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Jeb Bush: Republicans Don’t Need Conservatives to Win White House, Should Not Defund Exec Amnesty

Jeb Bush: Republicans Don’t Need Conservatives to Win White House, Should Not Defund Exec Amnesty


Even though moderate Republican candidates lose presidential elections without the conservative base (see: George H.W. Bush ’92, Bob Dole ’96, John McCain ’08, Mitt Romney ’12), former Florida Governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush thinks conservatives are not needed to win the White House.

Bush believes that a presidential candidate who is “willing to lose the primary to win the general” has the best shot at the White House.


“I don’t know if I’d be a good candidate or a bad one,” Bush said at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting on Monday evening in Washington, D.C. “I kinda know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else – and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be… ‘lose the primary to win the general’ without violating your principles. It’s not an easy task, to be honest with you.”

Should Bush run, his embrace of comprehensive amnesty legislation and Common Core will put him at odds with conservative voters in the early primary states. Bush, who said he would make a decision in “short order” about whether he will be a presidential candidate, revealed on Monday that he thinks a moderate Republican who runs as a moderate in the primary has the best chance of winning the White House.

Bush has shown every indication that he will not pander to conservatives and take positions that are at odds with what he truly believes so that he is not viewed as a phony politician like Mitt Romney, who tried to have it both ways on nearly every issue. 

For instance, at the event, Bush continued to support immigration reform, saying the economic benefits of amnesty legislation should be emphasized. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bush said that America should take more immigrants who are “first-round draft picks.” But he did not mention that a comprehensive amnesty bill would allow more guest-workers and low-skilled immigrants that would lower the wages of American workers, which is what the Congressional Budget Office determined, and make it more difficult for them to find jobs. 

Earlier on Monday, Bush, who said that the pro-amnesty Journal is his “paper of record,” reportedly urged Republicans in Congress to not defund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and pass “sensible” immigration bills, according to the Washington Post: 

At a private luncheon Monday on Capitol Hill, former Florida governor Jeb Bush told a group of GOP officials and donors, including soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, that the party should avoid a standoff.

Instead, Bush said in brief remarks, Republicans should pass a series of “sensible” immigration bills next year once they control both congressional chambers to underscore their commitment to governing and reforming the immigration system with their own policies.

And before he spoke at the annual CEO Council event, Bush took a symbolic photo with top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett and Rupert Murdoch, who wrote an op-ed in which he declared that amnesty legislation “can’t wait” after meeting with Jarrett earlier in the year.

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