MIAMI — Former Gov. Jeb Bush has a clear goal for 2016 — get the Republican Party back in power at the national level.
Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush, says he wants to inspire unity in the GOP by supporting immigration reform.
Earlier this month, Bush joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., at a gathering of the Hispanic Leadership Network, an organization that works to engage the Hispanic community on center-right issues. The organization announced it would launch a $300,000 television advertising campaign, “End de facto amnesty“.
Bush said that immigration is just one issue, but the GOP’s stand on education, jobs and health-care reform also should be of interest to everyone in the immigrant community, not just Hispanics.
Bush said he wants fellow Republicans to view immigrants as a whole as a voting population worthy of their time and attention, and he wants the party to recognize the payoff in pushing their agendas.
Bush criticized Republicans for being “reactionary,” saying “If you’re against them (immigrants) all the time and you don’t have any other alternative, people will get tired of it.”
“Solving the immigration problem, beyond politics, is a hugely important part of the strategy to restore hope, opportunity, and a belief in our future again,” he said.
Bush, author of the book “Immigration Wars”, supports a pathway to residency over citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“History shows that most people don’t take advantage of (citizenship),” he said.
Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, a member of the Hispanic Leadership Network, told Florida Watchdog that the immigration issue is a matter of practicality.
“The important thing is to give them the legalization no matter how long you have to wait,” he said.
Gutierrez also said he agreed with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on the issue of background checks for gun sales.
“I agree with the Second Amendment (that states) everyone has the right to bear arms, but I think it’s logical that they would want to check the background of a person who wants to buy weapons at the gun show,” Gutierrez said. “You have to be more logical and pragmatic, and less ideological.”
Despite being weighed down with baggage of his name, Bush seems to be growing in popularity among Republicans who are revving up their efforts to take win the presidency in 2016.
So far, though, he’s hasn’t made his intentions clear.
Early polling by the New England College shows that voters are divided in their support for Rubio and Bush. Sixteen percent of those polled liked Rubio, while 15 percent sided with Bush. That was a tie with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.,(running mate of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney) each took 12 percent. The same polling showed Hillary Clinton leading Democrats with 65 percent support from those surveyed.
Despite which direction the early polls are pointing, the most important predictor may end up being the legacies of their forefathers. Obama’s less-than-favorable job approval ratings and unpopular policies could reflect badly for Clinton’. And Bush will no doubt need to put a lot of distance between him and his president brother if he enters the race.
Republican political strategist Ana Carbonell told Florida Watchdog that “both candidates are well qualified to represent the (Republican) party. The decision is in your hands.”
Florida U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, R-Fla., one of the leaders and strategists of immigration reform, said he’s pleased with the bipartisan agreement from the U.S. Senate and praised U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
“The important thing is to work in a bipartisan fashion because it is a broken system,” Diaz Balart told Florida Watchdog.
Published with permission from FloridaWatchdog.org
Contact Marianela Toledo at [email protected]rg
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