Political Animal


February 18, 2012 8:29 AM And one more thing about Jeb Bush…

By Rich Yeselson

He is, by political instincts as a Florida politician, and by the example of his own family, a immigration moderate. Yet there is no issue which galvanizes the Republican base as much as its anti-immigration resentment. As Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson argue in their brilliant and definitive analysis of the Tea Party, immigration animus combines all of the cultural and economic anxieties of tea party types. Immigrants—and we are talking here about Latino immigrants—are seen as “freeloaders” who defy the cultural norms of hard working, white America even as they sponge benefits from it. In their many interviews with Tea Party supporters around the country, the authors were themselves surprised to find that immigration was the issue that touched a nerve, whether in border states like Arizona or seemingly anomalous places like Massachusetts.

It remains insufficiently acknowledged that Rick Perry’s decline in the polls began not as a result of his inept debate performances, per se, but when he told a debate audience that “it did not have a heart” for opposing his bill to give the children of illegal immigrants a tuition break at Texas state universities. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll soon after this remark, his support among tea party supporters declined from 45% to 10%!

Recall that Jeb’s big brother, W, saw his GOP base support collapse after his failed attempt to pass immigration reform. Only then did his polls decline into the 20s. In short, Jeb Bush is no guarantee to appease the howling Republican base. Quite the contrary.


  • Mark-NC on February 18, 2012 9:13 AM:

    I have no faith in any of this. Faux News can declare that this is all "liberal press" out to get him and that crap always has a big chance of succeeding in Repugnantland.

  • berttheclock on February 18, 2012 9:25 AM:

    Faithful Tea Party members are simply trying to recapture the roots of this nation. Where, Quakers could be executed and/or banished from Massachusetts.

    In Oregon, most of the anti-brown venom comes from the Tea Party side. However, should the citizens of Oregon feel pompous about the majority being above this hatred, African-Americans were forced to leave Oregon by the early settlers and the legislature became very anti-Chinese laborers. For some, time never changes.

  • Percysowner on February 18, 2012 9:26 AM:

    This sounds good, but only applies if Jeb runs in the primaries, and it is too late for that. The real issue is if the Republicans pull out a brokered convention and convince Jeb to be the candidate. Then he can come to the General Election without all the far rightwing baggage. He can work to convince the non-Tea Party people that he is a "liberal" Republican and he won't have a campaign record to use against him.

    I still think it would be hard for him to win, but really, I think the one way for the Repubs to win the Presidency is to have a candidate who has not been vetted by the Primary race and who didn't have to play to the base, so they can be spun as moderate.

  • hells littlest angel on February 18, 2012 9:32 AM:

    Any time Wile E. Coyote unpacked a crate from Acme, it was obvious he was going to fuck things up. But he went right ahead and did it, anyway.

  • Kathryn on February 18, 2012 9:52 AM:

    The closest to appeasing the howling base, and howling they are, seems to be Santorum who is increasingly unhinged in his rhetoric. Charles Blow column in New York Times takes on his recent eye popping statements. Santorum's sense of religious persecution seems paranoid to me (Pres. Obama would force the Catholic Church to hire women priests and the guillotine is right around the corner), he reveres business to the point of genuflection and while I don't recall his statements on immigration, I'm confident he's in line with the Tea Party. The other day he was railing against federal and state funding for public schools. I forget the word he used instead of public lest he alarm people, but it was public schools he was talking about. What is frightening is he appears to believe what he's spouting, a true zealot. He is just the guy to bring out the base but will the moneyed back room boys allow him to win?

  • Danp on February 18, 2012 9:53 AM:

    I disagree that Tea Partiers see "illegals" as lazy moochers. They see them as stealing "middle class jobs" and lowering wages for everyone else. W invited larger numbers than were coming before by saying they do jobs Americans don't want, but when they are lined up outside Home Depot's or doing construction jobs on the highways, suddenly they are a threat.

  • RepublicanPointOfView on February 18, 2012 10:00 AM:

    We, the supporters of the Bush Family Dynasty, wish to make the following points:

    - Jeb Bush was supposed to be the next Bush Family President, not George W.
    - We acknowledge the current power of the Tea Party
    - We are hopeful that Santorum will be the Republican Party candidate
    - A thorough demolition of Santorum in the fall election will severely discredit the Tea Party
    - A thorough decreditation of the Tea Party is needed for the money interests to regain control of the Republican Party
    - We need another four years to rehabilitate the Bush name before Jeb runs for president

    Jeb in 2016!

  • berttheclock on February 18, 2012 10:11 AM:

    @Kathyrn, I believe what set Santorum off was when he learned part of the stimulus money had gone to a small tumbrell manufacturer in Pennsylvania.

  • berttheclock on February 18, 2012 10:31 AM:

    @Danp, in Oregon it goes beyond the "taking" of jobs. Many antis respond with "the illegal vote" and "illegals driving on our roads". Want to really set them off? Try using the word undocumented in any response to them. I would venture to say few of the antis ever check the documents of any construction or repair person doing work on their respective homes. However, one of most rabid antis posting at the Oregonian does claim he hires 114 immigrant workers a year and uses E-Verify and claims ICE has congratulated him three times for his status checks. But, he rants about voting and driving by, in his words, Illegals Yes, he is an "anti-Barry" poster as well.

  • navamske on February 18, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Isn't Jeb Bush somewhat inoculated against, or doesn't he have more credibility on, the immigration issue by virtue of his having a Mexican-American wife and half-Mexican-American children ("the little brown ones")?

