serves neither their constituents; the GOP; nor their nation. Perhaps even more sadly, their presence assured the election of Obama who is an idealogue and , in many ways the second coming of Jimmy Carter.Both intelligent and well meaning men but totally ineffectual Presidents. Romney might actually won the reelection if he hadn't been required to play to the lunatic and Christian right and the Tea Mongers to get into the finals.It is a sad day when Americans are fed nonsense by MSNBC and Fox, which is controlled by foreign interests.At the end of the day, it is all of us who have allowed our government at all levels to become utterly dysfunctional since, as Jefferson said, ( and I paraphrase without altering his point), "in a democracy the citizens get the government they deserve". Shame on us all .

    May 26, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Name

    This is the system we've created, we've boiled the entire political process down to one motive, winning elections. Nothing else matters as we live in a hyperpartisan winner take all system with so little room to foster cooperation and so much effort required to stay elected that we will live in perpetual gridlock until something drastic happens, i.e. complete campaign finance/voting system overhaul. Think of our system like a tiger. It has evolved to be an efficient killer shedding traits that are unneccesary or inhibitory to its primary function, staying alive by hunting. Our political system is the same way, its shed any trait, such as governance, foresight, cooperation, that has stood in the way of winning elections. Governing has become just what polititions due between elections, most of it fund raising. The republican party isn't broken, its evolved to focus solely on winning elections at any cost and the democratic party has been forced to keep up. Why else would the past election cycle cost close to 6 billion dollars? Why is so much of the news media's focus immediately after an election put on the next upcoming election? Why is the republican party focusing so much on smearing the current administration instead of creating a more popular policy agenda? Why has the current administration dealt with wall street with such kid gloves? It all boils down to the fact that its their election strategy. If you want to see real change it must be systemic. Each party must operate within the system and have no motivation to really change unless the system changes.

    May 26, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Ordinary Average American

    The lack of meaningful action on the part of the predominantly Republican senate is nothing more than making the President look bad because he chooses not to socialize with the Repub fat cats who are so impressed with themselves! They're destroying America to make Obama look bad and it's ridiculous the lengths to which they will go!

    May 26, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Don

    Larry pretty much nailed it up there. The problem with the Republican party is that it has morphed into the party of the rich; to serve only the rich. The days of we're "old,right, and white" are gone forever. Now they have to morph into something they are fundamentally not: a party inclusive of and representative of most people. They have Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Murdock, redistricting and still they lose. They might have to consider an unthinkable premise: that they are just wrong.

    May 26, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. sally

    It's not just the Tea Party that has ruined the GOP. Their unwillingness to advance the people, their emphasis on getting their way, their vicious lies and distortions, and above all, their knee-jerk hatred of the government while, at the same time, giving business the green light to do as they please without regard for the future has shown that this party is too steeped in the laissez faire philosophy to govern.

    May 26, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Rosemary

    This is why I have adored Bob Dole for some 30 years. He's a pragmatist, not an ideologue. His Senate career was spent in forging compromise between Republicans and Democrats. That is statesmanship. That is effective governance.

    May 26, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. shabba shabba

    Agree. Obama could discover a cure for cancer. And Repubs. would say its a liberal vaccine. And vote against it. They are the party of obstruction. Nothing more.

    May 26, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. mommytwice

    Yeah, sure because EVERYTHING is Obama's fault. It has nothing to do with the fact that every member of the GOP wet themselves when a black man won, and pledged publicly to ruin his presidency, maker him a one-termer, and obstruct at every available opportunity. They have made good on the obstructing, yet he's still been able to accomplish more than anyone ever thought he could, given the opposition and refusal to compromise he encountered. Good grief, at least be adult enough to see the damage your party has created, Mr. Dole, and stop taking the coward's way out by blaming the president.

    May 26, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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