The oppo research teams are dragging out all the golden oldies for every potential GOP candidate who is currently polling in or near double digits. Politico may take the prize for one of the strangest (and longest) stories of the month, though, as they devote dozens of paragraphs to the history of Jeb Bush’s father-in-law, José Maria Garnica Rodríguez.
Jeb Bush often mentions his wife’s family, how he fell in love with her in nearby León, and her immigrant challenges coming to the United States.
Only rarely — and critically — do the likely front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination or his aides mention his wife’s father, José Maria Garnica Rodríguez.
Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell reiterated Tuesday that Columba Bush’s father abandoned his family. “Mrs. Bush did not have a relationship with her father after he left her mother and their family when Mrs. Bush was just a young teenager,” she said. And published accounts, including one in The New York Times recently, largely have taken that line, calling him a migrant worker and nonpresence in his daughter’s life.
But relatives here say it’s not true.
In case you’re considering wading through this extensive article in hopes of “finding the pony” at the end I can probably save you some time. I’ll admit that while I’d heard mention of the father-in-law in the past, I’d never really dug into the story, so I read this one. It has some teasers which made it appealing, including the specter of an illegal immigrant and cross border drama. What else might we find?
Actually… that was about it. The Bush family has one story – that the father essentially abandoned his family and moved to America when Mrs. Bush was a young teen – and some relatives have another. (They claim that Mrs. Bush was the one who did the leaving.) I suppose this is interesting if you’re attending Thanksgiving dinner with them and are looking for a spat after a few glasses of wine, but it’s not terribly applicable to the husband’s political resume.
Yes, it’s true that the father was in the country illegally for a time (allegedly) but later got a green card and began working here legally, eventually purchasing a home. I suppose you might find that to be a small stone to hurl at Jeb, but it happened in the sixties. As for the rest of it and who is telling the truth about which family member walked out… do we care?
Just to be clear, none of this signals some sudden bout of amnesia about legitimate criticisms of Jeb. He’s got a lot to answer for in terms of immigration policy (as opposed to the immigration of his wife’s dad) and Common Core among other things. But is this story really relevant to the primary race?