Jeb Bush caused a stir this week when he said partisanship in Washington had gone too far. If that doesn’t sound like news, what really drew attention was the former Florida governor’s apparent belief his father and Ronald Reagan would find it difficult to become the GOP nominee these days.
I say “apparent” because Bush’s statement, in an interview with Bloomberg, included one enormous qualifier. Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have trouble with today’s GOP, the younger Bush said, “if you define the Republican Party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.”
Well, that settles that!
The notion that Reagan, at least, would be spurned by the contemporary GOP is odd. In 1980 he was considered far more conservative than the elder Bush, who succeeded him as the Republican standard bearer. Nothing about nominees Bob Dole (1996) or John McCain (2008) places them to Reagan’s right. Even George W. Bush was less aggressive than