On Republican orthodoxy

Several days have passed since former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush shocked the GOP and said both his father and Ronald Reagan would have had difficulty in today's Republican Party because of a new "orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement." Even worse, Bush credited his father's 1990 deficit-reduction bill that raised taxes as a bipartisan compromise and an example that the elder Bush — like Reagan — was willing to find common ground to solve big problems.

Bush criticized President Obama's leadership in the same interview and blamed Democrats as well for the same partisan intransigence that he blamed for contributing to gridlock. But Bush's comments were startling for Republicans nonetheless. Bush, who has endorsed Mitt Romney, was the hope of many Republicans — even late in the primary season — who believed Romney couldn't win the general election against Obama.

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Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform whose no-new-taxes pledge has been blamed by some Republicans for the party's unwavering resistance to new "revenues" or tax hikes, called Jeb Bush's comments "bizarre" and "foolish." He asserted that the party has simply left Bush behind : "Jeb hasn't run for office for 10 years," Norquist said. "The modern Republican Party is a party that won't raise taxes."

The truth is, the modern Republican Party hasn't flipped out on Bush for the comments he made this week. Neither has the establishment. What's more, Norquist's week got even more interesting when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he is willing to break the pledge and the GOP will need to shift its position in order to reach a debt deal.

Can you hear the silence?



SHOULD THE GOP SHIFT ON TAXES FOR A DEBT DEAL? Ask A.B. returns Tuesday, June 19. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.