Jeb Bush's Book "Immigration Wars"
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From the Washington Post:
Manuel Roig-Franzia,

native of Spain, winner

of Don Quixote Look-Alike Contest

Book review:‘Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution’ by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick

By Manuel Roig-Franzia, Friday, March 8, 10:22 AM

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a Washington Post staff writer and the author of “The Rise of Marco Rubio.”

In the spring of 2002, a young Florida state representative named Marco Rubio sized up one of his mentors, Jeb Bush.

“He’s practically Cuban, just taller,” Rubio quipped to a journalist. “He speaks Spanish better than most of us.”

Few could dispute Rubio’s inclusion of Bush in a kind of honorary Hispanics club. ...

Both men embody an aspiration of Republicans: a chance at luring the growing Hispanic electorate that so overwhelmingly rejected the party in the last presidential election. What’s so fascinating is how they’ve suddenly reversed roles. Bush once appeared more moderate than Rubio, and most other top Republicans, on immigration. Now he’s abruptly backflipped to his protege’s right on the key issue of creating a path to citizenship, triggering a furor along the way.

And all because of a book.

Immigration Wars,” which Bush co-authored with Clint Bolick, an activist conservative lawyer, was surely intended to play to one of Bush’s strengths.

Instead, it has prompted a critical reexamination of the former Florida governor and suggestions that this skilled politician and deep thinker might be a bit rusty six years after leaving office.

The hubbub is over a small but important part of this sober, substantive and detailed explication of America’s immigration miasma. In the book, Bush — as any cable-news viewer should know by now — reverses his previous stance and declares that he opposes a path to citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally.

That jarring statement distracts from the sweep of the book, which in 225 pages of text (generously double-spaced) presents a sophisticated take on an issue that often gets reduced to polemical bullet points. Far from being an anti-immigrant screed, “Immigration Wars” often reads like an ode to immigration, with Bush arguing forcefully and convincingly for policies that would encourage more — not fewer — migrants to enter the country.

It’s a curious time for Bush to harden his position on immigration by opposing a path to citizenship, considering the fact that Republicans are desperate to woo Hispanics. Even the Cuban American Rubio, once an avowed opponent of such a path, has been coming around to the idea lately, joining a bipartisan effort in the Senate to change the nation’s immigration laws. Bush has tried to backpedal: In interviews this past week he made qualified statements in favor of a path to citizenship and has explained that he wrote the book last year. But these limp attempts are undercut by the tone he takes in print.

“A grant of citizenship is an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage,” he writes.

I've said this a million times over the last 13 years: once Republicans start talking about compromising with the Democrats on amnesty, they always get bushwhacked by the Democrats' trotting out "the path to citizenship" (i.e., the vote). Always. It's like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.

Eventually, Republicans figure out that giving illegal aliens citizenship is more or less the same thing as giving more votes to the Democrats. "path to citizenship" is just a self-inflicted electoral wound to the GOP.

But, rhetoric about "citizenship" sells to white people because they assume it means responsibilities as well as rights. But Democrats see it as giving illegals the vote, making them more eligible to bring in more relatives legally, and making them more eligible for welfare and government jobs — all good for the Democrats.

So, then, the Republican Brain Trust backtracks into saying, "Hey, we just want to make Hispanic voters like us, not make more Hispanics voters. Wait a minute, that didn't come out right. This can't be that hard — our Democratic friends told us that "immigration reform" was going to make Hispanics love the GOP, and the Democrats wouldn't lie to us about how to beat them, would they? Look, we justwant cheap labor, not fellow citizens. Uh, strike that. Look, I'll have to go over this with the spin doctors but I'll get right back to you with the proper wording that will make it all okay."

... But for most of the book, Bush sheds this almost unrecognizably stern persona and settles back into the Jeb we once knew. The man who met his wife, Columba Garnica de Gallo, on the central square of Leon, Mexico, four decades ago argues that raising the number of legal immigrants could improve our gross domestic product by increasing the size of the workforce.

Do you ever notice how the topic of diversity just makes white people stupider?

And he notes that cities with high immigrant populations tend to have better credit ratings.

San Bernardino? Stockton? Vallejo? Immigrants aren't stupid, so they don't move to Youngstown or East St. Louis, they try to go where the money is. But the evidence out of California is not reassuring for the long run.

In writing this odd but irresistible book, Bush has surely inflicted some wounds on himself, too, at least with moderates who thought they knew him well.

But if 2016 is his aim, he has plenty of time to heal.

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a Washington Post staff writer and the author of “The Rise of Marco Rubio.”

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a white guy born in Spain, but that's not stopping him from hopping on the Hispanic Bandwagon for all it's worth.
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