Jeb Bush: “I used to be a conservative”

posted at 1:55 pm on February 24, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Jeb Bush isn’t sure where he fits in the panoply of Republican Party leaders anymore. During a Q&A session after a speech in Dallas yesterday, the former Florida governor confessed that he doesn’t know what to make of the direction the current GOP candidates have taken Republican rhetoric:

“I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are,” said the former Florida Governor. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.” …

Maybe Jeb is just perplexed he isn’t Republicans’ first choice for a White Knight to ride in and save the Republican Party at a brokered convention. Or maybe he genuinely thinks negativity has subsumed the positive message Republicans have to offer:

The younger brother of former president George W. Bush also weighed in on the debate Republicans and Democrats are having over the national economy.

“If you want to narrow the income gap, there are two ways to do it. One, you punish people that are successful and try to narrow it that way and that’s the president’s approach. Or you equip people that aspire for a better life to give them the tools and then you don’t try to manage that, you allow them to pursue those dreams as they see fit. That to me is the better approach and it requires a celebration of success.”

Bush both misses and has a point.

First, the point he misses: The current GOP candidates — for all of the flaws they have in their pasts — consistently deliver conservative rhetoric. Their talk is tough on everything from entitlement reform to tax reform to immigration reform. They’re all anchored in the idea that rights are inalienable, unable to be granted nor revoked by government. They primarily respect the moral order, the idea that decisions have consequences and that individuals should have to take responsibility for the decisions they make. In many instances, their tone has been a triumph of conservatism, a signal that the candidates recognize that GOP voters want a conservative nominee. Sometimes, I think we don’t give the candidates enough credit for this truth.

Next, the point he makes: The candidates have frequently proved themselves to be poor politicians, succumbing to the temptations pitched to them by debate moderators and MSM interviewers. Journalists and observers alike are fascinated and interested in the horserace; they want to hear the candidates attack each other and pick apart each other’s past records. The candidates could certainly be better at not taking the bait and at pivoting from pointed-but-irrelevant questions to the broad, positive themes of conservatism.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Jeb Bush isn’t sure where he fits in the

panoply

of Republican Party leaders anymore.

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Tzetzes on February 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I used to be a conservative .

When?

rudee on February 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM

(That was meant to be in bold.)

Tzetzes on February 24, 2012 at 4:22 PM

So, may we take this as an apology from Jeb Bush for single-nandedly ramping up the Terri Schiavo controversy twice–first by having her kidnapped from a health facility and a feeding tube reinserted, and then by going on statewide TV and telling the people of Florida he was going to do it again, in contravention of a judge’s ruling? “Used to be a conservative”, indeed. The Bushes have always been whores. The only question has been the price for their services.

senor on February 24, 2012 at 4:23 PM

And now he used to be a possible presidential contender.

NNtrancer on February 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

C’mon now folks, get real! Everybody clamors for real ‘red meat’ rhetoric about shrinking gob’mint… but wait till their first ‘entitlement’ is shrunk or disappeared!

Then America’s street riots will look like Greece’s has of late.

There’s a big difference between talkin’ the talk and actually walkin’ the walk!!

Pecozbill on February 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Maybe he is with the “Crist” former party members and maybe we have outgrown him, along with Crist. At some point, if we don’t stand for what is the American way of life, we will lose the very ideals that make us exceptional.

Terry in GA on February 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Jeb Bush isn’t sure where he fits in the panoply of Republican Party leaders anymore.

Before Tea Party = BTP

After Tea Party = ATP

Jeb Bush is a BTP Republican

portlandon on February 24, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Yeppers!

athenadelphi on February 24, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Thanks for helping with the media narrative, Jeb.

LoganSix on February 24, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Yeah, this warms my heart. Nice pick up LoganSix. He’s doing us no help.

athenadelphi on February 24, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Why is the RINO Christie so popular? Because he unrelentingly tells the truth, even if he’s impertinent. Thugs must be beaten with thuggery or with Reaganesque leadership.

Void, complete void, of either.

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2012 at 2:02 PM

And this relates to Jeb Bush how? I’m lost sorry, draw me a picture.

athenadelphi on February 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

I wish the bushies would go back to CT and stay there!!

and slam the gate hard.

burt on February 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

I heard he’s thinking about endorsing Obama

rik on February 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM

It is edifying to have so many compatriots on this page.

burt on February 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM

So if they call Bush 41, Bush. and they call Bush 43, Shrub. What will Jeb be? Plant?

