The party has become too ideological and unbending, he said, a criticism that he applied equally to the modern Democratic Party.
NEW YORK - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday that his father, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan would find themselves out of step with today's Republican Party because of its adherence to ideology and the intensity of modern partisan warfare.
"Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to my dad, they would have had a hard time if you define the Republican Party -- and I don't -- as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement," Jeb Bush said at a question-and-answer session with reporters and editors held Monday by Bloomberg View.
"Back to my dad's time or Ronald Reagan's time," he said, "they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support that right now would be difficult to imagine happening."
Bush's comments help solidify his role as the Republican Party's leading voice of moderation at a time when many in the party -- particularly Tea Party adherents -- are calling for ever-greater ideological discipline. And he continued a trend this campaign cycle of big-name presidential endorsers going off script from the campaigns they support. Bush has endorsed Mitt Romney's candidacy.
Bush was careful to emphasize that he believed the modern-day Democratic Party was equally dug in on ideological and partisan grounds, saying, "This dysfunction, you can't say it's one side or another."
And he said President Obama had not lived up to his promise to be a transcendent leader, specifically pointing to his unwillingness to embrace the advice of the bipartisan deficit panel he created, known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. "It was purely a political calculation," he said. "He created Simpson-Bowles and then abandoned it at birth."
He also said that he doubted any president -- no matter who is in office -- could do much to improve the economy, given the fiscal problems in Europe and Asia.