These two headlines caught my attention:
They go together like salt and peter.
The first one is a set-up for the second, putting him squarely in the hard-right tent on immigration, a place that even his older brother wouldn’t go, and setting him apart from that other possible candidate from Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (also known as The Waterboy) and a number of Republicans who don’t wear teabags on their head. It’s also a flip-flop from a view he held until recently, telling Charlie Rose in June 2012 that he supported a pathway to citizenship:
“You have to deal with this issue. You can’t ignore it,” he said during that interview. “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 legalization, a path to residency of some kind.”
And as recently as January of this year he was sounding all nice and inclusive about immigration.
So why the change? Headline number two.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won’t confirm he’s a candidate for the next presidential race, but he sounded like a White House hopeful Monday, declaring his party in need of leadership.
“I have a voice, I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the Republican party can regain its footing, because we’ve lost our way,” he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer.
Bush said he wouldn’t rule out a run in 2016, “but I won’t declare today either.”
Um, going on the Today show and not ruling it out pretty much means he’s declaring by omission, especially the part where he talked about the failure of Mitt Romney to — wait for it — “garner more support from Hispanic voters during the last election cycle.”
And we’re back to Headline number 1.
His approach to immigration now seems to be “love the sinner but hate the sin,” a philosophy that worked so well in the gay-rights debate and smacks of patronizing: we’re delighted to have you here to cut our grass, pick our lettuce, and do our laundry, but you can never truly be one of us even if you jump through all the hoops that we come up with to make it all but impossible for anyone but a very rich person with a good lawyer can get through.
If this is his idea of how to garner more support from Hispanic voters, a lot of whom care about immigration over many other issues, it needs some work.
On the other hand, it did get headlines, which at this stage of the game, is pretty much all a possible presidential campaign can hope for.
PS: Eric Loomis notes that this “is a sign that leading Republicans can be serious about winning the 2016 Republican nomination or they can be serious about winning the general election, but they can’t be serious about both.”