I know how he feels, I used to be a financial contributor to the GOP.

shar61 on February 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Hey Jeb, who was that guy that attacked Reagan in 1980 with the phrase Voodoo Economics?

Flange on February 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM

+1!

ITguy on February 24, 2012 at 2:07 PM

and who was the guy who didn’t know the price of a gallon of milk? yeah Dad. The same guy who we voted in after he promised to read his lips no new taxes and he screwed us! We knew then that it was over. Clinton came next and we tried to fight back with Newtonian taking back the Congress. THAT went nowhere because it was 1 house of congress vs. the democrat/RINO senate and Clinton. We were all engulfed in the stain on the blue dress drama after the first 4 years of who killed Hillary’s maybe knighthood lover in the park? When it was Gore vs. Bush we were so battle weary we thought GWBush would be better and some nit came up with “compassionate conservative” as a tag line which meant we had to spend like Democrats or we were MEANIES. Then came the war, then came the division that got us to 48%/48% and 4% indies which were really tea partiers (disaffected republicans who were really deeply conservative or really libertarian) and the parties under Bush stayed RINO while the left became Socialist Progressives. Next came McCain vs. Obama and it was all over from the time McCain said he would not engage against Obama on a one to one basis. He apologized for everything said and we were dumped on, so rose the Tea Party in response! Now Jeb has a problem with the republican party? He’s the cause of the problems in the republican party! Where are his big ideas that don’t cost money? Cough em up buddy boy and I’ll start taking you seriously otherwise STFU.

athenadelphi on February 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM

So if they call Bush 41, Bush. and they call Bush 43, Shrub. What will Jeb be? Plant?

I know how he feels, I used to be a financial contributor to the GOP.

shar61 on February 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

HEDGE

rik on February 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM

The very first thing Bush III needs to comprehend is the GOP Establishment is the third Party. The Country Club/Rockefeller Republicans are a minute minority for the Right and just can’t comprehend it.

volsense on February 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Jeb Bush: “I used to be a conservative”

I “used to” marginally respect him.

elfman on February 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

The problem with Jeb Bush is that he is really no more than a conservative democrat; but he and President Bush call it compassionate Republicanism. His primary concern about negativity in the primary stems from the candidate’s rejection of rolling out the red carpet for illegals. This is a deal breaker for him—never mind that legal citizens are suffering from the budget-busting billions in freebies to people who break our laws. The cry of a lack of compassion is the Left’s method of attacking conservatives for being fiscally responsible. Why is the plight of the world our damn problem? Consider how the people of the world treat Americans who have who have fought to give them freedom; they spit on them and given the chance murder them. Why don’t Mexicans stay in Mexico and build a nation of which they can be proud? IT IS TIME FOR AMERICANS TO TAKE CARE OF AMERICANS AND SHUT THE SPIGOTS OF AID TO PEOPLE WHO DISPISE US: IT IS TIME FOR AMERICANS TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND STOP SUPPORTING POLICIES THAT HAVE BANKRUPT OUR NATION: STOP GREEN CORRUPTION: STOP INSIDER CORRUPTION AND SEND THE PARTICIPANTS TO JAIL: STOP THE POLITICAL HATCHET-JOB INJUSTICES OF THE DOJ: IN SHORT, STOP OBAMA AND ALL OF THIS MISPLACED COMPASSION BEFORE WE REALLY ARE GREECE!

Oracleforhire on February 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

C’mon now folks, get real! Everybody clamors for real ‘red meat’ rhetoric about shrinking gob’mint… but wait till their first ‘entitlement’ is shrunk or disappeared!

Then America’s street riots will look like Greece’s has of late.

There’s a big difference between talkin’ the talk and actually walkin’ the walk!!

Pecozbill on February 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

the way you do it is cut EVERYONE’S check. there will be no riots if everyone thinks they are getting the same treatment. If you have a let them eat cake moment where the rich continue to recieve taxpayer funded welfare while the poor or seniors get cut off. Yeah riots will occur. You cut all government welfare by 20% to every person and there won’t be.

unseen on February 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I think what Jeb was trying to communicate is that any politician who has been around for a while can be made to look unconservative, by cherry picking his record. And he’s right.

steel guy on February 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

This really hits me wrong. What I object to even more than the “I used to be a conservative” is the insult that conservatives fall for a candidate based on fear and emotion. We’re just stupid idiots who will fall for anything. Oh well another Republican dead to me.

