Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jeb Bush Decides He Wants to Run But Not Win. Game Changer!

Why do the two-step when I can do the three-step?

As someone who has chosen this week to demonstrated why it's not wise to trust him -- or his judgment -- Jeb Bush has definitely filled the bill. Respected as a rare Republican moderate, he's in the past expressed support for a path to citizenship for undocumented workers as part of any broad immigration reform. Here he was in June of 2012 as quoted on Charlie Rose:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he supports both a path to citizenship or legal residency for the more than 11 million people living in the United States illegally.

“You have to deal with this issue. You can’t ignore it, and so either a path to citizenship, which I would support--and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives--or ... a path... to residency of some kind,” he said during an interview last week with Charlie Rose on CBS.

Bush’s position diverges from that of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who oppposes amnesty, supports the use of e-verify to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, and has promised to build a “high-tech” fence to help secure the border.

Bush said he agreed with Romney on the need to secure the border and the importance of raising the number of work visas available for high-skilled workers. But he warns that the tone of the immigration debate among Republicans is “shortsighted.”

“It sends a signal,” Bush said. “We want your support, but you can’t join our team.”
This week, however, he was on a book tour, during which he decided to take a detour from his usual moderation:
A "pathway to citizenship" is an integral part of immigration bills being considered by the White House and bipartisan groups in Congress. Bush explained that his idea is for illegal immigrants who came to the country as adults to attain a level of legal status. But he said that it should not be full U.S. citizenship, arguing that "those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship."
The idea is one that has been floated in conservative circles as a way to solve the thorny issue of illegal immigration: recognize that millions of illegal immigrants will not leave nor should they be forced to leave, but at the same time do not reward them for breaking U.S. immigration laws.
The Florida Democratic Party said Bush's credibility on immigration has "vanished." Senate President [sic] Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Bush "made a fool of himself."
It would have been bad enough if Jeb Bush had stopped there. Instead, the next day he thought he'd better walk back the change of heart that, among other things, was right there in the book he was hawking! On Morning Joe:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) walked back one of his new book's principles on immigration reform on the same day it was released, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday that he would support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants if it could be done without creating a magnet for more unauthorized immigration.
"So going forward -- we wrote this last year -- going forward, if there is a difference, 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, I'm for it," he said on MSNBC. "I don't have a problem with that. I don't see how you do it, but I'm not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law."
So there you go. Flip, flop, flip. It's hard to know what to make of this. It's possible that he didn't mean for this to happen, and it's possible that he might yet repair the damage, but watching him the last few days using a book tour to promote his prospects and then, through his pronouncements on immigration reform, trash those prospects, has been completely mystifying.

I don't see this helping him in 2016 -- he's hinted he's headed for a presidential try in interviews this week -- because, well, flip-flopping has sunk more than one former presidential candidate. Also, the Latino community can now, uh, trust him?

There's one frame that makes sense. Jeb means to say "I don't support a path to citizenship" to the conservative base, while giving a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to Hispanics, as in "I was always in favor of a path to citizenship." Folded into this strategy is that an immigration bill will pass that has a path to citizenship that winds on ad infinitum through bizarroland making citizenship so painful and distant that most undocumented workers won't bother but instead opt for the lesser goal of residency.

Such a convoluted law is something that wouldn't surprise me. It's a twist in the messaging to Latinos: We're for you, really, but it didn't work out, so vote for us anyway. Weird but not as crazy as it sounds. It satisfies the GOP base without doing what, let's face it, the Republicans really, really don't want to do: create more Latino voters who won't vote for Republicans.

Okay, now I get it. Citizens can vote, legal residents cannot.

If I can't get out of this guy's shadow, I might as well have a little fun!

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