The venerated Ronald Reagan may not have been able to reach the presidency in today’s Republican party, Jeb Bush said during a meeting with Bloomberg reporters in New York City on Monday morning.
Bush labeled the nation’s partisan bickering “disturbing,” placing much of the blame on the way President Obama conducted his first term.
“His first year could have been a year of enormous accomplishment had he focused on things where there was more common ground,” Bush said, according to Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith.
“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support,” Bush said, adding that Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.”
Bush portrayed his father and Reagan’s penchant for reaching across the aisle to achieve their political goals as out of style compared with Washington’s “temporary” partisan fervor, and said such tendencies would have lead to a difficult path toward the presidential nomination.
“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,” he said.
The former Florida governor took a critical look at Mitt Romney’s position on immigration, using it as an example of partisan influence within the party. Saying the former Massachusetts governor put himself “in somewhat of a box” during the primaries, Bush advised that he take a “broader and more intense approach.”
“It’s just a different environment left and right,” Bush said, seizing upon the response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) budget proposal as an example of partisanship on the Democratic side.
“It’s all about talking points rather than engagement,” he said of the congressional proceedings following Ryan’s proposal, which has been endorsed by Romney.
Bush, who has been considered by some to be a possible running mate for Romney, has consistently tried to quell such speculation.
“I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to be asked. And it’s not going to happen,” he told CBS’ Charlie Rose on Thursday.
During the same interview, Bush said that 2012 “was probably my time” to run for the presidency.