Jeb Bush is talking about a different Republican Party.
And if the party that is prepared to nominate Mitt Romney for the presidency fails in November, it probably will take a different Republican Party to win the White House in 2016.
Romney’s party is the one in which every potential candidate this year stood at a televised debate and said he or she could not accept tax cuts for deficit-fighting — even at a ratio of $10 in cuts for every $1 in taxes.
Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, also is a son of the former president, George H.W. Bush, who campaigned in 1988 with a pledge against taxes and ultimately acceded to a deal with the Democrats — and became a one-term president.
Jeb Bush recently said that he’d be open to that 10-one ratio in a deficit bargain that fellow Republicans have rejected — a sure sign, he also noted, that he’s not aiming for that No. 2 spot on Romney’s ticket this year.
Enter Grover Norquist: “There’s a guy who watched his father throw away his presidency on a two-t0-one (ratio of spending cuts to tax increases) promise,” the leader of Americans for Tax Reform who exacts no-tax pledges from Republican members of Congress told Talking Points Memo. “And he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10 to one promise… You walk down that alley, you don’t come out.”
You don’t come out?
The party fighting for the White House, at Norquist’s urging, has traveled down an alley.
The party that Jeb Bush was talking about at a breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg View in New York yesterday looks more like the one that nominated Ronald Reagan and Bush’s father. That was following a different road.
“They got a lot of things done with bipartisan support, but right now it’s just difficult to imagine,” Bush said at breakfast, suggesting that Reagan and his father would have “a hard time” in today’s environment.
“Context changes; history changes,” Bush said. “Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to 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.”
“We’re in a political system in general that is in a very different place right now,” he said.
It’s down Norquist’s alley, the one from which negotiators never return.
It’ll be a different party that wins the White House, if this one fails.