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Monday, March 04, 2013

New, immigrant-friendly GOP nearing the end of its shelflife

Steve Benen notes with confusion that Jeb Bush has completely flip-flopped on the issue of a path to citizenship for undocumented people. “It was just five weeks ago that the former Republican governor co-wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed that called for, among other things, ‘a system that will include a path to citizenship,’” he writes, but now Jeb’s all “build the danged fence!”

[In an interview on the Today show], Bush argued, “[I]f we want to create an immigration policy that’s going to work, we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration.”

The Florida Republican added that, as far as he’s concerned, “many” undocumented immigrants “don’t want to be citizens of our country. They want to come here, they want to work hard, they want to provide for the families, some of them want to come home, not necessarily all of them want to stay as citizens.”

Bush did not explain how or why he abandoned the position he held as recently as late January, but it’s certainly not a helpful development for reform proponents. As we recently discussed, a pathway to citizenship isn’t some luxury add-on element — it’s largely the point of working on reform in the first place. This provision is at the heart of the entire endeavor, which is why it’s included the bipartisan Senate plan, President Obama’s plan, and even the Bush/Cheney plan that the far-right killed in 2007.

So what gives? Well, this were a casino, I’d put my chips on Bush running in 2016.


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.”

The bottom line here is that Republicans can’t go sane on immigration without pissing off the base. And they can’t win a primary without the base. So all that stuff about wooing Latino voters and having a “come to Jesus moment” on immigration? I wouldn’t get too used to it. If a Republican wants to get a chance at taking the White House, they’re going to have to get through the Tea Party loons first. And the Tea Party loons demand that candidates hate immigrants.The supposedly new and more tolerant version of the GOP is rapidly dying. So, if you want a good idea of who’s planning a 2016 run, look for polar reversals like Bush’s here.

It seems the word of the day is “snollygoster.”

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