GOP should be ‘Closed for repairs,’ says Dole
May 26th, 2013
11:49 AM ET
1 year 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. Patriot

    Interesting that the IRS probe into the Tea Party 501 (C) 4's started under Bush. I believe that the conservative power brokers of that time... Rove, Murdock, Koch, and even Newt were scared to death of the Tea Party and wanted to shut them down; knowing how badly the Republicans would loose the election if the TP held sway.

    May 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Uncle Sam

    Why does no one ask why the GOP has moved to the right?

    May 26, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. just wondering

    ah yes the new republican party.... the party of stupid

    May 26, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Sgt. Pepper

    Not "Closed for Repairs" but rather "This Property is Condemned."

    May 26, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. David Garrett

    If the political right wasn't bent on destroying freedom, democracy, and, well, pretty much all the planet, this story would be comical. Ronald Reagan is directly responsible for the state of the GOP. He planted the seeds and this is exactly the result intended. Granted, neither Nixon or Reagan or any moderately right-of-center politician could find a home in the modern GOP, but, again, that is not even remotely surprising.

    May 26, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. ST

    That doesn't surprise anyone. Who expected the Party full of wacko birds, who can not:
    - hear anything
    - see anything
    - learn anything
    - are not considerate at all
    - not co-operative in everything
    - think they know everything while they do not
    can be or act like the once respected and appreciated GOP?

    May 26, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Greg

    The GOP's main plank in their platform is to opposse anything Obama wants. There is nothing Obama could or can do to change that. Unfortunately, the GOP has drifted so far to the right that being centrist is now "left wing." Add to that the GOP mentality that compromise is a dirty word. The party resembles a religious faction. They sustain on anti-democratic gimmicks; anti-voter measures, gerrymandering, unlimited and secret funding, all to preserve power. They might focus on trying to help the country. Perhaps if they are driven completely from power, they will either reform or spawn a reform party. A party capable of discussing real policy, on the environment, jobs, immigration, inftrastructure, heath care, ect...instead of NRA legislation, anti-gay laws, attacking a pregnant woman's choice (a very difficult issue, I agree, but in the end I do not see the State forcing unwanted pregnancies to term a good thing).

    May 26, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. juggerdad 831

    If the GOP doesn't accept the changing demographic of the country, realistically tackle relevant issues & disassociate itself from the Tea Party and Fox News, the Democratic Party won't even have to campaign to win the next 50 elections. It's time to grow up, people...

    May 26, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Nathan

    Look up the Whigs. Thats where the GOP is headed

    May 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Danram

    Dole is exactly right. If Reagan were running today, the same hard right-wingers who now worship his memory would instead be disparaging him as 'just another RINO".

    The single best thing that the Republican Party could do for itself would be to tell all the Bible-thumping, hard-right Tea Party types to get lost.

    May 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. HenryMiller

    As long as "closed for repairs" includes purging the homophobic, misogynistic, religious nuts.

    There was an era when I could get along with the Republicans, but between their repressive "social values" would-be tyrannies, their foreign policy paranoia, and their Democrat-like repudiation of sensible fiscal policy, we've long gone our separate ways.

    May 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. mabel floyd

    i think the repubs are too damaged to repair. they made the wigs look up to date on social issues
    these people would rather see the country destroyed than to govern in comprise.
    i even heard one repub call the civil war the "war of northern aggression against the south"-wow
    i think the next traitor who wants to leave the USA should be given a ticket and a stipend after canceling their citizenship.

    May 26, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. NYVeteran

    I have been saying this for 10 years and could not agree more. Its the reason I am no long in the GOP. They are a catch all for the lunatic right fringe and its also Reagan's fault for advocating the big tent theory. Neo-Conservatives belong in their own tent – one with padding wearing jackets that tie in the rear. Neo cons started the pointless Iraq war that destabilized the middle east. Neo cons are threatening the existence of our democracy. Its time for reasonable men to speak up. Thank you Mr. Dole.

    May 26, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Patrick

    1) You can't blame Obama for gridlock and say he isn't communicating with the GOP, when the GOP has stated very explicitly that they will not work with him on *any* issues. Even if its a reasonable proposal, they will vote against it just to make him look bad. Their stated goal was to make him a one-term president. In stead of focusing on the citizens and the country, they're playing petty politics.
    2) The GOP (or any political party) shouldn't be focused on itself (ie how to 'rehabilitate' itself). It should be focused on serving the people and the country. If the GOP's stances on the issues only have the support of a small minority of the people, then let Darwin's theory take over and let it die. Another political party that has support of a large number of people will emerge. The GOP is missing its purpose.
    3) The GOP looks back with nostalgic naivety at the Reagan presidency, like it was Camelot or something. There were *many* problems with that presidency too.... Iran-Contra anyone???

    May 26, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. wcb

    Leadership doesn't just entail having the ability to bring two sides together, it also involves knowing when to fight and to identify and destroy the enemy.

    May 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. LoboLoco

    Bob's right, the real question is where do you start? If the gop would field a candidate who is isn't self absorb, narcissist like romney. The whole field of gop candidates in the 2012 was like watching the world championship series o used car salesman. yuk. From man dog michelle b. to rickie ranger santorum if felt like you needed to cross yourself while kissing the cross to save from those devils.

    May 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. stuj

    As a not quite as old but still white and pasty guy from KS I have listened to Mr. Dole most of my life. I am glad that he has spoken up and pointed out 'some' truth. My former party is broken for sure but I think it can be fixed. The first step is informing tea party types they need to move on. If they want their own party – its a free country. They have done a lot for the Dems by dividing the Republican party. For that I give a tip of the hat.

    On the ending of his comment ... whenever someone states inner directed thoughts then amends a 'but' the message sounds insincere. Blaming President Obama for not bridging a gap with people that openly say they will do ANYTHING to make him fail is wrong. He should stick to the subject of repairing the party and not include other non-related topics. It makes it sound to much like politics as usual, which I think is what Mr. Dole is saying needs to change.

    Oh yea, in light of the weekend holiday – thanks to all those that have given their lives for our wonderful country. God bless them all, past and future.

    May 26, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Sal

    It"s the tea party weirdos that have screwed up the republican party! Look at some of the freaks that they helped get into office, Sanford, R. Paul, T. Cruz, M. Bachman. Well there ya go, and that's just some of them! 

    May 26, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. John

    How about "Closed for Replacement", since that is what will happen. There are still many real Americans who believe everyone has the right to choice. The Fleabags have one intention, to dominate and control, and to throw anything different from themselves.

    May 26, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. michael

    Closed for repairs! I like that! I think they're in disrepair right now! Their only hope is to redistrict all of America, manufacture as many scandals as possible, blast incendiary rhetoric as much as possible, be anti-Obama, label the President as socialist and distributionist, be anti-government, maintain a position of non-cooperation and non-compromise, bring down the economy, do not pass any jobs or infrastructure bills, and plan for more Wars! Well, they tried all the above! Lost the presidential election and learned NOTHING!

    May 26, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. eddhur

    if he had sad something good about the GOP it wouldn't be a story here

    May 26, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. DERASA

    Doesn't he is close for repairs yet?....News come from Fox, critizing Obama like good old GOP. What's new?

    May 26, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. DustyOnes

    Start by getting rid of the hate network MSNBC

    May 26, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. ZQ

    Bob Dole is right about the GOP needing to be closed for repairs and then goes right back to being a part of the problem by saying it is Obama's fault. Cmon Bob, be brave enough to admit the the obstructionism is coming from the right. That is where the problem lies.

    May 26, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Duh

    Sorry, but Republicans can only comprehend emotion, not logic.

    May 26, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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