GOP savior Jeb Bush shows yet again why the phrase “GOP savior Jeb Bush” is plain silly
Jeb Bush, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said on Sunday that illegal immigrants who come to the United States to provide for their families are not committing a felony but an “act of love.”
In comments at odds with the views of many in his party, Bush, the son of the 41st president and brother of the 43rd, said of the divisive immigration issue: “I think we need to kind of get beyond the harsh political rhetoric to a better place.
“I’m going to say this and it will be on tape and so be it,” Bush said in an interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream in an event at the Texas presidential library of his father, George H.W. Bush.
“The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally … and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony.
“It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.
Bush, 61, added: “I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”
No. Better to rile up the base, which believes in our country’s inherent sovereignty, in the government’s duty to uphold laws its own lawmakers have passed, and who are tired of either having to foot the bill for the increasing number of benefits being claimed by low skill workers, or compete for jobs against illegal immigrants in an environment that has seen 10 million workers simply disappear from the work force over the past 5 years. Right, Jeb?
After all, you’re compassionate, whereas all the nativist garbage you have determined need a big government (with you at its helm, presumably, in a best-case scenario) to run their lives for them are not — so why shouldn’t you have a say in what kind of lawbreaking is “different kind of crime”?
Jim Geraghty weighs in:
What [Bush is] saying is true in some cases… and not true in other cases. Sure, some illegal immigrants come here, hoping to make money to provide for their families. But some don’t. I had to hunt to find a decent survey of illegal immigrants, asking why they came to the United States. A not-reassuring conclusion:
Ryo found that while cost-benefit calculations such as perceptions of job availability in Mexico and dangers of crossing the border do play a significant role in Mexicans’ decisions about whether to enter the US illegally, non-economic factors matter as well.
“For example, perceptions about the legitimacy of US legal authority, the morality of violating US immigration laws, and social norms on illegal border crossings are significantly related to people’s intentions to migrate illegally,” she says…
She also found that the odds of intending to migrate illegally were more than doubled for individuals who believed that Mexicans have a right to be in the United States without the US government’s permission.
Interestingly, the vast majority — 78 percent — of people says it is not okay to disobey the law when one disagreed with it. However, 55 percent says that disobeying the law is sometimes justified.
In short, a significant number of Mexicans do not believe that the United States has the moral or legal authority to keep them out. Their concept of the border is fundamentally different from how it is defined under our laws.
Back to Jeb’s “act of love” comment — you know what that sounds like? Flash back about two-and-a-half years, to another governor who was considered a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination: “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”
Jeb’s going to have to be very careful on this, because Perry’s comment was one of the first major missteps of a doomed campaign. A Republican frontrunner cannot echo the narrative of the Democrat-Media Complex, suggesting that opposition to illegal immigration is driven by callous, selfish, xenophobic white hicks who are afraid of excessively spicy salsa.
Generally speaking, Geraghty is right: “A Republican frontrunner cannot echo the narrative of the Democrat-Media Complex.” But that presumes Bush is in some way a Republican front runner, when in fact the base is very much against his ascendency, and will likely fight his attempts to allow the establicans install him as the “only viable candidate.” This mindset is I’m afraid part of the problem with the trajectory of our party. I don’t think Geraghty is attempting to create reality here; rather, I think its a reflection of a reality believed by those who are too close to the centers of power and who don’t have a full idea yet of just how alienated the base already feels.
“It’s an act of love”? Okay. Judges and juries are allowed to consider motive when a person is accused of a crime and, once convicted, allowed to consider motive when sentencing. But a noble motive doesn’t invalidate the crime. If you shoplift and say you’re just trying to provide for your family, the store may still press charges. If you rob a bank and say you wanted to give some of the money to charity, you don’t get off the hook.
I’m among those who conclude that a safer, better America does not necessarily require the deportation of every single Manuel the Busboy who entered the country illegally. Obviously, everyone who’s entered the country and committed additional crimes needs to get tossed out ASAP; anyone who wants to stay has to pay some sort of significant penalty – fines, national service, etc.
But it’s far from a nutty perspective to think, and contend, that everybody who entered illegally should be deported – i.e., this country should enforce its laws as they’re written.
I understand why Democrats and progressives would insist that every immigration restrictionist and anti-amnesty type is driven by racism and xenophobia; they’re trying to discourage anyone from ever expressing that viewpoint in public. But why would a Rick Perry or Jeb Bush make comments that concur with that demonization of their opponents?
It’s a conclusion that makes me think Jim has almost gotten it, but yet he simply won’t allow himself to take that final step in his thinking, which would be this: if you understand why Democrats and progressives use the tactics they do, then you already understand exactly why big government Republican establishment types, themselves part of a ruling elite who in no way any longer represents constitutionalism or limited government (see Bush on Common Core, eg.), adopt similar tactics to demonize their opponents. Or even more to the point, why their “opponents” so often today mirror those of the Democrats.
It’s because the difference between a progressive statist and a Republican statist has everything to do with degree and not much at all to do with competing principles.
We are a one-party country engaged in an elaborate fan dance that keeps the “adversarial” money flowing to various campaigns, even though the adversarial aspect of our federal government is now relegated to the degree of progressivism we’ll comfortably embrace.
The Visigoths and Hobbits and xenophobic racisty homophobic haters who hate have seen that — and been articulating their dismay at that state of affairs — for some time now.
Seriously: it’s not hard to find such answers if you look hard enough.