LaurieM134 on February 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

There’s only one good thing about Jeb Bush. His last name. It gives Leftists the vapors.

tuffy on February 24, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Don’t let this azzhole fool you with his lost in the wilderness BS. The likes of him are not in need of a new party. They just want to retain the Republican Party in its proper place (as Democrat lite). Do we really need an in-between party between the Democrats and the Romney, McCain, Dole, Bush Republican Party of the last 20 years? Hardly. It is the conservatives that need a coming out party.

noeastern on February 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Once an Establishment, always an Establishment Period.

jaboba on February 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

“I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are,” said the former Florida Governor. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.” …

He’s just like Bushs 41 & 43, not a bad word about anyone, except Republcans and Conservatives.

RJL on February 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Just another CINO like the rest of the family!

redware on February 24, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Yes, we’re all a part of the establishment. John McCain and George H. W. Bush are paying me to post on Hot Air and torment the poor oppressed Santorum bots. We all get full medical for this too. You know. Under ROMNEYCARE RAWWWRRRRRRRR.

Four more years of Obama. Unbelievable. Hopefully Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio will run in 2016. Biden certainly isn’t capable of winning a presidential election. No amount of money can keep his foot out of his mouth.

Cordell on February 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM

No, your not part of the establishment, you’re just a zombie. And pragmatism is what has infected you. Like a zombie, the only thing that excites you is the prospect of winning elections. That your single minded insantiy has led us to two parties that are barely distinguishable is irrelevant to your zombie mind. It is beyond your zombie comprehension to understand that your thirst for meaningless election wins have led us to a $17,000,000,000,000.00 debt – umm, good, election, win election, win election, good, when’s next election, need next election, taste good, win taste good……..

noeastern on February 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Sounds like he’s making progress.

Random on February 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Nobody is interested in the dynasts who think the White House is theirs by right — boohoo.

They gamed the system to make sure conservatives Main Street had no choices, just empty hope.

They disdain Reagan and 43 left the military stranded on the opposite side of the planet winning heart and minds, whatever that means.

They are classic liberals using Republican cloaks.

Feedie on February 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Why is the RINO Christie so popular? Because he unrelentingly tells the truth, even if he’s impertinent. Thugs must be beaten with thuggery or with Reaganesque leadership.

Void, complete void, of either.

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2012 at 2:02 PM

And this relates to Jeb Bush how? I’m lost sorry, draw me a picture.

athenadelphi on February 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Simple, he’s neither tough like Christie, nor a leader on ideas, advocacy and changing the direction of government like Reagan. The Bush family are all “compassionate conservative” big government types.

As one of the other posters put it:

Just another CINO like the rest of the family!

redware on February 24, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Gladtobehere on February 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Tzetzes on February 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Actually, using the source you linked, one of the definitions refers to an array, and in that usage the term fits as applied by Tina. It is not a rare application by any means.

Freelancer on February 24, 2012 at 6:48 PM

You could have seen this coming….

Obama hosts George H.W. and Jeb Bush at White Housel

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/01/obama-hosts-george-hw-and-jeb-bush-at-white-house-112638.html

idesign on February 24, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I think what Jeb was trying to communicate is that any politician who has been around for a while can be made to look unconservative, by cherry picking his record. And he’s right.

steel guy on February 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Possibly, but can you run for office because if what you say is what he actually meant, then you said it a lot better and clearer than he did.

He should know better than this.

kim roy on February 24, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Jeb Bush: “I used to be a conservative”

Mitt Romney: “I used to be a liberal and now I pretend that I am a conservative.”

Newt Gingrich: ” I used to be conservative, then I was a liberal, and now I am conservative again.”

Santorum: “I have always been a conservative.”

fight like a girl on February 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Jeb give it a rest.

You are never going to be POTUS.

KirknBurker on February 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I believe there are two sorts of “conservative”. There is the role of government conservative, and there is the “I want to shove my social values down your throat” conservative.

The first sort is likely to be strong on fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, and having the states play a bigger role in social policy and leave it outside of the beltway. This is a Ronald Reagan conservative.

