GOP should be ‘Closed for repairs,’ says Dole
May 26th, 2013
11:49 AM ET
8 years 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. dgoren1

    I have about given up on politics, because I believe that the Libertarian Party has, by far, the most common sense, but it's never going to get anywhere. I didn't say perfect, but far in line with what I think many Americans stand for, or used to. Most people I know expect everyone to work hard, be responsible,and take care of themselves and their families. They believe that capitalism, in spite of its problems and yes, there is greed and law-breakers, is still the best system we have, and that success shouldn't be scorned and punished, but emulated. We do all we can not to be in debt, and we expect our government to do the same. We believe in doing your best and no, not everyone can be a "winner" all the time. Failing teaches you. Some are religious people and some not, but they don't believe it is right to push their agenda, whether that means Bible thumping or atheist. Live and let live. We may not like the idea of gay marriage, or we may support it, but feel that it really is a private manner. We know we need a government, but don't believe it is the government's place to take care of us. If you want these things, you can't turn to either party.

    May 26, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Freddie


    May 26, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Jo

    Didn't Reagan's son say the same thing – that Reagan wouldn't make it as a Republican today?

    May 26, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Emilio

    Too many Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. What we need are Americans first, party people second.

    May 26, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Lavon

    If GOD himself came out of the cloud to unify and preach sanity to the gop, they would go on faux 'news' and try to have Him impeached. The gop has spun too far out in right field to ever come together for the good of America, indeed I don't think they care about this country or her citizens at all anymore (unless that said citizen is a koch brother or corporate thief).

    May 26, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Solomon Walker

    America needs the GOP and the Democratic party to disappear.
    Whigs, anyone?

    May 26, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. cindypress

    It's the opinion of a loser

    May 26, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Walrus Mustache

    The GOP is DOA. They need a total make-over. Ditch the haters, stop sucking on the tit of corporate America. Fire the tea baggers and realize that America is no longer white only. That would be a good start.

    May 26, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Patrick in Minnesota

    What repairs? You mean rebuilding the same platform that failed them time and time again? OK, Republicans, if you don't want to win elections, that's fine by me.

    May 26, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. joyce m. small

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. When Dole-Kemp were running there was no
    place for those 2 guys in the GOP! One thing the GOP could do though
    is drop "it's my turn" mindset. Whoever dserves the nomination
    through hard work should get it. As for chaning the GOP..what is
    changing the country or the party? I must say if the country changes
    so should the political parties. It wasn't long ago that the only
    word that described the Democats was the L word..liberal.

    May 26, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. truth

    both parties should be abolished along with their masters in The Federal Reserve. All they've done is whatever their lobbyists say to do and thumb their nose at the voters. Their divide and conquer strategy of partisan bickering has us at each other's throats while behind the scenes they're laughing all the way to the Banks.

    Ask yourself why we have millionaire politicians and a record deficit, then you'll see who stole the money.

    May 26, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Dave

    The last respectable Republican. Would love to go back to 1996.

    May 26, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. neken7

    I agree that Obama should have made more of an effort in his first term to get closer to Congress, however at the current time I'm not sure there's anything he could do to bring Republicans to the table. I mean, if the Republican party is in such a crisis right now that not even Ronald Reagan would be able to make it, how is a Democratic President supposed get anywhere? They spent the first couple years arguing that he wasn't even a US Citizen, and since then they've been calling him a socialist, communist, Muslim, and accuse him daily of trying to wreck the country. It's like asking someone to learn to play nice with a rabid bear, it's just not going to happen.

    May 26, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Steve

    It's a sad comment by Dole that Reagan would not be accepted by the current GOP. He is right on. The party has gone over the edge and there is no saving it. A couple more elections should seal the deal. Without political power its donor base will dry up.

    May 26, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. dc

    Republicans from top to bottom are the cause of their own deaths. McConnell flaunted his now-known-to-be stupid "one termer" comment when he established the Party of No. Look where it got him and all other Republicans. Obama is by no means the best Democrat but he is eons ahead of the greatest Republican to ever live if such ever existed. I have no sympathy for them as long as they keep dusting off the likes of Dole and McConnell and Boehner to do their talking. If I could not find better spokesmen, I would simply hush and hide lest even more stupidity come upon me in public!

    May 26, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Willy Nilly

    Mr. Dole has something important to say. Just because some of you don't want to hear it don't make it less important. The Repubs screwed themselves by putting up a barrier to the President right at the start. Once they made it plain that they were against everything regardless of the benefit to the American people, they became irrelevant. I would like a choice again but I don't think the Republicans are smart enough to offer one. Their loss, again and again. And for those of you who think that the old have nothing to offer, you once again separate yourself from much of the world where the old and their wisdom are treasured and respected. Shame on you.

    May 26, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Mel Stricker

    If the people commenting and everyone else want to fix the Republican Party, it is easy. Vote out all Tea Party people and their extremist allies and vote in moderate Republicans and there your are, the Republican Party is fixed.

    May 26, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. mittens

    News flash: Instead of being concerned about the party, why not do something to help the American people. Why do you think they lost!

    May 26, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. JohnK

    I'm just saying that Dole's insights to the party are spot on but again his attempt to lay blame at Obama's feet for Congress' digressions is just the kind of cheap shot in would not have expected from an elder statesman such as Dole but is indicative of our current group of our politicians who only practice division and cheap partisan games. Obama can't fix what lobbyists and Corporations have ruined.. It takes an informed citizen casting an informed vote for representatives that won't enact legislation that rewards their sponsors for supporting their political campaigns. Congressional campaigns for reelection are expensive endeavors and incumbent or first time aspirants desiring to unseat an incumbent representative need tons of cash to succeed. They don't get this cash from the average citizen, they get it from corporate and lobby efforts to sustain their hold in Washington under the guise of your vote and support for them. Congress is a pig at a cash trough! They reward those who keep it full so they can drink their fill and take a good crap on your right to an existence.

    May 26, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Ross

    Thanks Senator. I totally agree. President Reagan, you, George Romney, Alan Simpson, Howard Baker, etc. could never make the GOP cut these days and while that is sad in away you all don't need to be associated with these wing nuts who won't even negotiate on the budget. I wish you had been more of yourself when you and Jack Kemp (my GOP hero) ran and perhaps you could have won it. Whatever thanks for speaking out. We are proud of you!
    Ross former Republican

    May 26, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Smarterestest Human

    That's funny when one of their own acknowledges how broken their party is...hahahaha

    May 26, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Bill

    More Republicans need to speak up like Dole. Of course, the far right that have hijacked the party will dismiss him as an old fool, but in truth, as the party becomes more extreme and pushes to the far right, they become less appealing to mainstream America. Sure, you'll get your loyal partisan supporters to vote for you, but so will the Dems. Elections will be won by the independents, like me, and right now we look at the GOP as a fringe party dominated by some extreme people who have no business in elected office.

    May 26, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. GFRF

    He's right!
    The Repubs don't seem to 'get' the Liberal/Socialist agenda.
    Get rid of McCain.

    May 26, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. mittens

    Dole looks like he stepped out of a Dr. Seuss book!

    May 26, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Marie

    The minority in the minority seems to be holding the American people hostage. And their leaders are Ted Cruze or Cruise and that fella from FLA. I thought the majority ruled but I guess not. Wakos like these two are the male counterparts of Michelle Bachman and the dummy from Alaska who can see Russia from her front porch while grinding live birds in her backyard..

    May 26, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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