Bob Dole: GOP should be ‘closed for repairs’


WASHINGTON — The Republican Party has changed so drastically in recent years, the current GOP wouldn’t welcome the likes of Ronald Reagan, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said Sunday.

The current GOP ought to be “closed for repairs” because it lacks a vision and is unable to strike deals with Democrats, Dole said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Kansas Republican said he was disturbed by his party’s obstructionist behavior on Capitol Hill. “It seems almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget or legislation,” he said.

President Barack Obama also deserves blame for failing to reach out to Republicans in his first term and cultivate better relationships across party lines, Dole said.

Asked whether he would be welcomed by the Republican Party today, Dole said, “I doubt it. Reagan wouldn’t have made it, certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

Dole said his party needs stronger leadership. “Somebody has to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to do this,’ ” he said.

The comments from the one-time presidential candidate reflect broad dissatisfaction with the state of the Republican Party, even among rank and file supporters. Nearly half of self-identified Republicans in an April Washington Post-ABC News poll said their party is “out of touch” with the concerns of most Americans, while barely one in five Democrats said their own party was out of sync. And in a January Post-ABC poll, 67 percent of all Americans said Republicans in Congress were not doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues, compared with 48 percent who saw Obama as too stubborn.

Scott Clement contributed to this article.