Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, unveiled a six-point plan to help strengthen the Republican Party Wednesday night – including shedding the image of being the “old white guy party” and advocating for limited government.
The son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, he revealed a plan that he said would make America a stronger county at an event hosted by the College Republicans in the Jack Morton Auditorium. “It’s important to have beliefs and it’s important to talk about them, but it’s more important to act upon them,” Bush said.
Bush said he believes the Republican Party needs to cater its message to include everyone in America, and become more than the “old white guy party.”
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that in order for a political party to be successful it has to reach out to everyone,” Bush said. “In politics, you never win when you say ‘us and them.’ We need a more welcoming message.”
Bush added that his party needs to modernize and embrace 21st ideals and technology.
“I sense that our party is kind of in a nostalgic mode where we look back to the good old days,” Bush said. “However good they were, and there were some good days, is completely irrelevant in 2009.”
Bush discussed the need for reform in education, particularly the embracement of technology in the classroom. Bush said the Republicans need to lead the charge on education issues, as well as on energy policy, immigration policy and a foreign policy that defends America’s interests.
“We just can’t be the party of no.
Republicans need to offer, based on their own principles, solutions to these problems,” he said.
Bush advocated a return to the principals of limited government, something he said President Barack Obama has shifted away from since he took office in January.
“In the last six months, there have been significant changes in the relationship the American people has with their government,” Bush said.
Bush expressed the need to limit government spending while poking fun at Vice President Joe Biden, who he described as “the gift that keeps on giving.” He said the government should rebuff Biden’s belief that America needs to keep spending to avoid going bankrupt, and instead limit federal spending.
“In Washington, that kind of spending makes sense, but around kitchen tables across America, it doesn’t make sense,” he said. Bush said the percent of the gross domestic product that goes to government spending is “breathtaking,” saying the figure is somewhere around 40 percent.
“Those numbers look more like what we typically equate with a European-style government, rather than an American-style that rewards individual achievement and tries to focus on taking care of the most needy, rather than creating a security blanket for all of us,” Bush said. “That stifles, in my opinion, innovation and the ability to create more prosperity.”
Bush expressed his desire for the Republican Party to become the entrepreneurial party in the U.S., saying “the United States should be a place where people that pursue their dreams, take risks, work hard are rewarded. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that.”
“I’m sick of hearing people, particularly in Washington, look at capitalism as a sin. In fact it is our savior for greater prosperity,” he added.
Senior Brandon Hines, chairman of the College Republicans, said he believed Bush’s message was inspiring to the audience.
“I think his ideas are ideas that everyone can get behind. I think that it was a wonderful speech,” Hines said. “It was a tremendous honor to be able to host him and to have such a great, successful governor here at GW to talk about the future of the Republican Party.”