Then there are the other sort which are *just* as annoying as liberals who do the same thing. Washington DC should NOT be platform for banning behaviors you don’t like or don’t agree with. It should not be about enforcing cultural mores across the nation.

In this respect, social “conservatives” are no better than social “liberals”. Both of them need to learn to leave the people the hell alone.

crosspatch on February 24, 2012 at 7:41 PM

crosspatch on February 24, 2012 at 7:41 PM

.
Fiscal responsibility, and sexual morality are NOT mutually exclusive.

listens2glenn on February 24, 2012 at 7:45 PM

It was for 8 minutes when Jeb was 7 year old.

It passed painlessly.

profitsbeard on February 24, 2012 at 7:51 PM

He reputation never allowed for the possibility that Jeb was stupid enough to start a public comment “I used to be a conservative…”

This comes as something of a shock to me; apparently he’s an idiot.

Jaibones on February 24, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Jeb give it a rest.

You are never going to be POTUS.

KirknBurker on February 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I wouldn’t be too sure of that. Should Romney win the nomination and go down in ignominious defeat, Obama will have four more years of unfettered mayhem to wreak upon America. Were we even to survive that term, and that’s a big if, Americans would be so nostalgic for the Bush years, they would positively throw themselves into Jeb’s waiting arms (figuratively speaking). I half think that has been the Republican elite’s plan all along.

ariel on February 24, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Time for another Listening Tour, Captain Clueless

james23 on February 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Americans would be so nostalgic for the Bush years, they would positively throw themselves into Jeb’s waiting arms (figuratively speaking).

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Want to unite left and right in America? Nominate Jeb Bush

james23 on February 24, 2012 at 8:52 PM

“Stay out da Bushes!”

jnelchef on February 24, 2012 at 8:57 PM

papa bush

rik on February 24, 2012 at 9:06 PM

first papa bush, then shrub, now the hedge

rik on February 24, 2012 at 9:08 PM

C’mon now folks, get real! Everybody clamors for real ‘red meat’ rhetoric about shrinking gob’mint… but wait till their first ‘entitlement’ is shrunk or disappeared!

Then America’s street riots will look like Greece’s has of late.

There’s a big difference between talkin’ the talk and actually walkin’ the walk!!

Pecozbill on February 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Surely it’s a matter of degrees. There are those of us who would have virtually no government and have about 99% of everything in this country run by private enterprise. I admit I can see the attractiveness of that. Free enterprise awards competency and success, destroys failure, and entices folks to work harder, smarter and to mend their ways should they get fired or their concerns go under.

But I can envision how greater corporate control would be at least as bad as much of the government we have nowadays. I don’t think that some of these Anarcho-Conservatives stop to think that what they espouse is similar to Mussolini’s Fascist Corporate State. We would all be some company’s bit@h 24-7 and the Bill of Rights would mean nothing. At least now you can tell your congress critter to GTH and they can’t do a damn thing about it-can’t do that to a boss…but in a corporate system you must work or be imprisoned…so what rights would you really have?

If Cops-R-Us, Inc. write you a ticket, at least now you can contest it in court as a Citizen. If those police are a subsidiary of your employer’s company, what then?

I tend to look at what Americans wanted back in 1900. Our great grandparents seemed to have their act together, and I respect the things that they wanted from government. They wanted relief for the poor, they wanted justice both here and abroad, they wanted public schools, they wanted public hospitals, they wanted care for the insane and infirm, they wanted safe neighborhoods…

I haven’t run across anything that says they wanted government to control every facet of their lives, nor interference from the government in how they or their employers earned an honest living.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 24, 2012 at 9:13 PM

I despise the Bushes. His ‘ol man and his policies gave us Clinton; his clueless brother gave us Obama.

Jeb, JSTFU.

senrex on February 24, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Self castration…….what the Bush royal family does best.

They have been doing it to the gop since Summer 1988.

NO MORE BUSHES………no more eunuchs leading the party.

PappyD61 on February 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM

No more sons of bushes! Ya got that Battle Axe Barbara?

Jayrae on February 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM

I believe there are two sorts of “conservative”. There is the role of government conservative, and there is the “I want to shove my social values down your throat” conservative.

The first sort is likely to be strong on fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, and having the states play a bigger role in social policy and leave it outside of the beltway. This is a Ronald Reagan conservative.

