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The Republican Party is apparently still having trouble talking about immigration.
Over the past couple of days, several of the country’s most well-known conservatives headed down to Washington D.C. to speak to a throng of people awaiting to hear what could very well be the next standard bearer of the Republican Party. The totally-conservative sounding “Faith and Freedom’s Coalition Road to the Majority conference” is pretty much an echo chamber of conservative thought. It lacks the festivities of the Ames Straw Poll and clearly isn’t the media spectacle that is CPAC but there is always something to be taken from these events.
As we inch closer and closer to the possibility of a bipartisan immigration reform bill being signed into law, Republicans are having a tough time trying to simultaneously campaign on reform and yet blast it as well.
In order to try and counterbalance the definite vitriol that was guaranteed to be flung from the mouths of renegade Congressional backbenchers, Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed invited former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the conference. Bush, who is often considered one of the frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is considered a “moderate” on immigration and he’s been trying to gradually walk back that stereotype since the 2012 election came to a close.
Well, today Jeb Bush continued his tightrope act of foot-in-mouth disease on the topic of immigration during his lecture to the conservative activists. Bush tried to strike up a “Rockefeller Republican” schtick of stating that immigration reform is good for business and it should be embraced. But instead of saying something as innocuous as that, he struck a completely different tone.
Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans. Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.
Wait a minute, what? Sandwiched in-between praising immigration as a necessity for capitalism, did Bush really say that they are more “fertile”?
Whether it was his intention or not, why did Jeb Bush essentially compare immigrants like they were cattle and not human beings just like you and I? Now, I’m sure the youngest Bush brother assumed he was paying immigrants a compliment by praising their focus on the family but are we really going to have a discussion on if immigrants are more fertile than any other demographic?
First off, Jeb Bush’s wife was born in Mexico and they have three children. If she was more fertile, wouldn’t she have more children? Does that mean “Americans” (considering we are all technically immigrants) are more sterile and unwilling to have sex to reproduce? Did he REALLY say fertile? Jeb, you have some questions to answer if you want to run in 2016!
Nonetheless, Bush’s comments about immigrant fertility comes at an interesting time following the revelation that more white people died than were born in 2012.
I should state that Jeb Bush isn’t a racist or even Steve King, but this is the type of things he has to say to get conservatives to listen to him, let alone support a possible Bush candidacy. The remarks are bizarre but the rest of what he said basically sounded like a Mitt Romney-esque speech that promotes faith, family and business. However, that type of rhetoric is increasingly becoming obsolete in the Republican Party as the definition of moderate continues to make a shift to the right.
But I guess we should assume that this is the new reality. Jeb Bush might be the closest thing the Republican Party has to offer in terms of a “leader” on immigration reform but this is the stuff that he says. He caters to them instead of vice versa which does show that he’s either preparing to make a run for the presidency or is just a spineless politician that is more interested in selling books as opposed to making positive cultural and political change.