Published for The Washington Post, June 15th, 2012

This failure of pragmatism is Bush’s chief criticism of politics in the capital, a case he thinks the press has distorted. “The general thinking among liberal media is that the Republican Party is too conservative. That’s not my point. We have a time of great national need, but we’re lacking the ability to find common ground.”

Bush, who was a decidedly conservative, tax-cutting governor, is not calling for ideological moderation in the tradition of Nelson Rockefeller. He is defending the possibility that conservatives and liberals might find productive compromise on the debt crisis. Cooperation to avoid disaster is not the same thing as spinelessness. Bush points to his father and Ronald Reagan as examples of “principled leaders, but who led, who moved on problems.”

“Across the board, on both sides, there is little reward for public officials who find common ground.” Bush finds this particularly disturbing because of the gravity of current challenges — what he describes as “structural problems that leave us on the path of decline.”

Full post here

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