Then there are the other sort which are *just* as annoying as liberals who do the same thing. Washington DC should NOT be platform for banning behaviors you don’t like or don’t agree with. It should not be about enforcing cultural mores across the nation.

In this respect, social “conservatives” are no better than social “liberals”. Both of them need to learn to leave the people the hell alone.

crosspatch

This is EXACTLY what I have been railing on, that social conservatives are just the other side of the coin from social liberals, both favor a top down appproach from the federal government to impose values.

But if you want more individual freedom and limited government, the social cons tell you go to away, and shout RINO. In reality, the social cons ideal candidate is more like a preacher at the pulpit, someone who would have been a southern Democrat. Fine and all I suppose, but how is an old style fire breathing southern democrat, supposed to be what a Republican should be like.

When the social conservatives were all hard core Democrats, most Republicans were western state limited government types, who believed in individalism, over congregationism.

Social Conservatives loved FDR, the New Deal, and could not wait to vote for Jimmy Carter in 76, LBJ too. But hey, in their love to tell us who can be real Republicans, they neglect to mention their historic love of Democrats and big government.

firepilot on February 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Funny, his father and brother could have said the same thing.

Mr. Grump on February 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM

“Stay out da Bushes!”

jnelchef on February 24, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Funny!

Gladtobehere on February 25, 2012 at 1:24 AM

My respect for Jeb Bush vanished when he and wife wrote a letter to the LATimes Editorial, expecting it to be published for the public (and it was), in which they both “apologized” and expressed they were “tearful” about U.S. enforcement as to border security, national security, illegal aliens.

Jeb Bush’s history is more akin to someone from Mexico, Central America who is opposed to U.S. laws and border/immigration enforcement, than it is to someone “natural born” to the U.S.

I don’t mean this racially or ethnically, I mean this as to how and what Jeb Bush thinks, highly influenced, obviously, by his wife from Mexico and his work in Central/South America — it seems he’s more associated with a particular version of “anti Americanism” as molded in and by Central and South America more than anything and it’s affected his views of how the U.S. should be governed.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Jeb Bush should relocate to Mexico and run for the Presidency there.

Lourdes on February 25, 2012 at 1:32 AM

crosspatch

But if you want more individual freedom and limited government, the social cons tell you go to away, and shout RINO. In reality, the social cons ideal candidate is more like a preacher at the pulpit, someone who would have been a southern Democrat. Fine and all I suppose, but how is an old style fire breathing southern democrat, supposed to be what a Republican should be like…

firepilot on February 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

I think you two have big imaginations and are exercising a great deal of fears that exist based upon your worst-case-expectations or experiences with some individuals.

Because social conservatives aren’t like either of you describe. SOME are but so are SOME people cannibals and anything else horrible one can imagine. It’s up to individual psychology but as a movement, “social conservatives” aren’t about forcing people against their will to “believe” whatever, like some Taliban-esque movement — that’s a fear the Left, Liberals, promote unrealistically about social conservatives due to, I think, many on the Left assuming that a Christian Right wants to “slay” or “force” non-Christians into some sort of slavery-affectation.

It’s a highly exaggerated, fearfully imagined concept and it’s just not realistic.

Lourdes on February 25, 2012 at 1:37 AM

crosspatch

firepilot on February 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Because MOST social conservatives work to protect and ensure the continuation of their Freedoms, of liberty, Freedom of Religion and all the rest.

IF someone else doesn’t agree, most social conservatives are more than happy to be left alone, as long as there’s no infringement on Liberty. “We say grace, we say ‘Ma’am,’ if you’re not into that, we don’t give a dammnnn…” or so the lyrics go — generally that’s the way things are, though without that cursing part.

Lourdes on February 25, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Lourdes on February 25, 2012 at 1:40 AM

Reference…

Lourdes on February 25, 2012 at 1:46 AM

— Jeb Bush: “I used to be a conservative …”

Oh yeah? I used to be a Bush supporter. But then I came to fully realize that the Bush Dynasty embodies everything that is wrong with the post-Reagan Republican party. Bush conducted the first two years of the War on Terror (approximately) quite well, but the rest was a disaster. The failure to define his mission to the public; the long months of paralysis prior to Petraeus’s surge; the reckless spending on “progressive” political programs; and, of course, the coup de grace (which took McCain down with it): The Bailout of “too big to fail” bankers/brokers.

