COMMENTARY | In the second Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” Harry and his friend try to enlist the aid of a popular wizard named Gilderoy Lockhart, who turns out to be a coward and incompetent.
“You’re running away?” Harry asks. “After all that stuff you did in your books?”
“Books can be misleading,” Lockhart protests.
“But you wrote them!” Harry snorts in disgust.
In a similar fashion, we’re learning that Jeb Bush, who used to be a supporter of citizenship for illegal immigrants, is against them in his new book. But “books can be misleading” for Bush as well, because he’s now walked back his own comments in his book, and is back to being a supporter of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Does this sound familiar? It sounds like the 2012 election and Mitt Romney all over again.
Ironically, Bush writes that Romney’s right-wing immigration policies cost Republicans the 2012 election in his book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.” He also calls some in the GOP “tone-deaf” on the issue.
So what did Bush call for in his book? In “Immigration Wars,” Bush said that undocumented workers should return to their country of origin and apply for citizenship from there.
Isn’t that Romney’s policy of “self-deportation?”
Bush tried to defend himself by saying “the book did not include a path to citizenship in its recommendations in part because it was written before Republicans began to embrace such a plan. ‘We wrote this book last year, not this year,’ Bush said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,'” according to Liz Goodwin with Yahoo! News’ The Ticket. In that same article, his press spokesperson said Bush has never changed his position on the issue.
Yet last year, during the 2012 election, Bush called for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in an interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose, according to Stephanie Czekalinski with the National Journal.
In that same CBS interview, Bush calls for beefed up border security, which he does not require in his book’s position, allegedly written last year. Now he says it should not be a precondition for immigration reform.
When asked how his newly rediscovered plan for citizenship for illegal immigrants would encourage new illegal immigration, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bush replied “I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law,” according to Elspeth Reeve with The Atlantic Wire.
Didn’t Bush just write a whole book on the subject, with a comprehensive plan?
No wonder Sen. Harry Reid called Bush “a fool” on the issue. It wasn’t just than Hispanics didn’t support Romney’s plan that cost the GOP in 2012. It’s that Republicans didn’t even know where Romney stood on any issue. Bush has demonstrated he’s the Gilderoy Lockhart of the Republican Party.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.