On this weekend’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos cited former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush’s remarks suggesting that conservative hero former President Ronald Reagan might not have a spot in the today’s Republican Party because of its supposed shift to the far right.
Panelist George Will flatly contradicted Bush’s sentiment, explaining that the GOP does not have a history of nominating extremists for the presidency.
“Well, let’s look at the facts,” Will said. “Since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has given its presidential nomination four times to the Bush family. Other times, to Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney — where’s the extremist in that lot? Now, Jeb Bush’s father is celebrated today for a statesman ship that consisted of breaking the promise to the American people of not raising taxes. He had a budget deal in 1990, Austan [Goolsbee] because this goes back to something you said earlier. In the budget deal it was said for every $2 of — every dollar of tax increase, would be $2 of spending cuts. The tax increases went into effect and spending increased.”
Will added that it is popular for observers to romanticize politicians like Reagan, along with conservative commentator William Buckley and 1964 presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, after the fact.
“We’re going through this — we go through this all the time,” he continued. “About 20 years after a conservative leaves the scene or dies, he becomes acceptable. They said, ‘If only people were more like Ronald Reagan, that wonderful libertarian curmudgeon Barry Goldwater and that fine fellow Bill Buckley.’ I worked for Bill Buckley, voted for Barry Goldwater, knew Ronald Reagan and no one talked about him on the left that way at the time.”