Do us a favor, Jeb. Get a real job.

minnesoter on February 25, 2012 at 2:35 AM

Well, I used to support Jeb Bush.

WannabeAnglican on February 25, 2012 at 8:26 AM

My emphasis below:

When the social conservatives were all hard core Democrats, most Republicans were western state limited government types, who believed in individalism, over congregationism.

Social Conservatives loved FDR, the New Deal, and could not wait to vote for Jimmy Carter in 76, LBJ too. But hey, in their love to tell us who can be real Republicans, they neglect to mention their historic love of Democrats and big government.

firepilot on February 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Wrong! Haven’t you ever heard of Rockefeller Republicans (Liberal Northeastern Republicans)? You’re trying to rewrite history to suit your ideas. During the Great Depression, most voters supported FDR because of high unemployment and massive poverty. From the 1930′s until the late 60′s, the only really divisive social issue was Civil Rights, and outside the South (which was still fighting the Civil War), Republicans could be found in the Midwest, the West, and the Northeast. The parties in this period were divided more on ideas of class and economics than anything else. In the 50′s, 60′s and into the early 70′s both parties had conservatives, moderates, and liberals, and both parties had similar moral values because the country wasn’t so polarized on social issues. There were differences in approach, but they were more differences in emphasis. From at least the time of Eisenhower, Republicans emphasized better management, while Democrats emphasized more government. Nixon, always something of an opportunist, tried some of both.

Starting in the late 60′s, the Democrats became increasingly influenced by the more radical social movements sweeping the country. Conservatives or conservative leaning voters started moving toward the Republicans (Nixon’s “Silent Majority” crushed McGovern in 1972 with a 49 state win). The idea that social conservatives couldn’t wait to vote for Jimmy Carter is foolish. I’m old enough to remember that election, and Gerald Ford shot himself in the foot with a bad debate performance. Jimmy Carter then swept the South because he presented himself as a Washington outsider, a Southern governor (local boy makes good) who was an honest, moderate reformer, see this link for more. (Note: In 1992, Bill Clinton ran a similar campaign with more emphasis on the economy.)

After four years of Carter’s incompetence on military and financial matters, the country, especially the socially conservative, blue collar voters in the North (Reagan Democrats, Nixon’s “Silent Majority”), were ready to try a strong defense, socially conservative, free market Republican, Ronald Reagan. If Reagan was Ron Paul (weak on defense, socially liberal, less government), I don’t think he could ever have been elected. Why not vote for a real Democrat (weak on defense, socially liberal, more government) rather than a 2/3 Democrat? Candidates who are strong on defense and social issues get a chance to convince some skeptical voters that a free market is good for them.

After Reagan, the country wanted someone close to Reagan (a strong defense, conservative reformer). In office, Bush 41 instead acted more like Eisenhower (good manager), except Eisenhower didn’t have such an irresponsible Congress. Bush shot himself in the foot by breaking his “no new taxes” pledge. He only got one term. If not for the GWOT (Global War on Terror), I suspect Bush 43 (Shrub) might have also only gotten one term because of his irresponsible spending. In 2006, Republicans were whacked by Bush’s problems with Iraq and excessive spending, and in 2008, we also had the financial meltdown plus a weak Republican presidential candidate.

The long and short of this is that most Republicans and conservative leaning moderates want a strong defense plus responsible financial and social behavior. Republicans do best when advocating all three positions (even if they’re sometimes not too serious about the social conservative part), and they’ll fail when they become tax and spenders or borrowers and spenders like the Democrats.

Gladtobehere on February 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

he isn’t a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal conservative that will embarrass the party.

Bitter Clinger on February 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

You are you worried about being embarrased too? that is my question. If you are looking for liberals/dems to like you then you are in the wrong party. We could nominate Clinton asd or candidate and if you put an R behind her name the liberals/dems would miock and laugh at her. I don’t think you understand it is a tactic of the left to mock and riducle the other side. You can put Jeb up, or Mitt or Palin and all will be mocked and laughed at and end up being an embarassment to you. Bacause that is how the left works. They laugh and riducle you and your beliefs and the nominee of your party. Christie will be mocked as a fatso, Jeb as favored son or LORd of the the republican class, Mitt is going to be mocked as a mormon, as a wall street fat cat out of touched, robot. Palin was mocked as a hillbillie. Santourm is mocked as a churchgoer, Newt they took a man of vision and made him worse than moonbeam Brown. and never no matter how bad the dem candidate will the media nor it seems the gop mock that candidate.

unseen on February 24, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I want to clarify my comment on “knuckle-dragging conservatives”. I was trying to say that is the Establishment’s view of conservatives, not mine. I am definitely a “Not Romney”. I should have made clear what I was trying to convey in my original post.

