Jeb Bush Needs a History Lesson
It appears that the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” applies even if the past includes your own father, and his former boss. Recently, former Florida Go
vernor Jeb Bush discussed the need for Republicans to compromise with the Democrats. He even went so far as to state Reagan and his father would have found it difficult to be accepted by today’s Republican party because of their willingness to compromise as compared to the hard stance of today’s members.
It’s true, both Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. made compromises that were done in good-faith to try and help the American people. They made compromises that went against their beliefs and promises, to try and be cooperative, and it backfired, big, both times.
In the not-even-close Presidential election of 1988, then Vice-President Bush made a promise to the American people: one of the most famous political pledges ever made. Bush said “And I'm the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he'll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that's one resort he'll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won't rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say, to them, Read my lips: No new taxes!”
This statement became famous because later he made concessions, he took a deal, he compromised and agreed to tax increases. There was a reason, a justification (there always is). Bush was promised two-dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases. Not only did Bush never get his spending cuts (though the tax increases were quickly executed), he was blasted by the very Democrats, who sought the compromise, for failing to keep his promise.
President Bush Sr. was, at the time, just as guilty as his son is now of forgetting the past. It wasn’t but eight years prior that Reagan encountered the same situation, the same type of deal and cooperation offer, only to have it too blow up in his face. The 1982 “Tax Equality and Fiscal responsibility Act” (TEFRA) offered Reagan an even better deal than Bush would be offered years later: TEFRA offered Reagan three-dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in taxes raised. Regan never saw his promised spending cuts. Years later, in his autobiography, when referencing the compromise, Reagan stated “the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.”
Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. It was Bush Sr.’s failure to learn from Reagan’s experience that shamed him. With this history of bait-and-switch, the democrats demanding tax increases to accompany spending cuts are shameless. And today’s Republican leadership, that will not play their game, would be applauded by Ronald Reagan.