For someone who doesn’t want to weigh in on the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush has a lot to say about the Republican nomination.As the high-stakes Republican primary approaches in Florida, the former governor has been under pressure to endorse a candidate. Though he has refrained from doing so, it is clear that he has opinions about the race.
Yesterday Bush wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post that gives several recommendations for how Republican candidates can win Hispanic voters.
He writes that Republicans need to recognise diversity within the Hispanic community, and appreciate issues including prejudice and stereotyping that have coloured their American experience. Further, he writes, Republicans should celebrate Hispanic immigration as a sign of American exceptionalism, and continue to support pro-business positions that help Hispanic families.
His suggestion that Republicans should support education reform includes a sly knock at one former Republican candidate.
…We should press for an overhaul of our education system. Republicans have the field to themselves on this issue. Teachers unions and education bureaucrats have blocked Democrats from serious reform — it will happen only with Republican political leadership. But we have to move beyond simplistic plans to “get rid of the Department of Education” and focus on substantive, broad-based reform…
Can you guess who he’s talking about? Sounds like a certain Texas governor.
Last, Bush suggests that immigration reform should be reframed as an economic issue, in which new American workers are perceived as contributing to growth.
In the article, Bush is early to point out that the Hispanic vote is decisive in Florida.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have reflected that belief, as both have fought to gain recognition as the most pro-immigrant candidate.
Romney, for his part, has struggled to win the support of key Hispanic leaders in the Republican party. At issue: his opposition to the DREAM Act, and his support for self-deportation of illegal immigrants.
Gingrich has tried to capitalise on this perceived weakness. He released a radio ad in Florida calling Romney the “most anti-immigrant candidate” but then pulled the ad yesterday after Florida Senator Marco Rubio denounced it as “inflammatory.”
Bush’s op-ed is not the first time since announcing his neutrality that he has offered his opinion on the race.
Last week in an interview with Bloomberg News’ Mark Silva, Bush said Republicans should alter the “tone” of their debate and abandon the “circular firing squad” that has characterised the primaries so far. He also joined in the chorus of politicians who encouraged Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.