Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jeb Bush figures looking like a fool is preferable to taking a firm position on immigration

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Jeb Bush isn't so much flip-flopping over immigration as he is playing Twister with himself, contorting himself into sorts of different positions to avoid, you know, actually having to take a position:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday that he would support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants "if you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn't an incentive for people to come illegally" -- a position that puts him at odds with his new book, out [yesterday] from Simon & Schuster.

In Immigration Wars, co-authored with immigration lawyer Clint Bolick, Bush agues that denying a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrations is "absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences." Those who enter the country illegally, Bush contends, should "start the process to earn permanent legal residency" after pleading guilty to breaking the law and paying "applicable fines or perform community service." But they should not have access to "the cherished fruits of citizenship."

So he used to be a relatively reasonable voice for immigration reform in the Republican Party, backing what to most Republicans, even before the party's lurch to the far right, were liberal policies, and then he wrote this book taking a harder line, and then the same day the book comes out he says no, no, no, he's okay with a path to citizenship, if this, if that, saying he's not smart enough to figure it out, but really he's still on the fence, trying to walk that fine line between the old-school party establishment on one side and the extremist grassroots base and movement conservatism on the other.

And he's doing it with an eye on 2016, clearly, playing both sides, trying to seem reasonable while also pandering to the party's power bases, and otherwise looking like a shameless fool.

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