Thursday, January 1, 2015

Jeb Bush recently said...

...that to take back the White House in 2016, a winning Republican candidate "has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be practical," than recent GOP presidential nominees. The candidate should also be willing "[To] lose the primary to win the general, without violating your principles," Bush said.

So how's that working out so far?

Well, just two weeks later, after President Obama announced he would normalize relations with Cuba, the former governor of Florida said, "Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators." And, “I don’t think we should be negotiating with a repressive regime to make changes in our relationship.”

And I thought, He's not off to a very good start, is he?

In other words, in his first opportunity to be "much more willing to be practical," Jeb flubbed it. In typical Republican fashion, Bush said in effect, "Is President Obama for it? Then I'm against it!"

But then this morning I saw this tiny blurb in the New York Times, "Jeb Bush Won’t Attend Immigration Critic’s Event in Iowa" (my emphasis):

Separating himself from much of the emerging Republican presidential field, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has declined an invitation to speak at a Jan. 24 political event organized by one of the most strident immigration critics in Congress. More than a half-dozen potential contenders, including Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, have said they will attend the event, the Iowa Freedom Summit, organized by the critic, Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa. An aide said Wednesday that Mr. Bush, an advocate for immigration changes, had a scheduling conflict. Mr. King has become a conservative power broker, and Iowa is the home of the first presidential caucuses.

(Click here for the cast of characters expected to attend.)*

And so now I think, Hey, maybe there's some hope for this guy.

But let's see how the rest of the party reacts to Jeb's willingness "to be much more uplifting, much more positive." 

My guess is that the GOP isn't ready to move to the center, particularly after its recent showing in the midterms. I expect the party to stay far, far to the right, until they get absolutely crushed in a presidential election, a la Barry Goldwater in 1964. 

And while part of me (the good part) is rooting for Jeb to pull the Republican Party out of the wilderness, the other part (the not-so-good part) is waiting for that Goldwater debacle. 

Right now, I'm not terribly optimistic. 

* King is famous for saying:

"For every [immigrant] who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

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