Jeb Bush’s Cunning Strategy?
Posted By Mickey Kaus On 6:21 PM 04/06/2014
Jeb’s Jejune Swoon: Why did Jeb Bush say those provocative, seemingly jejune things about illegal border crossing being “not a felony” but ” an act of love? Obviously it’s what he actually thinks. But, again, why did he say it? Two theories:
1) He’s running in 2016 and thinks he can compensate for giving amnesty to all the illegal border crossers (mainly from Mexico) by cracking down and even deporting visa-overstayers (who aren’t so much from Latin America). It’s a weak attempt to appease immigration hawks–but it’s also a double-pander to many Latinos, who (rightly) resent politicians who talk about building a Southern fence while ignoring the visa-overstay problem. Clever! I don’t think the immigration hawks will be fooled, though, since Bush also endorsed the Gang of 8 bill, which legalizes instantly while postponing enforcement until later.
2) He’s not running, but he’s making space for Marco Rubio. Look at it this way: The GOP establishment is desperate to suppress Tea Party conservatives and also obtain the immigration amnesty they believe will win Latinos and relieve them of the need to do too much rethinking in other areas. The problem for the establishment is lack of candidates. Rubio was a favorite, but he sabotaged himself among core Republican primary voters with his disingenuous, flip-floppy championing of the Gang of 8′s bill. That left Christie–but then Christie got caught in a traffic jam. That left Jeb, probably the establishment’s original choice–but it turns out that Jeb is still a Bush, and even the Bushes are sick of the Bushes. That leaves … well, Rubio again. Maybe he can be rehabilitated in time for the primaries! How? Hmm. Well, if Jeb takes a stand way far out in a squishy idealistic pro-amnesty direction, that creates space for his quondam protege, Rubio, to stake out a position that’s seemingly tougher–e.g. “Jeb’s off base there. Saying it’s an ‘act of love’ obscures the very real problems illegal immigration can cause, which is why I am strong on border enforcement, etc.” Of course Rubio would still be for amnesty, and the establishment would know this. But it might help smuggle him through the primaries. ….
P.S.: The need to rehabilitate Rubio–which means avoiding a big immigration fight, at least in 2015 and 2016–would be one more reason the GOP establishment might feel it’s now-or-never for passing an immigration reform bill. That would help explain the increasingly desperate and sneaky (but possible successful) efforts to keep amnesty alive. …