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July 24, 2014 10:28 AM Jeb’s Tin Ear

By Ed Kilgore

Since some folk probably continue to believe that electoral salvation for the GOP depends on turning once again to the Bush family for help, and because he’s one of the two potential 2016 presidential candidates (the other being Chris Christie) the Donor Class seems to long for, it’s worth the time now and then to note Jeb Bush’s utterances and activities. Of late, he really seems to be losing touch with the conservative zeitgeist. Most obvious is his decision to champion Common Core education standards at almost the precise moment other Republican pols have smelled danger in the air and stampeded in the opposite direction. And then there’s immigration.

Today he’s got an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with conservative movement warhorse Clint Bolick about the refugee crisis. Most of it is standard GOP rhetoric about the fecklessness of the Obama administration and the accidental impact of Anti-Trafficking legislation. But then, at the very end, the authors run off the rails:

The best antidote to illegal immigration is a functioning system of legal immigration. We must rebuild one that is economically driven—for example, looking for those whose skills and drive will make a difference—in our national interest and true to our immigrant heritage.
President Obama has promised to once again act unilaterally if Congress fails to take up immigration reform. Now is the time for House Republicans to demonstrate leadership on this issue. Congress should not use the present crisis as an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform. Whether President Obama is making health-care policy by fiat or using the Environmental Protection Agency to circumvent the lawmaking process, we have too often seen what happens when the president oversteps his constitutional authority. Avoiding similar disastrous results will require legislative action by both parties.

No, Jeb, no, that’s the wrong answer. The right answer is to do nothing about the broader issue of immigration, making “border security” the priority for the next year or five years or fifty years. And when the time is ripe, we don’t want to hear any of your “guest worker” bushwa, either; that’ s just another form of “amnesty” for lawbreakers. It’s time to round ‘em up and move ‘em out, or at least pretend that’s what we are going to do.

This isn’t a real hard “message from the base” to discern. I’m really beginning to think this guy doesn’t want to be president after all.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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