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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said this morning that both George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan would have struggled to win the presidential nomination in the current, far right-wing Republican party.

Although Bush went on claim that President Barack Obama is somehow to blame for the Republicans’ attitude that “bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view,” he does have a point: there is no room for moderation in the current hyper-partisan GOP.

Here are some reasons why six of the most famous Republican presidents wouldn’t have had a prayer at winning the 2012 nomination:

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln would have been trashed as a socialist for opposing states’ rights to allow slavery, and for standing up for labor with this quote:

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.


Teddy Roosevelt


Teddy Roosevelt’s square deal — which focused on conserving natural resources, reigning in corporations, and providing new consumer protections — would be anathema to modern Republicans. Furthermore, his attacks against “the representatives of predatory wealth” would certainly have nauseated Cory Booker.

Dwight Eisenhower

Modern Republicans would surely have turned on Dwight Eisenhower for this quote, in which he chastises Texas oil millionaires for trying to abolish Social Security (among other government programs:)

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.


Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon would have been blasted as a big-government tree-hugger for his role in creating Republicans’ least favorite part of the government, the Environmental Protection Agency.

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush would struggle to live down his support for abortion rights and his dismissal of Reagan’s tax plan as “voodoo economics” in the modern Republican party.

Ronald Reagan

Although today’s Republicans don’t like to admit it, Ronald Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his two terms in office.

For more presidential history, see the six businessmen who failed in the White House.

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