Jeb Bush blasts Rubio: For cripes sake, show some leadership on immigration!

I have no deep thoughts on this, I just think it’s amusing that Jeb still has a bug up his butt about Rubio after spending endless millions to destroy him in the primaries two years ago. I regret to inform Bush that Rubio was not, in fact, the reason his presidential dreams went up in smoke.

Also, having checked my notes, I’m reasonably sure that Rubio *has* taken on “something that was controversial and paid a political price.” A big one.

“The left and the right have figured out that [immigration] is a great political wedge issue,” Bush said. “It’s not a moral issue or an economic issue. It’s purely an issue of, ‘How do we poll this to make sure our team, our tribe, does better?'”

Bush expressed particular disappointment with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for not taking a leading role to help both sides find a middle ground. Rubio, another failed presidential candidate in 2016, was part of a bipartisan group of senators that pushed an immigration overhaul through the Senate in 2013, but he has been largely silent during the current debate.

“God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price,” Bush said. “That’s the attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard. Marco is a talented guy and he understands this issue really well, and maybe behind the scenes he’s working hard. But at some point, his leadership would be really helpful.”

I think he’s reacting to this Politico story from a few days ago about Rubio lying low publicly during the new immigration slapfight in the Senate and weighing in privately in favor of restricting chain migration(!). Yes, really — sounds like “Little Marco” is remaking himself as a hardcore border hawk, which is sweet but destined to be futile if the idea is to polish his resume for a future presidential run. Having sold out the right once before on immigration in a grand way with the Gang of Eight bill, he’ll never escape suspicion about his intentions again. He’d need to join the Border Patrol and personally start apprehending illegals as they cross over for populists to give him a second look.

Poor Dick Durbin sounds brokenhearted about Marco’s change of heart, too. What happened to the amnesty softie of yesteryear he knew and loved?

The Florida GOP senator, a key co-author of the 2013 Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration bill, has no plans to join a swelling bipartisan group of senators trying to strike a deal to protect Dreamers…

Asked where Rubio has been, Durbin replied: “Nowhere.”

“During his Gang of Eight time he was totally personally engaged. I’ve talked to him directly a few times, other people have talked to him. I don’t know where he stands,” Durbin said.

Brave Sir Marco ran away. As for Jeb Bush’s supposed “leadership” on immigration, you’re giving him too much credit if you assume he’s been a model of constancy in support of amnesty. That at least would be a principled position. On the contrary, revisit the timeline of his various shifts over the years. In 2013, when Rubio was trying to sell the Gang of Eight bill to the right, Jeb Bush was putting out a book ahead of his presidential run trying to remake himself as something of a, er, border hawk. No citizenship for illegals, Jeb declared! Permanent residency is okay, but we must never reward these lawbreakers with the gift of American citizenship. Then, when he was pressed on that in interviews, he allowed that citizenship would be okay if you could figure out a way to do it without creating an incentive for future illegal immigration. I’m guessing he’s back to favoring a path to citizenship these days, now that he doesn’t need to worry about Republican primary voters anymore.

Here’s all you really need to know about Jeb’s opportunism on immigration — two ads from the 2016 primaries which are ostensibly aimed at Rubio’s flip-flopping on immigration but are actually aimed at reminding Republican voters that Rubio was a Friend of Chuck’s on amnesty circa 2013. Jeb was trying to nuke him by any means necessary in hopes of filling the center-right adult-in-the-room niche between the nationalist Trump and the conservative Cruz. If that meant dinging Rubio repeatedly for a case in which he did show leadership at great political peril in service to a cause championed by Jeb Bush himself, then that’s what it meant. We ended up with neither Rubio nor Bush as nominee, of course, but Donald Trump instead. Great work, Jeb! The 2022 Rubio/Bush Florida Senate primary is going to be lit.