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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Featured | 8 comments

Bob Dole: He, Reagan and Nixon Wouldn’t Have Made It In Today’s Republican Party (UPDATED)

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Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bob Dole has now articulated what many moderate Republicans and traditional conservatives have long said: neither he, nor Richard Nixon nor Ronald Reagan would make it in today’s Republican Party:

Dole said in his Fox News interview that he isn’t sure there would be a place for him and other big-time Republicans of his generation, like Presidents Reagan and Nixon, in the current GOP.

“Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it,” said Dole, who called himself a “mainstream conservative Republican.”

And, using his famous sarcasm, he had some choice words for the RNC as well:

“I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs, until New Year’s Day next year, and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole said about the current state of his party.

Not that Dole absolves President Barack Obama:

The former majority leader also said that President Obama had squandered an opportunity to govern better by not reaching out more to lawmakers during his first term.

And he seems dismayed by the performance of the Senate:

“It seems almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget, or legislation,” said Dole, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996. “We weren’t perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done.”

Doles comments merely put out into the open feelings many Americans feel about the current Republican Party, which seems to now be responsible mostly to the desires of talk show hosts and Tea Party members.

Any “givens” about politics moving in a certain direction using past examples are now inoperative.

In fact, pick the most extreme It Ain’t Gonna Happen response of the GOP, place a bet on it in Vegas and you can probably pay off the mortgage on your house.

The lingering question is: exactly what parts of the population will the current Republican Party use to make up for losing people who may feel the way Bob Dole does — people who may feel they’d rather stay home than vote for a party that seems to be directed by talk show hosts and Tea Party members? If the party is losing among emerging demographic groups and alienating those who may agree with Bob Dole where does it make up a)the loss and b)add new voters to its coalition?

Providing, that is, it wants to win.

>Follow more blog reaction HERE.

More broadly, Dole’s comments will likely fall upon deaf ears inside the GOP itself. Although he was considered quite conservative during his time in office, the way the party has moved pretty far to his right since he left politics. Additionally, conservatives now view his 1996 defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton as proof for their (largely invalid) hypothesis that the GOP only wins when it nominates “conservative” candidates for President. Of course, the reality is that Clinton was likely unbeatable that year given his own popularity at the time and the state of the economy. Nonetheless, Dole has a point here. The GOP has become far too rigid in its ideology and essentially now acts in a manner that makes Congress nearly ungovernable. And I say that as someone who has never really been much of a Bob Dole fan.

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • Smooth Jazz

    “Doles comments merely put out into the open feelings many Americans feel about the current Republican Party, which seems to now be responsible mostly to the desires of talk show hosts and Tea Party members.”

    To be sure, I’ve heard the same thing about the other side as well; namely, that strong on defense, moderate Dems of yesteryear such as Scoop Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Samm Nunn, among others wouldn’t fit in today’s radicalized Dem Party. Just watch MSNBC for a few hours a day and you would see what I mean about a radicalized Dem Party. The Rep isn’t the only party with kooks and zelaots – There are a bunch in the Dem Party as well, inside & outside Congress.

    Notwitstanding a couple recent polls from Obama friendly media entities that has Obama around 50%, he barely won the last election, and since then has not exactly come across as someone in charge. Most polls have him around the mid 40% these days, and his ObamaCare monolith is just about to rear its ugly fangs just in time for the 2014 elections. Just wait until the 2014 Midterms. I think a LOT more Dems will be saying what Dole is saying about the Dem party.

  • dduck

    I watched the Dole interview and shed a tear or two for this brave guy that I always liked. True, he, Nixon and Regan would be shut out of the present party, but then again maybe they could have snuck or broken in. Great patriot.

  • jdledell

    Smooth Jazz – I cannot agree with your comment that today’s Democratic party is “radicalized”. I find Obama quite moderate. Aside from Obamacare what have the Democrats done that is so radical. Just remember that the origins of Obamacare came from Republicans like the Heritage Foundation, embraced by Nixon and implemented by Romney in Mass. Obama’s foreign policy seems quite conservative – not much different that Bush. Taxes as a percentage of GNP are as low as the 1950’s when Eisenhower was President. Can you enlighten me specifically on what radical things Obama or Democratic politicians have proposed?

  • cjjack

    Smooth Jazz – I cannot agree with your comment that today’s Democratic party is “radicalized”.

    I agree with your disagreement!

    The rightward shift in the GOP has been almost mirrored by the Democratic party’s shift – not towards the left, but towards the center. Since Jimmy Carter left office, there hasn’t been a genuine liberal Democrat within striking distance of the Oval Office. Bill Clinton was a moderate, Obama has been perhaps even more so, and the presumptive nominee in 2016 – Hillary Clinton – is even less liberal than her former boss or her husband.

    As far as MSNBC goes, if the few hours a day you decide to watch are in the morning, you’ll see a show hosted by a conservative Republican.

    Well, he was once considered a staunch conservative, but in today’s GOP even Joe Scarborough is considered too liberal. And Bob Dole is every bit as conservative as Scarborough.

    So here’s the challenge to those who say the Democrats have become “radicalized”: Which centrist Democrats have been shown the door in favor of left wingers? Where’s the left wing equivalent of the Tea Party, and how many moderate Democrats are being shut out in the primaries in favor of fire-breathing socialists?

  • zephyr

    today’s radicalized Dem Party

    Horse hockey. Obama and today’s dems are moderate. Anyone with a clue and the benefit of hindsight can see this. Agree with Bob Dole that repubs are badly in need of repair – major overhaul that is.

  • SteveK

    This person or GOP BOT, or whatever it is comes by about once a month and says something silly… And then goes away.

    He / she is just trying to get a rise, and never replies to comments. Replying to ‘smooth’ [sic] Shaw ’nuff isn’t worth the effort as all his/her pronouncements are absurd on their face… No comment necessary.

  • zephyr

    Right you are Steve. It’s classic drive by.

  • ROBERT COUTINHO

    I have to disagree with Mr. Dole about the president reaching out during his first term. He virtually begged on his knees to get Republicans to help craft the ACA (healthcare act), the Democratic Party GAVE the Republicans some of their wishes (Notice that there is no public option, anyone?, anyone?) and no Republican voted for it anyways!

    Reality 101: The Republican Party decided that they would not support anything that Obama did. If Obama had wanted to make Christmas a federal holiday, we would probably all get Chanukka off instead.

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