The 2012 election is still fresh in memory, but with this effort to make a multicultural, immigrant-flush America safe for Republicans, it’s clear that another Bush is declaring for the presidency.
Bush’s book—slender and double-spaced but padded for all that—is a victim of timing. As he’s been protesting on the talk shows, he wrote it last year, when Republicans weren’t budging on the issue of immigration reform. Now, they’ve budged to the left of where Bush has landed, a natural positioning given that his co-author is a principal in the free-market-trumps-everything-else Goldwater Institute, which thrusts the book onto the extreme right of the bookshelf. So what do Bush and Bolick say? Controversially, perhaps, that illegal immigrants—the undocumented, in more diplomatic terms—should have a path to residency but not citizenship. Somewhat less controversially, that the borders need to be secured. Not at all controversially, that immigration reform is needed, but that it should be driven more by economic need—the ability and desirability of the would-be immigrant to produce dollars—and less by the humanitarian considerations of yore. Some parts of Bush’s program are eminently reasonable—and already in place, never mind Bush/Bolick’s canard that the Democrats are filling the nation with foreigners who merely want a handout. But the larger part of the program is a plank-building plea to Republicans that they should be reaching out to Hispanics, “who exemplify traditional Republican values of hard work, entrepreneurship, education, family, and belief in God”—and without whom the GOP is doomed to fringe status.
Cynical, tardy and unnecessary.