Both former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., and former GOP Florida Gov. Jeb Bush agreed that there is a clear divide among red and blue politics in the United States and there needs to be a move toward a “purple” way of thinking.
Tuesday night, both Bradley and Bush took the stage at Ed Landreth Auditorium for the Fogelson Honors Forum where they gave opening statements followed by a question and answer session. The questions were taken from those submitted online by the public.
Both men agreed that changes need to be made in Washington, and the upcoming election provides the opportunity for such a change.
“Someone ought to stop the food fight and maybe our government will work better than it does today,” Bush said.
The move toward purple politics means putting “country ahead of party,” Bradley said.
Bush agreed that politics should make a move away from partisanship and focus on the issues at hand.
In his opening statement, Bradley said it is time to break the nation’s addiction to oil. He said red and blue states have a broad common view: they want to send their kids to college, provide their families with health care and receive a pension.
Although their fundamental political beliefs are different, Bradley and Bush did agree on major issues affecting the country, especially the use of oil.
“I am a skeptic of global warming and lot of people think it is the most pressing issue,” Bush said. “We converge on finding alternative sources of energy; why fight?”
Bradley said it is important to raise automotive standards in order to increase efficiency and lower the use of oil. He also suggested a tax on large sport utility vehicles such as Hummers and rebates for Americans who choose more efficient vehicles.
Education was also a topic of discussion. Bush said radically changing the education system is the most important long-term issue.
“The reality is if we don’t improve the education system, we are not going to be competitive in the 21st century,” Bradley said.
Bush said the ideal situation would be an “avalanche” of well-qualified students applying for admission to universities like TCU. Both said teachers should be paid on merit rather than length of tenure.
Peggy Watson, director of the Honors Program, said she was pleased with the discussion and called it a confident success.
“Both men were able to agree and disagree while maintaining respect and staying cordial to each other,” Watson said.
Maddison Grigsby, a junior international finance major who asked Bush and Bradley questions from the public, said the question and answer session helped to get the audience involved.
Grigsby, vice president of the Honors Cabinet, said this was the highlight of the night because Bush and Bradley were comfortable with the audience and each other.
“They were able to be spontaneous and were kind of able to banter,” Grigsby said. “They had very distinct viewpoints, which made for a more interesting conversation.”