Bob Dole called out everything from filibuster abuse to extremism while trashing the Republican Party on Fox News.
Transcript from Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: In your first two years as a senator — there were seven motions filed, cloture motions to end debate. In the last two years, there were 115 cloture motions.
Is the filibuster being abused wherever it now takes 60 votes to pass anything?
DOLE: No doubt about it. There are some cases we can probably justify it, but not many.
WALLACE: What do you think of your party, of the Republicans, today? DOLE: I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.
WALLACE: You describe the GOP of your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans.
Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan, could you make it in today’s Republican Party?
DOLE: I doubt it. And I — Reagan wouldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas and, we might have made it, but I doubt it. I mean —
WALLACE: Too moderate? Too willing to compromise?
DOLE: I just consider myself a Republican, none of this hyphenated stuff. I was a mainstream conservative Republican, and most people are in that category.
Bob Dole’s indictment of what his party has become was especially stinging because it hit on both the style and tactics that the Republicans are employing. Dole was essentially saying that no mainstream Republican from the last four decades could survive in today’s GOP. There are few living people who personally understand better how the Senate is supposed to work, so when Bob Dole tells you that the filibuster is being abused, it’s time for a change.
The 1996 Republican presidential nominee made a critical distinction between mainstream conservatism, and what the Republican Party has become. Republicans aren’t mainstream anymore. They have embraced the fringe, and now the far right is the Republican Party. Conservatives like Reagan, Dole, and George H.W. Bush could be reasonable. They understood that the middle was a good place for a Republican to be. In today’s Republican Party being mainstream and compromising is viewed as defeat and weakness.
There is no room in the Republican Party for a Colin Powell or a Bob Dole. The far right has chased all of the mainstream conservatives out of their party, and the rest of us are paying for their folly by suffering through a completely dysfunctional congress that is incapable of passing meaningful legislation.
Bob Dole was right. The Republican Party needs to shut it down, and rebuild from the ground up.