Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Yesterday I concluded that Jeb Bush had decided to come out against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants after concluding that he won't really need to be particularly appealing to the Obama voting coalition if he runs for president in 2016.

Now, however, I see that he just screwed up.

National Journal says Jeb just had an unfortunate timing problem -- unconvincingly:
When Bush and coauthor Clint Bolick were writing the book during the 2012 presidential campaign, the GOP was veering far to the right. Republican nominee Mitt Romney had staked out a hard-line position against illegal immigration, blasting his primary rivals as pro-amnesty and promoting "self-deportation" for undocumented workers. Bush sent the book to the printer before Christmas -- weeks before a handful of Senate Republicans embraced a sweeping overhaul that, like the proposals backed by Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush, would allow illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.

In other words, Bush's party unexpectedly moved a lot faster than the book-publishing world.
Wait -- they sent it to the printer before Christmas and they didn't see that even some Republicans were being to look at immigration policies that included citizenship for the undocumented? How slow a reader is Jeb that he couldn't process the Hispanic exit-poll numbers from, y'know, early November? Sean Hannity announced that he'd "evolved" on immigration and now supported a path to citizenship on November 8. Lindsey Graham said he was working with Chuck Schumer on an immigration bill that included citizenship on November 11. How can Jeb say he didn't see this coming?

And Jeb, of course, had supported a path to citizenship during the campaign, at the time he was writing this book opposing a path to citizenship. (National Journal, June 12, 2012: "Jeb Bush Supports Path to Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants.")

Oh, and in late January of this year -- after the book had gone to the printer, but before it had been published -- Jeb and his coauthor, Clint Bolick, wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which they endorsed a path to citizenship:
A practicable system of work-based immigration for both high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants -- a system that will include a path to citizenship -- will help us meet workforce needs, prevent exportation of jobs to foreign countries and protect against the exploitation of workers.
So Jeb said he was pro-citizenship while writing an anti-citizenship book. He teased that anti-citizenship book with a pro-citizenship op-ed. Following along so far?

Oh, and now:
Jeb Bush Disagrees With His Own Book Hours After It's Published

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday that he would support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants "if you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn't an incentive for people to come illegally" -- a position that puts him at odds with his new book, out today from Simon & Schuster....
You can argue (as did several of my commenters yesterday) that most people aren't paying attention, so it's fine for Jeb to keep his position murky. And it's true that most people aren't paying attention, and won't remember in 2016 what he's said up to now.

But do you know who will remember?

* Rabidly anti-immigrant Republican primary voters.
* The Hispanic voters Jeb would need to make inroads with if he got to a general election.

These aren't tiny voting blocs. The former will see him as a Romneyesque flip-flopper. The latter will see him as an unreliable ally (especially as compared to his Democratic opponent, who'll likely have a pretty solid pro-citizenship record). And if you're going to flip-flop, at least try to avoid going flip-flop-flip.

But that's Jeb, I guess. On this, he's not a decider.


Though I'll add that I stand by my read on the GOP's need for a big makeover between now and 2016 -- I wish I thought Republicans needed to do more, but I'm afraid they might get away with slapping on a few coats of paint, if they find the right candidate and the press plays along. But I don't think the right candidate will be Jeb, judging from this.


aimai said...

I suspected this was the case. The lead time for a book is substantial and Jeb! etc... are always behind the curve.

I stand by my point in the thread below.
1) the Republican hierarchy still divides things into "primary" and "general"--because they have toand still thinks its possible, or at any rate inevitable, that their main candidates will have to run two separate campaigns.

Personally if I were Rove and the Koch brothers I'd push to make all local primaries "open" primaries hoping that democrats and squishy republican would force the primary system to the center so they could squeeze in some respectable "centrist" (read: staunch corporate Republicans) and force out the tea party/rednecks at the primary level.

If Rove could do it he would. They gain nothing by letting their Id run rampant during the primaries pushing Bachmann types to the top of the heap only to watch them fail miserably as soon as a national spotlight is on them.

Ten Bears said...

As if a Latino outside of South Florida were to read Jeb!'s "book".

If I might attempt to paint a picture: your last paragraph, a, brings to mind the contrasts of capitalization and punctuation. Consider the difference between the uproarous demand "Jesus, that's the best you've got!?" and the sniveling "¿jesus, that's the best we've got?"

I stand by my long term observation: we are witnessing the death throes of The Republican Party. That it is tearing the rest of us down along with it is... unfortunate, but not at all a surprise.

No fear...

Steve M. said...

Ten Bears, you're overlooking one thing: the "liberal media" has come to hate Obama, largely because Establishment journos are pissed that he hasn't gutted Medicare and Social Security by now. The Establishment press still likes Hillary, but if she doesn't run in 2016, the journos really, really want Chris Christie or Marco Pretty Boy or Paul Ryan or Bobby Jindal or, hell, Scarborough himself to find a way to resolve the contradictions Aimai talks about and get elected. So the GOP will be graded on a curve for the next 3 1/2 years.

Victor said...

The GOP has been graded on a curve since Reagan gave his speech announcing his Presidential candidacy in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and only myself and handful of Liberals I knew WTF that was about.

The MSM loved them some "Dutch!"

It was like a HS boy's first crush.

Ten Bears said...

Plausable, statistically probable, but in the long run a failure. Fool me once... I just don't think they can continue to sell this snake oil.

There ain't nuthin' east o' The Rockies I need.

No fear...

Examinator said...

You're not sure that GDubbya is the dumbest Bush. You are forgetting basic physics and that all things are waves or may be lumps. Either way "Sh*t runs DOWN hill".
i.e. Both Gdubbya and Jeb are the lowest point wait for the next lumps/waves, Great Great grand children arrive then look out.
Maybe e bushette marrying a Democrat actor to become... I don't know... a governor of Kalifornia .