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Jeb Is Making Hillary's 2008 Mistake

Jeb Is Making Hillary's 2008 Mistake
(Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 June 2015 09:30 PM

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is not making the same mistake she made in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama. But Jeb Bush seems intent on making her mistake.

What was Hillary’s mistake? She ignored her party’s left-leaning base to seize the moderate center in preparation for her almost certain nomination.

And she lost.

The party's liberal base deserted her and Obama was able to outflank her on several issues, especially her vote in support of the invasion of Iraq.

It is no secret this time Hillary is taking nothing for granted. She’s moved left so she won’t be outflanked this primary season. At least she hopes so.

The former secretary of state has already promised to go beyond President Obama's controversial executive order allowing some illegal immigrants to remain in the country, calling for de facto amnesty and almost immediate citizenship. In my opinion, that’s a dangerous proposal for the country and Republicans, but one that will be embraced by the Democratic left.

Now she is speaking out in support of full marriage rights for same-sex couples, calling for debt-free college education, pushing for automatic registration for all citizens and mandatory early voting.

This time around, Clinton is not running a general election campaign in the primary.

But Jeb Bush is.

Recently, Bush famously said that a GOP candidate has to be willing to "lose the primary to win the general."

I don't believe that is true. It is true that if “you lose the primary, you lose the general.”

The former Florida governor seems to relish taking stands unpopular with base conservatives and poking them in the eye by putting front and center his support for immigration reform — he called illegal immigration an "act of love" — and the Common Core education reforms.

At his “debut” announcement speech on Monday at Miami Dade College in Florida, Bush again seemed out of step with GOP voters.

The audience appeared to be significantly Hispanic.

He spoke at times in Spanish and most of the news clips of his speech that were picked up by other media showed him speaking in Spanish.

For sure, this will help Bush in the general election by garnering much-needed support from Hispanics, but it won't help him win votes in the GOP primary.

In fact, I think he wins close to zero GOP votes with his out-front approach on the immigration issue.

Don’t get me wrong. I happen to agree with Bush on immigration. I think his policies here are sensible and workable. I have written about this before. Bush is not for amnesty and he is not for quick citizenship.

Bush is for giving work permits to illegal aliens after the border has been secured. This puts these migrant workers on the tax rolls and helps to identify them for law enforcement purposes.

But the focus on this issue shrouds Bush’s strong and positive message about economic growth, which has largely been lost on Republican primary voters.

In his speech, Bush said that "our country is on a very bad course" and that he is the man to "disrupt the whole culture in our nation's capital." He is right on both counts.

But constant talk about Common Core and immigration during the GOP primary clouds the message and the messenger.

Win the primary first, then define yourself fully for the general. Bush shouldn’t change his positions on things like immigration or Common Core, he just needs to adjust volume and modify the perception.

I remember in the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary was actually quite sensible about border security and immigration.

In fact, when the issue of driver's licenses for illegal aliens arose, she came out squarely against it. Obama took the liberal position and favored it. Hillary said a Democratic candidate with such a position could not win the general election.

Guess who won the Democratic nomination. And the general.

On the Republican side of the aisle, many primary voters see the immigration issue differently. OK, fine, I get it.

But Jeb Bush will progress in the primary only if he shows what he has in common with GOP voters, not by celebrating differences.

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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is not making the same mistake she made in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama. But Jeb Bush seems intent on making her mistake. What was Hillary's mistake? She ignored her party's left-leaning base to seize the moderate...
jeb bush, hillary, gop, primary, mistakes, immigration
Tuesday, 16 June 2015 09:30 PM
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