  • Danp on February 18, 2012 10:45 AM:

    berttheclock - Point taken. "Illegals" are also seen as not contributing to the costs of schools, hospitals, roads, accidents, etc. But I've never heard anyone say they were lazy. In fact, I think most antis blame government at least equally for creating this flea market economy, where people get paid under the table and don't contribute to taxes or insurance costs - all at the expense of those who do pay.

  • Mustang Bobby on February 18, 2012 10:53 AM:

    Jeb could afford to be moderate on immigration when he was the governor of Florida because it's not that big an issue compared to other states that border Mexico. The only immigrants of any consequence in Florida are the Cubans, and they basically get a free pass on immigration thanks to wet foot/dry foot: once you land on Key West, you're home and dry. Caught a mile off shore and back you go. It doesn't apply to any other group. Most of the vocal Cuban-Americans are Republicans thanks to los historicos on Calle Ocho who are still fighting the Bay of Pigs and blaming JFK for selling them out. They've done a good enough job of drowning out (no pun intended) all the other immigrant communities like the Haitians, and the only Mexicans they worry about are the folks in Homestead who cut their lawns.

  • Anonymous on February 18, 2012 10:58 AM:

    are seen as “freeloaders” who defy the cultural norms of hard working, white America even as they sponge benefits from it.

    Oddly enough, based on my experience, the actual problem with immigrants is that they're willing to work HARDER than their new neighbors thus revealing who the actual 'freeloaders' are. (Your mileage may vary.)

  • j on February 18, 2012 11:05 AM:

    The repubs are really in a bad place, they know that if Mittens does not win Michigan Ricky cannot win in a general election, much as they dislike Romney I am convinced the will try to 'fix' Michigan to give him a win as they fiddled around with Maine. I only hope that dems
    and independents vote in Michigan, I understand it is an open caucus.

  • Ten Bears on February 18, 2012 11:57 AM:

    I've done a lot of hard work over the past forty-five years as a ranch-hand, logger and builder, but I have never worked with a white-dog who works as hard as a Mexican.

  • MNRD on February 18, 2012 12:02 PM:

    I think that the Tea Party obsession with immigration comes down to a fear of being outnumbered electorally. And I also think that is the underlying cause of Obama Derangement Disorder: President Obama symbolizes the coming demographic shift that terrifies the Tea Party. I suspect that after the demographic shift is established, the Tea Party will discover that things aren't so bad after all and they'll calm down quite a bit - but we're a long ways off from reaching that point.

  • liam foote on February 18, 2012 1:27 PM:

    Jeb Bush is indeed too reasonable and moderate to appeal to the current GOP base during the primaries, but having him as a VP candidate would not cause losses in the Republican vote.

    He would likely help the GOP candidate take Florida in the general, and he would also appeal to the two thirds of the Hispanic vote in a variety of swing states who would otherwise back Obama.

  • T2 on February 18, 2012 2:10 PM:

    Jeb Bush is a dirty cheater. Period. As a Democrat, I'd crawl on my hands and knees to the polls in order to vote against Jeb...the single person most responsible for the disaster that was the W. Bush presidency. Voter fraud? In the dictionary the definition should be Jeb Bush.

  • superdestroyer on February 18, 2012 4:24 PM:

    OPen borders and unlimited immigration, also known as amensty, would quickly put an end to any conservative party in the U.S.

    Demographic changes in the U.S. is eventually going to eliminate the Republican party as a one-party-state. Immigration reform just makes it happen faster.

    The Bush family is not even willing to ask for concessions to the right such as combining it will a push to eliminate affirmative action, 8a contracting, and minority set asides. If the Bush Clan wants to import the third world to the U.S. the least they could ask for is to make sure they are not eligible for ethnic based set aside programs.

  • Anonymous on February 18, 2012 5:26 PM:

    Would W have even been Prez without Jeb's Florida? Could Mitt's confidence come from the position of his big brother Scott in the Michigan GOP? Just askin'.

  • mb on February 18, 2012 6:46 PM:

    I'd like to know who to send a thank-you to for the tea party. They've done more than anyone to destroy the GOP and it's chances in November. Whoever you are, thanks.

    P.S. keep it up -- especially the racist overtones.

  • pol on February 18, 2012 9:36 PM:

    Please, God, NO! Not another Bush!

  • Skip on February 18, 2012 10:09 PM:

    pol, not so fast. The Bushes are the new Kennedys, the family wings are full of watching and waiting Bushes. Jeb's first son, George P. Bush, is a lawyer. Jeb Jr. is quite active in politics. Indoctrinated in the flow of US politics from their grandfather on down, I am sure these fresh Bush Dynasty faces would be far better equipped not to make the blundering gaffs of their uncle and watched carefully the machinations of their own father. And I doubt these boys will be as careless in believing too deeply in their own invincibility, as say JFK Jr. was, just before he took off on that last flight.

  • Karl on February 21, 2012 1:34 PM:

    I agree with all the comments about Mexicans working really hard, but with a few caveats. First, when you are at Home Depot, try to avoid one with European (Castillan) blood. They are usually just as lazy as regular whites. Mayans are the best (lots of these are from the southern parts of Mexico, like the Mexican state of El Salvador).

    Finally, these people drink two or three gallons of cheap beer every night, so when you pick them up, they usually reek of booze early on. Don't worry though; they are pretty good at powering through hangovers. If you see them sneaking beers during the day, they are the worthless type and you should fire them right away.