April 9, 2014

IT'S THE PARTY OF THE RELIGIOUS, THE RIGHT ARE JUST HANGERS-ON:

Jeb Bush Isn't a Fantasy Candidate (Ramesh Ponnuru, 4/08/14, Bloomberg View)

As I've argued in several Bloomberg columns, the party since 1984 has given its presidential nomination only to people who are at its ideological center of gravity or to its left, and never to anyone to its right. There are reasons for that pattern -- having to do with, among other things, the perennial inability of the party's right to agree on a candidate -- and those reasons haven't disappeared.

Neither Perry nor Huntsman had the support of the party's establishment, or the national network of funders and supporters, that Bush would have. Perry's notorious immigration comment during the 2012 campaign -- he called some of his opponents heartless on the issue -- harmed him so badly because he needed to solidify the conservative end of the party against an establishment candidate, Mitt Romney.

Bush wouldn't be in the same position. He'd be the establishment candidate himself (or at least one of them). He'd be trying to win over a different group of voters, who take a more moderate view of immigration. And Bush's own controversial comment on the topic last weekend -- he said illegal immigration was "an act of love" -- was also less offensive to Republicans who disagree with him, because he didn't say that they were heartless but rather that they weren't viewing the issue the right way.

Bush's position within the primary electorate, in other words, would be more like that of Senator John McCain -- who won the nomination not so long ago, in 2008. Actually, it would be better than McCain's, as McCain's record included a lot more deviations from the party line than Bush's does.

The Republican base isn't just pro-immigration but pro-amnesty (as long as we all agree to call it something else).
Posted by at April 9, 2014 5:32 PM
  
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