Former Senator Bob Dole in 2008.
(CBS NEWS) -- Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole doesn't think much of his party these days.
who ran against President Bill Clinton in 1996 and was the leader of
Senate Republicans for much of the 1980s and 90s, slammed the GOP for
excessive obstructionism and for failing to convey a forward-looking
agenda during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Never one to
mince words, Dole did not absolve President Obama of the blame for the
dysfunction in Washington, D.C., but he directed the lion's share of his
criticism at his own party.
"I think they ought to put a sign
on the [Republican] national committee doors that says 'closed for
repairs' until New Year's Day next year and spend that time going over
ideas and positive agendas," Dole said.
Asked whether Republicans
of years past, many of whom had a more diplomatic approach to
compromise and governance than today's Republicans, would be able to
make it in the modern GOP, Dole said, "I doubt it."
wouldn't have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn't have made it, because he
had ideas," he explained. "We might have made it, but I doubt it."
much of the blame for the gridlock, Dole said, rests with a fractious
Congress that seems more interested in partisan drama than doing its
"It seems to be almost unreal that we can't get together on a
budget or legislation," Dole said, comparing today's Congress
unfavorably with the institution in which he served for decades. "We
weren't perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done."
The Senate, Dole said, is in particularly dire need of a fix.
it's not quite broken, it's "bent really badly," he said. "As [former
Senate leader] Howard Baker said, 'Running the Senate is like herding
cats.' But it takes leadership. Somebody has to stand up and say, 'We're
going to do this.'"
Dole said there is "no doubt" Republicans
have abused the filibuster by erecting a record number of procedural
hurdles during President Obama's tenure. "There are some cases we can
probably justify it, but not many," he said.
Dole's acerbic commentary on his own party, he said that President
Obama, who has been criticized as aloof and detached, must shoulder some
of the blame for the toxic stew of partisanship that D.C. has become.
not a critic of the president, but I think one mistake he's made was
not getting together more with Congress earlier on, in his first
administration," Dole said. "There's nothing like knowing the person
you're talking to on the telephone if you've had an opportunity to sit
down with that person and visit, not about anything, but just visit."
"I think, as a president, he lacks communication skills with his own party, let alone the Republican Party," he added.
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