It’s quite obvious that the Bush penchant for gaffes isn’t confined to George W. Bush. In his remarks at the annual “Faith and Freedom” conference in Washington this past week, Jeb Bush stated that immigrants were “more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population” as part of his argument for immigration reform. It was a relatively humorous remark to refer to immigrants as “more fertile,” but I don’t believe his true intention was comedic relief.
What the former Governor of Florida was actually trying to say is that immigrants are desperately needed in this country as our population of Baby Boomers exits the job market and starts to collect Social Security, which is projected to start paying out at less than the current 100% after 2036.
And while Jeb (who actually has the IQ that his brother missed out on) is correct in his overall message, he just killed any chance of winning any GOP primaries in 2016 if he were to actually run. You see, this is a common sense and moderate approach to solving both our financial and immigration issues — and having common sense and being moderate just doesn’t resonate with the hardcore GOP voters who turn out for primaries.
The primary voters in 2012 were an illustration of how rabidly intolerant and out of touch the current GOP base is. In the 2012 debates, they cheered at the hypothetical death of someone without health insurance, got positively giddy at the thought of a war with Iran and even booed a gay soldier. There’s just no way that Jeb can win when the base is chock full o’ nuts like this.
This is a dwindling, hateful base that will be almost completely gone in the next couple of decades, thanks to old age. Hispanics have a lot in common with moderate Republican policies, but in every single election since they’ve become a voting block to be reckoned with, they solidly side with Democrats. Governor Bush knows all of this and his message is an attempt to take the GOP appeal beyond the retirement communities and gun shows, and to the expanding demographic which will dominate. He’s a lot like Jon Huntsman in the sense that he’s got some common sense which he isn’t afraid to display on certain issues — and we all saw how that worked out for Huntsman in his quest for the GOP nomination.
Unlike his bumbling brother, Jeb knows how to actually run a state, and possibly all 50 of them as president. Do I want him to? No, not really — but he wouldn’t be the worst possible outcome if the GOP somehow did pull out a win in 2016 (perish the thought). I’m not a fan of Jeb Bush, but I will give credit where credit is due. He’s not a hateful xenophobe and he’s pragmatic enough to understand that immigrants have always been the lifeblood of this country — and that is why he’ll never get the GOP nomination.
Besides, as Barbara Bush so eloquently put when discussing Jeb’s future, “There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”
I can’t say I disagree with that one bit.
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