Jeb Bush On Dysfunctional Politics
Yesterday, former Republican governor of Florida, Jeb Bush made some very refreshing comments. He abandoned the usual “our side is always right and their side is always wrong” meme and spoke his mind. He also called the current partisan climate “disturbing”. Amen.
“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan suport,” he said. Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.”
Bush cited, in particular, “the budget deal my dad did, with bipartisan support — at least for a while — that created the spending restraint of the ‘90s,” a reference to a move widely viewed now as a political disaster for Bush, breaking a pledge against tax increases and infuriating conservatives. It was, Bush said, “helpful in creating a climate of more sustainted economic growth.”
In Ronald Reagan’s first year as governor of California he cut spending and raised taxes in order to balance the budget. George Bush also acknowledged that sometimes tax hikes are necessary. Unfortunately, in today’s GOP you have to sign the Norquist Pledge if you want any chance of getting elected.
Currently, 236 of 242 Republican Congressmen and 40 of 47 Republican Senators have signed this pledge. It makes bipartisanship a little difficult when the overwhelming majority of Republicans have already sworn not to raise taxes or eliminate deductions.
Bush also had praise for Rep. Paul Ryan for proposing a budget and disdain for Democrats for refusing to engage it.
“It’s all about talking points rather than engagement,” he said of Congressional hearings on the Ryan budget, during one of which, he said, he was grilled by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chairwoman.
As conservatives have been correctly pointing out, the Democrats are also guilty of putting politics ahead of problem solving. Not a single Democrat in congress voted for Obama’s latest budget proposal and they have yet to make honest attempts at entitlement reform.
Of course the suggestion that the GOP has become too extreme for men of compromise – like Ronald Reagan and George Bush – has made Power Line very unhappy. Release the attack dogs…
There’s a certain amount of ingratitude here. Reagan made the Bushes on the presidential level. But for Reagan, neither George Bush would likely have made it to the Oval Office. That’s probably a source of resentment for a justly prideful family. And it underscores how the selection of George H.W. Bush as the running mate in 1980 was arguably Reagan’s biggest political mistake.