Bitter Clinger on February 25, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Actually, using the source you linked, one of the definitions refers to an array, and in that usage the term fits as applied by Tina. It is not a rare application by any means.

Freelancer on February 24, 2012 at 6:48 PM

These guys ardly a “magnificent or impressive” array!

Tzetzes on February 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Good post, Tina. Especially the analysis of the primary candidates.

Harpazo on February 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Tina doesn’t comprehend Jeb Bush at all; clearly, she thinks he’s got some hidden agenda. He doesn’t. His agenda doesn’t include running for President these days; he doesn’t want the drama and the hate that will punish his family. He’s a solid conservative and a family man who DOESN’T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT.

So, the entire post by Tina is an exercise in speculation, and worse, uninformed and ignorant speculation. It’s annoying as hell to read such tripe on a site which should be better informed.

Jeb Bush is the penultimate conservative; as a long time resident of Florida while he was governor, I can tell you that you could only wish for another renaissance of Jeb Bush Conservatism. Not only was he beloved and respected by Conservatives, but he was loved and respected by Democrats–in another era, winning Democrats’ respect and votes was something to be devoutly wished. Nowadays, the knuckledraggers in the GOP think it’s a sin, and worthy of stoning to death. But that is the state of mind in the new EVANGELICAL PARTY.

The Republican Party is dead; long live the GOP. snarc\

Unfortunately, the GOP has been taken over by a poison, a cancer, which is rotting the GOP from the inside out; it’s called “social conservatives” aka evangelicals. I wish to God we could be rid of these meddlesome high Priests and Mullahs of Moronics, but apparently, we’re too far gone.

mountainaires on February 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM

mountainaires on February 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM

So how do you reconcile his immigration position with your wonderful Jeb Bush Conservatism we all wish we could love?

jb34461 on February 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM

What Jeb can’t seem to comprehend is that the GOP Establishment is now THE Third Party. He is establishment GOP and unelectable.

volsense on February 25, 2012 at 1:06 PM

You are right volsense. I have no doubt that Bush 41 and 43 love this country dearly and were raised with the concept of serving it. Unfortunately, their idea of serving it is “hands across the aisle” and “can’t we all just get along” with some compassionate conservatism thrown in for good measure. That kind of thinking is what has brought us to the edge of the abyss. We compromise and loose another bit of freedom and our liberties.

If you read Dubya’s book Decision Points, you’ll understand his (and probably Jeb’s) position on immigration. His Mexican nannys had a huge influence on him……compassionate conservatism. The Bush family doesn’t have to live with the consequences of their actions, but we sure do and we pay dearly for their compassion and left-leaning actions.

The GOP is and will continue to turn right and the old guard will be, one seat at a time, replaced.

jb34461 on February 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

When Jeb said he used to be conservative, he meant that he used to be electable. Any political ambitions after this statement are null and void.

volsense on February 25, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Jebe nor his Father nor his brother were or have ever been conservatives. George 43 was so embarrass by the title he had to call himself a compassionate conservative. As he could not even call himself a conservative. One other note Christie is no conservative either, all you Christie people out there are just lying to yourself.

pwb on February 26, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Reminds be of the Rolling Stones song:

Well I used to be a conservative,
But it’s all over now..

virgo on February 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM

I think it’s adorable that anyone named Bush still believes their words carry more weight than a feather in a hurricane.

swinia sutki on February 27, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Good analysis in the last 2 ‘graphs. But I’m not sure ‘temptation’ is the real reason here so much as the inexplicable decision to have a long series of debates moderated by LIBERALS who have a vested interest in pulling the candidates off track and into petty squabbles.

How about Hot Air figure out exactly who is responsible for this flawed process and what can be done about it?

I can think of lots of great conservative moderators who could have been focusing the debates on important issues as well as raising awareness in the general population about those issues through the debates. Many of whom are part of talk radio or the blogosphere. Hint.

Instead we get Snufflupagas, and that tool Wuff Blizter. Bah.

DaMav on February 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3