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Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Politics | 14 comments

Jeb Bush Warns Republican Presidential Hopefuls: You Risk Turning Off Swing Voters

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has issued a polite but firm warning to 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls that they risk turning off middle of the road voters if they are knee-jerk in opposition to Obama and demonize him — once again showing why Jeb Bush had success in winning swing voters and widespread appeal when he ran for office in Florida.

The question is whether his warning will have any impact whatsoever in a Republican Party that today seems most interested in being on the same wavelength as the Tea Party movement and conservative talk show hosts. But Bush’s comments keep hope alive for those who hope to see the Republicans one day offer a less strident and more thoughtful alternative to a Democrat in Presidential campaigns:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush warned the Republican presidential hopefuls against ideological intransigence and knee-jerk opposition to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, saying they risk turning off middle-of-the-road voters.

Asked by Fox News host Neil Cavuto if some Republicans go too far in their criticism of Obama, Bush said flatly, “I do. I think when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, that’s wrong. It turns off people who want solutions.

“It’s fine to criticize him, that’s politics,” said Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, who again reiterated that he won’t run for president himself. “But just to stop there isn’t enough. You have to win with ideas, you have to win with policies. … He’s made a situation that was bad worse. He’s deserving of criticism for that. He’s not deserving of criticism for the common cold on up.”

“If you’re a conservative, you have to persuade. You can’t just be against the president,” he added.

And here’s a little secret: persuading means not always saying things and saying things in a way that the party’s base wants to hear but saying things based on the substantive arguments that could actually change minds.

Bush also showed that he is most assuredly in the same league as many former members of both Bush Presidential administrations and some former members of the Reagan administration as well:

Breaking with the GOP field, Bush said he’d be willing to accept new revenues as part of a deficit-reduction package.

“I think the problems are so severe in this country that leadership is required to find common ground and solutions,” he said.

But he pushed back against billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s suggestion that taxes be raised on the rich.

“The problem with Warren Buffett’s attitude is he’s talking about people who are already rich, and his policies I think may create a lid on people who are aspiring to be rich,” Bush said. “There are 10 other aspiring Warren Buffetts that will find it harder to become rich.”

And Bush played down widespread reports of tensions between Perry and the Bush clan, though he acknowledged that Bush political architect Karl Rove harbors some of his own resentment.

Bush also pooh-poohed analyses, reporting and speculation indicating tensions between his family and the campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Read THIS COLUMN for a bit more on Perry.

The Bottom Line: Bush’s comments are not on the same wavelength in some ways with the current prevailing GOP narrative or political style.

But it could be that he and several others (Jon Huntsman, for instance) are positioning themselves to be there to pick up the pieces after the GOP alienates swing voters by being too fixated on pleasing Rush Limbaugh and goes down to defeat in 2012 — snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

His point is an important one: politicians an lambaste Barack Obama all they want but it has to be on substance and not just knee jerk opposition.

Because to many swing voters he or she who is “knee jerk” epitomizes the second word in that phrase.

Which doesn’t win votes.

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • Allen

    Don’t be fooled. This is Jeb’s entrance into the queue. A little publicity, test the result, a little more publicity, ect….ect..

    I have to say, no more Bushes please.

  • JSpencer

    “The problem with Warren Buffett’s attitude is he’s talking about people who are already rich, and his policies I think may create a lid on people who are aspiring to be rich,” Bush said. “There are 10 other aspiring Warren Buffetts that will find it harder to become rich.” Jeb Bush

    I’ve heard that line before and I don’t buy it for a second. Anyone who has the slightest shot at being “rich”, the slightest ability to get there is hardly going to be disuaded by a higher tax bracket. The idea is just ridiculous.

  • superdestroyer

    The Bush Clan are all so stupid, I would not trust any of them if they told me that the Sun rose in the east this morning.

    The Bush Clan is a major cause of the problems with the Republicans is that the Bush Clan has zero interest in advancing conservative caucses or helping Republicans get elected. The Bush Clan is only interested in getting members of the Bush Clan elected to office.

    Jeb Bush comes from a clan where everyone appears to be too stupid to understand their briefing books and too lazy to even bother to open them.

    And as for Jeb Bush being a success, he failed to develop any subordinates and he was replaced by a Democrat. Jeb Bush would love to stab all of the current candidates in the back if he thought it would help the Bush Clan.

  • The Bush Clan is only interested in getting members of the Bush Clan elected to office.

