• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Jeb Bush To Republicans: Stop Being Stupid On Immigration

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is scheduled to speak to convention delegates on Thursday, told a panel at the Republican National Convention today that the GOP needs to change its position on immigration or risk becoming a minority party:

With Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama badly among Hispanic voters in the polls, Republicans paraded out their top Hispanic political celebrities Tuesday and tapped the financial and influential heft of former Gov. Jeb Bush to help suture the gap.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Republican National Convention, Bush repeated his frequent warning that the party must change its tone, an admonition he has frequently raised about the party’s hardline position on immigration.

“The future of our party is to reach out consistently to have a tone that is open and hospitable to people who share values,” he said, adding “the conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”

Bush was joined by two Latino governors in an event organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, a newly formed advocacy group associated with the American Action Network. The group will finance issue ads and promote what it calls a “center-right” agenda.

Bush’s youngest son, Jeb Bush Jr, announced the emergence of SunPac, a Coral Gables-based organization that targets young Hispanics in Florida to support their issues and get involved in politics.

And the prime time television schedule included two of the convention’s five Hispanics headliners: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz. The others, Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, will follow Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney on Thursday.

The top draw for Republicans showcasing their Hispanic bonafides: Rubio.

Rubio, echoing the Romney-ticket line, said the campaign wants to reach out to Hispanics in the way it appeals to other groups. But first, he said, they must make progress on immigration.

“While that may not be the No. 1 issue in the Hispanic community, it is a gateway issue,” he told the Hispanic Leadership Network on Tuesday.

This is isn’t a new theme for Bush, of course, or Rubio. Both men have been critical of Republican immigration policies and rhetoric in recent years, although Bush has been far more outspoken than Rubio since he has the luxury of not being an elected official at the moment. This has also been a theme of Bush’s ever since his days a Governor of Florida, though, and there was a time when his message was welcome in the Republican Party. His brother, for example, had a similarly good relationship with Hispanic voters when he was Governor of Texas and,  in 2004, received 44% of the Hispanic vote, a number that has  not been matched by any Republican candidate before or since. The Bush Presidency also saw an effort toward comprehensive immigration reform that actually had bipartisan support, something rare in Washington today for anything other than naming a Post Office, only to see it derailed when conservative activists in the GOP began to rebel over what they called “amnesty.”

Today, that rebellion has almost fully taken over the GOP to the point where candidates who disagree with it find it very hard to succeed with the base. When Rick Perry dared to suggest that his state’s plan to provide in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants who otherwise met all the requirements for Texas residency under the law, a plan that passed with overwhelming support in the heavily Republican Texas legislature, he as attacked by his opponents from all sides and saw his poll numbers start to slip. Politicians such as Lindsey Graham who suggest a more humane position on immigration for the part are denounced as RINOs. And, in general, anyone who strays from what has now seemingly become hard line anti-immigration orthodoxy inside the GOP is targeted by activists who actually seem to think that it’s possible to deport the 20 million people who are estimated to be in the country illegally. The only exceptions to this rule seem to be Hispanic politicians such as Rubio, Martinez, and Sandoval, all of whom have expressed disagreement with the hard-right position on immigration and support for things such as a modified version of the DREAM Act.

Politically, the price that Republicans are paying for what Jeb Bush correctly called stupidity can be seen in the polls, such as a recent poll showing that the President has a 39 point advantage over Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters. Because of that, the GOP finds it hard to compete in a state like California and, as time goes on, is likely to face similar problems in other states with growing Hispanic populations such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia. Purely out of a survival instinct, you’d think that Republicans would realize that they cannot sustain this position for long. Changing demographics in the United States will make it impossible for any political party to succeed nationally without at least some significant degree of support from the nation’s fastest growing minority group. However, the GOP currently shows no signs of either recognizing these facts or wanting to do anything to deal with him.

No doubt, this is something that Republican insiders, pollsters, and analysts are all well aware of and many of them no doubt agree with Bush on this issue. However, we no longer live in a world where political bosses control political party’s like they used to be able to. Increasingly, and especially in the Republican Party in recent years, the direction of the party is influenced by the base and the activists that purport to speak for the base. Among that community, Bush’s words will no doubt be ridiculed and rejected rather than listened to. Indeed, one need only look through the comments to the Hot Air post about this story to see what “the base” thinks of the former Governor of Florida these days. It’s too bad, really, because he’s giving them good advice and they’re going to wonder what they heck happened to their party when they wake up in a few election cycles and see states that used to be reliably Republican now being considered up for grabs because of the Hispanic population that they chose to ignore.

Will Bush bring this up in his speech on Thursday night? Since he’ll be speaking before Mitt Romney, probably not, but he ought to.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    the Hispanic population that they chose to ignore

    Heck, it’s not even just ignore. How about just not demonizing?

    I mean, the GOP doesn’t need to do a total 180 here. There’s plenty of space between “build a wall and open fire” [thanks for that idea, not-Joe the not-a-Plumber] and the mythical open borders position that basically nobody holds.

