For former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, overcoming the stigma attached to his surname (or, maybe just his brother’s legacy) will likely prove to be a feat in itself. His recent flip-flop on immigration may be his latest problem if he truly plans to run in 2016, It seems he is actually serious about running, judging from his recent interview on the Today show in which he refused to rule out a 2016 run.
Bush’s political re-entry came with the publication of his new book, which he co-authored with Clint Bolick titled Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. The book proposes a nonpartisan approach to reworking the current immigration system — starting by erasing all existing and outdated immigration structures and starting anew from scratch. It also calls for a legal status for illegal immigrants, though it does not include a path to citizenship despite the fact that it is something he’s supported in the past.
And on Monday, in an interview with NPR, Bush echoed the same sentiments written in his book — that he supported those who entered the U.S. illegally to live and work here legally, but did not support their path to citizenship.
That same day, he told Today show that the reasoning behind this was because, "There has to be some difference between people who come here legally and illegally."
But on Tuesday, following some raised eyebrows and comments, Bush had back-pedaled to his former view on the issue — that he could easily support granting citizenship.
"I have supported both — both a path to legalization or a path to citizenship," he said on Tuesday.
Democrats, on the other hand, watched Bush’s change-of-opinion closely, with Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holding that he had "made a fool of himself" in the last day.
Prior to this flip-flop, the former Florida governor seemed to have a strong footing with the Hispanic demographic that the Republican party had managed to alienate in the last election. According to New York magazine, Bush is a "a popular two-time governor of a Hispanic-heavy state, with a record of improving education for minorities, fluent in Spanish, married to a Latina, and father to two Hispanic sons, George P. Bush and Jeb Jr. By Jeb Bush’s own calculus, Jeb Bush would make a great presidential candidate."
The Republicans, however, do have another contender — and possibly a stronger one — to bring back the Hispanic votes to their party if Bush’s latest comments prove to disservice the GOP too severely in Bush’s very own protégé: Marco Rubio. With the damage already done for Jeb Bush, perhaps he can let go of the 2016 presidential dream and redirect his efforts to helping Rubio with his bid.