    The GOP in general is only interested in getting back in the White House. Hence they’ve spent 3 years trying to derail the economic recovery and the Obama administration to make things as bad as possible so they canteen march back in on a platform of “see, he failed.”

    The whole of the GOP is unethical.

  • superdestroyer

    Barky,

    Nancy Pelosi did not favors for Bush II during 2007-2008. The Democrats did not do any favors for Bush I in 1990 when they shut the government down, got Bush I to pass a tax increase, and then spent the 1992 election criticizing Bush I for raising taxes.

    Both paties are very interested in winning elections. That is why the Democrats support open borders and unlimited immigration no matter how much it harms blacks or blue collar whites. Poor, third-world immigrants will all become automatic Democratic Party voters in the future.

    Democrats want to add as many people that it can to the public sector worker rolls no matter the long term economic consequences because public sector employees are automatic Democratic voters.

    Jeb Bush is so stupid he either refuses to understand demographic and employment issues described above. That is why whatever Jeb Bush has to say is pointless.

  • @Barky
    How exactly did the Republicans attempt to derail economic recovery? They were openly trying to stop the Democratic legislative agenda, but I think both Frank and Dodd are Democrats.

  • Prof,

    Are you on crack, or living under a rockfor the past three months? The Teabagger-led, completely fabricated debt ceiling “crisis” alone is an example. Since then, markets have been ping-ponging, consumer & business confidence is low, and the economy falters on the edge of double-dip. And for what??

    That alone proves the GOP is willing to sacrifice the economic health of the country just to score political points with their base.

  • Allen

    Barky-

    The GOP would completely sell out the country for villas and servants in China if they could just take their hunting rifles and cowboy hats with them.

  • @Barky
    Did you forget 2008 already? We haven’t had financial stability since then. In fact, the stability that we had before that was only an illusion. The debt ceiling battle was much sound and fury, signifying nothing. Nothing, and I mean nothing, changed. The entire mess, both here and in Europe, is beyond fixing.

    It’s a bit early to try to rewrite history.

  • roro80

    “There are 10 other aspiring Warren Buffetts that will find it harder to become rich.”

    Ah, that just makes my heart break.

    *sheds a tear*

  • rudi

    SD said:
    The Democrats did not do any favors for Bush I in 1990 when they shut the government down, got Bush I to pass a tax increase, and then spent the 1992 election criticizing Bush I for raising taxes.
    Care to link to anywhere that backs up your fantasy?
    No 1990 Shutdown @Wiki.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_shutdown

  • PJBFan

    @ roro80: The point that Mr. Bush made, somewhat inelegantly, is that the hope of becoming the next Warren Buffett or the next Bill Gates is what pushes forward innovation, pushes forward growth. The tax increases proposed by Mr. Buffett will reduce the people who are willing to innovate or produce new goods or products, when they are close to the bracket margins. They will do less to stay in, or drop down to, a lower tax bracket if they are not going to lose money by doing so. It is at the edges of the brackets that incomes produce a distorting effect. We all lose out when we change the rates upward.

    @Barky: The debt ceiling crisis in the US was not the major cause of these market swings. Indeed, the fact that US Treasury Note yields have fallen so markedly while selling at a very high rate suggests that the instability in the market is not the fault of the Debt Ceiling debate and the subsequent S&P Downgrade. It is actually, apparently, a result of instability within European economies, specifically Spain, Greece, Italy, and Ireland, as well as France and Germany’s refusal to push for the issuance of “Eurobonds.”

  • ShannonLeee

    Jeb is prepping for 2016. No reason to let a little publicity go by…act a little Presidential without having to answer any questions.

    I wonder who Dems have in mind for 2016? They better be REALLY good.

  • superdestroyer

    Rudi,

    It took me about 10 seconds to find a refernce. You must have not been intereested in finding. I knew it was not a fantasy because I spent Friday afternoon in meetings where people were planning for a shutdown.

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/federalbudgetprocess/a/Government-Shutdowns.htm

    I guess you are the type of person who blames Reagan and Bush I 100% for budget deficit while ignoring the fact that the Democrats in Congress for passing everyone one of the deficit producing budgets.

    The Democrats in 1990 and 1991 had no interest in helping the economy and used Bush I’s focus on Kuwait to tank the economy so that Clinton/Carville could run around in 1992 claiming that a mild recession was the worst economy in 40 years.

    Of course, the economy of 1979-1980 was much worse than the economy of 1991 but no one ever bother to call Clinton on it.

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