Jeb Bush warns Romney and Republicans: change your ways to be more like Reagan

The GOP ignores Jeb Bush's advice and attacks instead. A case of, Photo: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is under attack AP

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2012 — Jeb Bush might be able to save the Republican Party from itself, if it would only listen. A big If. Right now, the GOP’s response has been to flog the heretic for saying what so many moderate Republicans are thinking: This isn’t my dad’s Republican Party.

Here’s what Jeb had to say that threw the Right into a frenzy, condemning his words as blasphemy to Republican orthodoxy:

“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.

President George H. W. Bush with wife Barbara AP

“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support.” Reagan, he added, “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.”

Poppy Bush Contradicts Jeb

Then daddy, President George H. W. Bush, had to step into the fray, undermining his son by saying, “I know what he’s getting at, but I don’t think it would be difficult.” And I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy, Mr. President.

Poppy Bush not withstanding, Jeb knows a thing or two about winning elections, running government, and working across the aisle. And over the past  few months, he has become more vocal about his disappointment in his own party.

There is little doubt he is heartsick at what is happening to the GOP. Sure he blames Democrats and Obama for not being bipartisan enough and even tweeted a bit of a retreat on his harsh assessment of the pickle the Republicans have gotten themselves in, thanks to the Tea Party and Grover Norquist yanking GOP strings and purse strings.

If anything, Jeb wants the Republican Party of his dad and President Ronald Reagan back. He is trying to reclaim the soul of the GOP, but it may too late. Sadly, it all began when his brother President George W. sold out real conservative principles, allowing the likes of Dick Cheney to run the show. After that it, it was easy for the holier-than-thou Tea Party to seize control, declaring the problem with government was government and not with the man who gave the government away to the Fat Cats.

But Jeb isn’t going there. Instead he is waxing nostalgic for the good old days of Dad and Saint Ronnie. Yet he isn’t entirely wrong. Someone, including Jeb himself, should have spoken up two years ago before the GOP went careening off into the dark woods of extremism, preaching politics over people. 

Maybe Jeb was waiting for the moderates in his party like Senators Dick Lugar, Olympia Snow, Orrin Hatch, or former RNC chair Michael Steele to speak up. Lugar and Snow are soon to be gone and Hatch has sold his soul to be re-elected while Steele was shoved out of his chairmanship and now mouths GOP talking points on MSNBC.

Right Wing Bloggers Vilify Jeb

Instead of anyone stepping forward and saying Jeb is making sense, the Right Wing bloggers flew out of the walls and went on a rampage against him, accusing him of everything this side of treason.

Just look at what Grover Norquist had to say about Jeb’s remarks, which he labeled both “foolish” and “bizarre.” You remember Grover, don’t you? He is the mastermind behind the infamous anti-tax pledge known euphemistically as the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that he got most of the Republicans in Congress to sign. Want to know why we have gridlock and animosity in Congress? Look no further than the pledge.

Here’s what Grover had to say about Jeb:

“There’s a guy [Jeb Bush] who watched his father throw away his presidency on a 2:1 [ratio of spending cuts to tax increases] promise. And he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10:1 promise. He doesn’t understand — he’s just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he’s smart. You walk down that alley, you don’t come out. You certainly don’t come out with 2:1 or 10:1.”

Host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough

Norquist then twisted the knife a bit further to the Right: “This is the Republican Party that Reagan created,” insisting that Jeb Bush is out of touch with the views of today’s Republicans. Now that’s what I call foolish talk.

The Duel of Warring Rants

All of these attacks ticked off MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough who gave a fervent defense of Jeb Bush on Morning Joe, praising the Florida Governor for having the courage of his convictions to speak out. His words were scathing:

“You can go online, and act like a jackass, and say what you want to say — now everybody’s calling Jeb Bush a RINO [Republican-In-Name-Only. Just shut the hell up.

“You can stay in your mother’s basement, you can eat your Cheetos, you can type on your denty laptop — that’s all you’ve got. So just keep screaming at your walls down there. You are not the future of the Republican Party. You’re day is done. 

“Jeb Bush’s Republican Party is the party of the future,” he added. “Our day is coming.”

Now if you think that hushed up the anti-Jeb tirades, think again. The Right is now targeting Scarborough. Just read this diatribe from Judson Phillips founder of Tea Party Nation. It’s pretty typical of what the Right is blogging:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

“The elitist, alleged Republicans like Joe Scarborough and Jeb Bush want the grass roots people who did the heavy lifting to go back, sit down and shut up and let the idiots who screwed things up to begin with run everything again.

“Not only no, but HELL NO! If anyone needs to shut up and go away, it is Jeb Bush and Joe Scarborough.”

Will Tea Party zealots continue to scare off moderates who dare to poke their heads out of their rabbit holes? So far there haven’t been any Republican leaders speaking up for Jeb outside of Scarborough. A few weeks back, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, dared to say on national TV that he didn’t think the current GOP would nominate Reagan because he did negotiate with Democrats on immigration and fiscal issues, including raising taxes. However, right this moment, following Jeb’s remarks, it has been mighty quiet from Huckabee.

So considering all of this, what do you think would happen to Mitt Romney if he won the election in November and had to work with the new Republican Party that now dominates Congress? Would Mitt hold his nose and go along to get along, swinging further Right than ever?

Or will he find that his biggest enemies on the Hill are not the Democrats but Republicans who will be yanking his chain? Good luck, Mitt. This is definitely not the party of your daddy, George Romney.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.

To read more on partisan politics go to Republican extremists: How the GOP broke America and called it leadership (VIDEO)

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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