Written by Juliana Simone
March 15, 2013
National Harbor, MD – Delivering the Reagan Dinner speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday night, the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush presented some viewpoints that would have contradicted those held by his brother, the beloved former President of the United States, George W. Bush (43), as well as perhaps his father, George H.W. Bush (41). These perspectives would include the continued need for more government which is a true faux pas to not only the conservative base, but Reagan himself who always stood for smaller government. Speaking very fast, listeners had to be challenged to absorb every remark.
Bush started off by outlining some common pro-American growth goals shared by the Republican Party such as drilling for oil in the U.S. to make America an energy leader, increasing food production to become the Saudi Arabia of food resources in the world and bringing back manufacturing jobs from China by allowing U.S. made robots to do precision work at a faster and less costly rate. He listed a few future visions for robots including driverless cars that will make deliveries without getting lost or having accidents, car designs built by computers and 3-D imaging that are indeed impressive in terms of modern technology but where that leaves humans who used to do these jobs he didn’t say.
The potential future Republican Presidential nominee perhaps didn’t properly consider what arm of the Party he was addressing when half of his speech consisted of moderate remarks that echoed those of his similar minded colleagues when it comes to future strategies on how to rebuild the party going forward after losing the Presidential race and failing to regain the Senate in 2012.
The tug between Tea Party conservatives and establishment insiders still continues with both sides finding the other wrong in their vision and at fault for election losses. As much as insiders wince at extreme social positioning by the far right, conservatives bristle at the watered down strategies of the moderates who continue to argue they need to move more to the left to appeal to today’s voters by remaining more in the center.
Conservatives feel sounding more like Democrats concedes to the left’s agenda and keeps Republican voters at home. Moderates believe demanding stringent moral values today on a more liberal electorate made up of a whole different demographic from decades ago will make Republicans less and less electable. The right wing of the GOP asks if our candidates are going to sound just like Democrats why not simply vote for the Democrat? The moderate wing of the GOP asks if our candidates don’t become more equal on the issues with the liberal views of the Democrats voters, how won’t Republican legislators become more and more in the minority?
To illustrate Bush’s moderate thinking, he told CPAC diners that Republicans have lost five of the six popular votes in the elections because, “We’re associated with being anti-everything. Way too many people believe that Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates because those voters feel unloved, unwanted, and unwelcome in our party.” He said never again can the Republican Party write off whole segments because we feel we have the right ideals.
Conservatives would counter this part of his speech with the fact that since they are all ardent Constitutionalists, they believe more than any group in inclusiveness and freedom for all as long as the laws of our country are followed. They also believe it is how the liberal mainstream media en masse portrays them as being exactly the opposite of who they are as why the public views them in this negative preconceived notion.
In excerpts both sides of the Republican Party would have to agree, he continued saying greater personal freedoms and opportunity should be available to everyone. We need to be the party of inclusion and acceptance; it’s our heritage and our future and we need to couch our efforts in those terms. Bush told viewers that “real relationships take time to grow.” He stressed they did not grow from Facebook or Twitter. “We used to be the Party that understood personal connections….and that they mattered; we need to do that again.”
How the economy effects voters attitudes, Bush observed “if you’re fortunate enough to count yourself among the privileged than you should know everyone else is drowning.” He continued surmising the liberals have channeled the anger and frustration from this oppressive dynamic to attack the very idea of success itself. The former Florida Governor reflected on success as something good and said, “Innovation should be the by-product of achievement.” He believes everyone has the right to rise.
Concluding his speech he listed four points he sees as a necessity for the Republican Party and America to be strong again:
One: Reestablish the idea of success is a good thing. Success needs to be cool again…success isn’t about taking but creating.
Two: Equip every child with the best tools to rise. He reminded members that we spend more per student than any country in the world only to rank further down the list in test grades than other countries, and projected some child being born will build the next “Watson” (a computer he detailed earlier in his speech who became well-known on the show “Jeopardy” and now gives medical diagnosis at hospitals like Sloan Kettering.) – and that a hundred children could have done the same thing but are being squandered in our schools. “We are squandering American’s greatest resource…the greatest waste of human potential,” he said in reference to American’s youth adding we need a system that rewards improvement and excellence.
Three: A government that allows small businesses to rise and large companies to fail. Government should have a level playing field – not just pick the winners and losers.
Four: The conservative movement has a political realm and a social realm. “The government should fill pot holes; it’s our individual duty to fill holes in the human heart.” Jeb Bush told the CPAC crowd all of us should help our neighbors and mentor our children and that this is immensely more powerful than a thousand government programs.
Ed.: This article written and reported by Juliana Simone, also appeared on Ameriborn News Network, a CT internet news site taken down in October 2015.