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« Is The GOP Stupid Enough To Agree To This? | Main | NYT Reporter: Hillary Clinton's Minders Followed Me Into the Bathroom Every Single Time I Had to Go »
September 26, 2014

Jeb Bush Stumps for Tillis in North Carolina, and Prompts Tillis to Distance Himself From Bush

We were told he was smart. We were told he had the right kind of political skills.

Does he? (See Note at bottom.)

A lot of us were very annoyed with Chris Christie's selfish RNC speech. Rather than promoting the nominee, he spent most of his time promoting himself, at the expense of the nominee.

There is a time for self-promotion. It is not during a speech ostensibly in service of someone else's electoral bid.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In one of his first public appearances of the 2014 campaign, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida had a vivid preview Wednesday of the challenges he would face with his party’s conservative base should he seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Standing alongside Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker and Republican Senate candidate, Mr. Bush outlined his views on two of the issues he cares most passionately about: immigration policy and education standards. But as Mr. Bush made the case for an immigration overhaul and the Common Core standards, Mr. Tillis gently put distance between himself and his guest of honor, who had flown here from Florida on a dreary day to offer his endorsement in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate.


On the Common Core, the educational standards first devised by a bipartisan group of governors, which have become deeply unpopular among conservative activists, Mr. Tillis also sounded far more conservative than Mr. Bush. The North Carolina House approved the standards in 2011, but, facing primary challengers from the right earlier this year, Mr. Tillis backed away from them.

"I'm not willing to settle just for a national standard if we think we can find things to set a new standard and a best practice," Mr. Tillis said, pivoting to an attack on the federal Education Department...

So in the context of a Senate race in which the topics of Common Core and immigration are crucial, Jeb Bush went out to plump a more liberal opinion at odds with that claimed by the candidate himself.

And Tillis, if I understand this right, is already facing skepticism from conservative voters on his (perceived) soft position on immigration.

So what did Jeb Bush have to say about amnesty?

Even though Republicans may take back the Senate by running against amnesty, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pushed amnesty legislation while stumping for North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday.

Bush, according to the New York Times, reportedly said that comprehensive immigration reform "will restore and sustain economic growth for this country." And even though a recent Gallup poll found that illegal immigration is now the top concern among Republicans, Bush said that if immigration reform is "framed in that way, I don’t think there’s a big debate in the Republican Party about the need to do this."

If you click on the link (to the NYT), you'll see Tillis looking none too happy with Jeb.

I don't mind some heterodox opinions in the party. I think it's healthy. Groupthink is Non-Think.

However, we are less than seven weeks away from an election. It is not the time to pick a fight, yet again, with the base about their preferred position on "comprehensive immigration reform."

Jeb can pick this fight if he likes -- during his actual speeches in support of himself and his own preferred agenda.

Seven weeks out from an election, with Tillis trailing Hagan as it is.

Is this smart? Is this in the party's best interests?

Hell, I don't even think it was in Jeb's best interests.

Note: An assumption I made here, without realizing it, as that Jeb went off-script with remarks that were not approved by Tillis.

I don't know if that's a strong assumption. After all, Tillis would presumably want to see Jeb's script, or he's at least heard Jeb's stump speech before.

Who knows, perhaps this was all approved. Maybe Tillis just made an error. Or maybe Tillis wants some moderate votes.

Or maybe he wanted Jeb to play Weak Cop so he could posture as Strong Cop.

I don't know. I shouldn't have assumed that Jeb surprised him with this. The NYT's account suggests that, without actually saying it.

Whatever the understanding or the plan, it just doesn't seem very smart to me.

Agendas get cooked up and ironed out before election season. I just don't see the seven weeks before the election as the time to trot out unpopular or novel ideas.

Update: I should mention we discussed this on the podcast. John (I think) made the point that Republicans are doing well in states where they've united their base, and conservative voters have, as they say, "come home."

This doesn't seem likely to unite people. This seems likely to start up old fights that really have to be papered over at least until the election.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:59 PM

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