Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is calling for a more moderate Republican Party — one that he says his father George Bush and Ronald Reagan would embrace.
Jeb told reporters on Monday that his father and Reagan would not have agreed with today's GOP, which has been moving more to the right and following a strict adherence to ideology, The New York Times reports.
“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to my dad, they would have had a hard time if you define the Republican Party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement,” Jeb said at a question-and-answer session in Manhattan.
“Back to my Dad’s time or Ronald Reagan’s time,” he went on, “they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support that right now would be difficult to imagine happening.”
Jeb has increasingly become the Republican Party's voice of moderation at a time when the tea party has become increasingly popular and has called for a tighter ideological discipline.
He pointed to Democrats, too, whom he believes are equally entrenched in partisan battles on ideological grounds and added that, “this dysfunction, you can’t say it’s one side or another.”
He cast blame at President Obama saying he had failed as a leader who could unite, particularly in failing to follow the advice of his own partisan panel on the deficit, known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
“It was purely a political calculation,” he said. “He created Simpson-Bowles and then abandoned it at birth.”
Jeb emphasized that he would accept a deal that included revenue increases with spending cuts. He praised his father for having the political courage that Obama has not had, and he pointed to his father's budget deal of 1990 as proof.
That deal included tax increases in spite of the elder Bush's “read my lips, no new taxes” decree.
Some Republicans have said that contributed to George Bush's loss in 1992, but Jeb said, “He didn’t win, but at least he did it.”
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