    But look… you live by xenophobia and you’re gonna die by it. At least in the short term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Bleev K says:

    He should have stopped after the word stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Will Bush bring this up in his speech on Thursday night? Since he’ll be speaking before Mitt Romney, probably not, but he ought to.

    If he even tried, he would be welcomed just as Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization, or as Reince Priebus said< “the distinguished Lady from Puerto Rico.” The GOP hate even their own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. Liberty60 says:

    White ethnic resentment has become the crack cocaine of the GOP; they know how poisonous it is, but they just can’t help themselves from hitting the pipe again, and again.

    I’m just hoping it will finally be seen , naked and unmasked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. Brutalfacts says:

    The Republicans have a problem.

    Since a good portion of their base is made up (I will say it) racists, homophobes, and evangelicals. A move to sanity will result in good deal of anger. Moving to the left on these issues is not possible since the GOP primaries down ballot will require aggressive wingnut stances to survive and move on the general election. As a result the party becomes more and more marginalized nationally as the electorate trends blue.

    The only way they will accomplish a move to the center and attract minorities will require a great deal of pain. It will require cutting loose a large portion of the base at the national level resulting in a possible 3rd party as the GOP drifts leftward to attract a move diverse base. In the process they will lose House and Senate seats as the vote gets split and nationally they are a non-factor for several election cycles.

    Romney has a narrow path to the White House as it is, that path will only narrow further until it becomes impossible. And Romney is as good as the GOP was ever going to get this cycle, basically a blank slate with an Etch a Sketch. I fully expect Obama to win re-election, govern aggressively in his second term and set up what could be a generation of Democratic dominance. Not so good for the country but better than our hyper partisan present.

    This election is the GOP’s last stand and they know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I think what people are forgetting about that incident is that it occurred right after the votes on delegate credentials and the Rules changes that had aroused much passion among Ron Paul supporters and others. After those votes, and before this woman spoke, the Ron Paul supporters started chanting “Point of Order” and then, for some reason, Romney supporters started chanting “USA, USA.” This back and forth on the floor continued right through this woman’s report on whatever committee she was representing. Because of the context in which it all occurred, I am not convinced the chants were directed at her at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I think what people are forgetting about that incident is that it occurred right after the votes on delegate credentials and the Rules changes that had aroused much passion among Ron Paul supporters and others. After those votes, and before this woman spoke, the Ron Paul supporters started chanting “Point of Order” and then, for some reason, Romney supporters started chanting “USA, USA.” This back and forth on the floor continued right through this woman’s report on whatever committee she was representing. Because of the context in which it all occurred, I am not convinced the chants were directed at her at all.

    People were yelling “go back home” since they were unhappy about the rule changes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. Where were they doing that? On the video I watched they were chanting “USA”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. Me Me Me says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    for some reason, Romney supporters started chanting “USA, USA.”

    for some reason…

    what could that be?

    could not possibly be the lady from Puerto Rico on the stage – that is absolutely out of the question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  10. PJ says:

    @Me Me Me:
    People scream USA to drown out others, I truly doubt that those who did that did at the lady from Puerto Rico.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I saw reports about it, and considering that there were two who threw peanuts at a black woman working for CNN, I, sadly, don’t doubt the reports.

    And the RNC is refusing to give any information on the two who threw peanuts.
    And so is CNN, because, I guess, both sides do it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. @Doug Mataconis:

    My understanding is that those were the two competing chants, “go back home” and “U.S.A.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. mattb says:

    @PJ:

    I saw reports about it, and considering that there were two who threw peanuts at a black woman working for CNN, I, sadly, don’t doubt the reports.

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    This can’t be used as a QED proof that all Republicans are racist any more than comments by a Yahoo! producer (http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/yahoo-news-editor-fired-after-saying-that-republicans-like-to-party-while-black-people-are-drowning/) can be used a proof that all Journalists are biased liberals or that all liberals think that all Republicans celebrate the suffering of minorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. @mattb:

    There is an interesting symmetry there. The “peanut” example is racism on the convention floor, the “yahoo” example is expectation of racism on the convention floor.

    Should we really treat “yahoo’s” expectation equal with to the thing he fears?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. @this:

    Maybe Balloon Juice is the only one reporting “go back home.” It will sort out in a day or so.

    (I looked carefully at the video, and some of the mouth movement looked more like “home” than “A” to me, but I’m hardly an expert. I certainly would not be admissible in court.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Trying to get Republicans as a whole to stop being stupid regarding immigration is like trying to get all the beer out of Ireland or all the poverty out of Chicago, Detroit, Philly and L.A. Not gonna’ happen. You might as well go tilt at windmills.

