An awkward moment for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) occurred as he started out on the campaign trail Wednesday in support of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis (NC). That was the moment when Tillis distanced himself from Bush on both amnesty and the Common Core standards.
Bush has been an outspoken champion of both amnesty for illegal immigrants and the Common Core standards, the Obama-supported and federally funded education initiative that opponents say espouses a utilitarian workforce mentality. Not coincidentally, Common Core fits in perfectly with the needs of millions of illegal immigrants, and their prospective employers, who might require a less than challenging education to get accepted into entry-level jobs in the U.S. It turns out most of the ardent supporters of amnesty for illegal immigrants are also enthusiastic about the Common Core.
As the New York Times reports, Bush experienced a preview of the rough road ahead with his party’s conservative base should he decide on a run for president in 2016.
The Times explains:
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.
“You have to make it clear that amnesty shouldn’t be on the table,” Tillis said, referring to the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. “That doesn’t negate any opportunity to provide some with legal status and other things, but you only do that after you seal the borders and you make the problem no longer grow.”
As Breitbart News’ Tony Lee reported, Bush courted Wall Street donors in May, saying he could not understand amnesty opponents. Standing alongside fellow amnesty supporter Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Bush said, “The rules are you come to this country, you pursue your dreams, you create value for yourself and your families and others and great things happen to you and to our country.”
“Why would we ignore that at a time when we need to restart and rejuvenate our economy?” Bush asked, describing illegal immigration as “an act of love.”
Tillis, however, did not stop with amnesty. Though the North Carolina House approved the Common Core standards in 2011, Tillis faced primary challengers from the right earlier this year and promptly backed away from them, a pivot that illustrated the pronouncement by many of the nation’s governors this past summer that the Common Core standards are politically “radioactive.”
“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,” Tillis said, switching instead to an attack on the U.S. Department of Education as “a bureaucracy of 5,000 people in Washington” who make an average salary of over $100,000.
Bush, feeling the awkwardness of Tillis placing a politically necessary wedge between them, attempted to recover, saying, “We can argue about what to call these things,” and suggested that the main focus should be having high academic standards.
Bush’s statement is reminiscent of another of his colleagues – former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) – who is also a Common Core supporter, and who recommended to the standards’ developers that they merely “rebrand” the initiative because the name “Common Core” had grown “toxic.”
As the Times observes, the dynamics between Bush and Tillis are representative of the fact that the Republican Party’s conservative base has grown stronger, so much so that establishment GOP politicians are feeling the pressure to respond to them.
“For Jeb Bush, who has not been in office since 2007, all the rhetorical footwork showed what he would have to contend with should he seek the Republican nomination,” says the Times.