This weekend in San Francisco while speaking to the National Automobile Dealers Association, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) said, “First and foremost we need to control our border.”(Emphasis added.)
“The 40 percent of the people that have come here illegally came with a legal visa and overstayed their bounds,” he added. “We ought to be able to figure out where they are and politely ask them to leave.”
State and local enforcement should partner with the federal government to encourage illegal aliens to return to their home countries in a “compassionate” way, Bush continued.
I saw this story at Breitbart, and the quote is so gobsmackingly tone-deaf for a would-be Republican nominee that at first I thought it had to be a paraphrase of what Jeb actually said. No -- he really said it, according to C-SPAN.
This quote is going to haunt him until he drops out, which he will do very, very early in the race, assuming he runs at all. In fact, this quote is going to haunt him for the rest of his political life (although I guess this race will probably end his political life).
Mitt Romney, at least, is trying to win back the GOP's affection primarily by waving a lot of red meat at Republicans in order to achieve his goals, even if it's not as much as the rest of the field. But Jeb has apparently decided that the base wants to be insulted and will reward repeated insults with votes. It's the kind of conclusion you come to when you take centrist pundits seriously -- voters want you to give it to them straight. No, they don't -- Republican voters sure don't. Elsewhere we're told that Jeb said of America's population of undocumented immigrants, “There is no way they are going to be deported. No one is suggesting an organized effort to do that. The cost would be extraordinary." Really? Is that what you think, Jeb? The people whose votes you want think deporting all undocumented immigrants is precisely what we should be doing, cost be damned -- and we should have across-the-board tax cuts at the same time! And balance the budget! While fighting more overseas wars!
It apparently flatters Jeb's ego to imagine that he's going to be 2016's big truth-teller. Jon Huntsman went on the same ego trip four years ago. It's a weird, autistic-spectrum approach to running for president. And it's going to work out for Jeb exactly the way it worked out for Huntsman. Unless his real goal is a slot in Hillary Clinton's Cabinet.