    That said, however, there is a giant, neon, flaming, flashing political elephant (donkey, actually) in the room. The Democrat Party does not want to solve the immigration problem. I mean, come on, do you actually believe it’s a coincidence that from Jan. ’09 through Jan. ’11 the Democrats in D.C. did absolutely nothing regarding immigration reform? Let’s not be as naive as white bread. From the Democrats’ standpoint it’s far more beneficial to have a divisive issue with which to demonize the GOP and to gin up an identity politics play with the Latino demographic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  17. @Tsar Nicholas:

    I mean, come on, do you actually believe it’s a coincidence that from Jan. ’09 through Jan. ’11 the Democrats in D.C. did absolutely nothing regarding immigration reform?

    Do you suppose it has anything to do with illegal immigration running net-negative in that time?

    Mexican immigration now net negative!

    Seriously, what more do you want?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. de stijl says:

    Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is scheduled to speak to convention delegates on Thursday, told a panel at the Republican National Convention today that the GOP needs to change its position on immigration or risk becoming a minority party:

    The parable of the frog and the scorpion was never more applicable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Spartacus says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Because of the context in which it all occurred, I am not convinced the chants were directed at her at all.”

    That’s a very good point. The chants may have been directed at the black CNN worker who had had peanuts thrown at her by a GOPer who yelled “This is how we feed the animals.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Spartacus,

    You are aware, of course, that those individuals were immediately ejected from the convention floor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. PJ says:

    @mattb:

    This can’t be used as a QED proof that all Republicans are racist any more than comments by a Yahoo! producer

    I never made that argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You are aware, of course, that those individuals were immediately ejected from the convention floor.

    And the RNC is refusing to say anything about them.
    Are they delegates? Are they going to allowed in again? Etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. An Interested Party says:

    From the Democrats’ Republicans’ standpoint it’s far more beneficial to have a divisive issue, like lying about the President’s welfare reform policies, with which to demonize and racebait the GOP Democrats and to gin up an identity politics play with the Latino White demographic.

    Happy to be of help…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. Spartacus says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “You are aware, of course, that those individuals were immediately ejected from the convention floor.”

    I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. I said that the chants could have been directed at the black CNN worker. I did not say that the chants came from the people throwing peanuts at the worker. That was a different group of racists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, I would have bought that except I watched the video. Several people (drowned out by chants of U-S-A could plainly be seen mouthing the words “GO BACK HOME!”

    Between this and peanut throwing blow-hards feeding the animals…. Doug, stop, just stop. I truly believe that you (and James) are not racist, but the two of you are so myopic…

    Look, don’t take my word for it. Talk to some blacks. Talk to some Hispanics. Have an honest conversation with them. Say, “Some people tell me this stuff is racist. Is it?” And then…. STFU. Because you will get both barrels. They will call you blind. They will call you deaf. They will call you stupid. And at the end of it…. you will be convinced that, yes, you are stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For someone who claims that he has nothing to do with Republicans, Doug certainly doesn’t mind carrying their water…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    The Green Party (the party that many believes will eventually become the second political party to replace the collapsed Republican Party) supports open borders and unlimited immigraiton.

    Was the Green say on their own web site http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/social-justice.php#1002510

    The Green Party accepts as a goal a world in which persons can freely choose to live in and work in any county he or she desires.

    Considering the Green Party is what progressives would do if they thought they could get away with it, it is easy to see that the left side of politics in the U.S. supports open borders and unlimited immigration. That over 100 million people who live in third word want to move to the U.S. means nothing when progressives are seeking status by support stupid policies.

    What is also ironic is that the Green Party believes that the U.S. can have single payer health care while maintaining open borders and unlimited immigration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    The reason that net illegal immigration is negative is the collapse of the economy and the lack of new construction.

    What is amazing is that progressives keep claiming that self deportation will not work while pointing out that self deportation is actually occurring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  29. Rob in CT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The Greens?

    Hahahahahahahaha! You’re even loonier than I ever thought. The Greens are going nowhere. When you have to point to the platform of a party that never gets more than a couple of percentage points of the vote, you’ve got nothing.

    Considering the Green Party is what progressives would do if they thought they could get away with it

    Um, no. That’s just what the voices in your head tell you.

    Though oddly enough that immigration statement fits right in with the Libertarian position on the matter (actually consistent Libertarians, that is).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. @superdestroyer:

    Of course it’s the economy, but the question was why progressives don’t stop the immigration which isn’t happening.

    I mean, it’s an odd time for immigration paranoia … unless it is just an irrational response to unemployment rates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. @Rob in CT:

    superdestroyer should write a good post-apocalyptic novel about the world the dems and greens will make. It would sell well in the sidebar at NR, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Barry says:

    @john personna: “superdestroyer should write a good post-apocalyptic novel about the world the dems and greens will make. It would sell well in the sidebar at NR, etc. ”

    The Turner Diaries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    You do not have to write a novel. Just look at Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles to see what the future holds: a slowly increasing unemployment rate, a growing government budget what is almost totally spent on entitlements, a small group of patron-class elites that control everything, and a large percentage of the population in the peon-class.

    There is not be any big collapse but just a slow fading away into becoming a third world country. The only question is the speed of the collapse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0