- - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Jeb Bush has grave differences with the Republicans who will nominate a candidate for president next summer in Cleveland — differences on immigration, Common Core, and now on his brother’s conduct of the war in Iraq. Mr. Bush winces at the notion that he’s the “moderate” Republican that so many in his party think he is. In his first sit-down network interview, with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, he did not retreat from the earlier positions that do not endear him to his party’s hard core. Indeed, his answers to Miss Kelly’s questions confirm their suspicions. He has a lead in the public opinion polls, which don’t mean very much this far ahead of that Cleveland convention, but he has a lot of the money that is the famous mother’s milk of politics.

He doubled down on his support for immigration reform, though not repeating his clumsy remark that breaking the law to get to America is “an act of love.” He’s still willing if not eager to support the Senate “compromise” immigration scheme that some of its sponsors abandoned in the face of a fierce backlash. A political candidate who doubles down on an unpopular position is a brave man, worthy of the admiration of others for character, integrity and stubborn refusal to submit to what he regards as the wrong-headed view. Brave, maybe, but likely to exact a steep price for conviction.

Americans admire a man who stands his ground, even when they don’t like the ground he stands on. Republicans, unfortunately, have earned a reputation for retreat and compromise, and a man who shows a willingness to fight rather than switch is a welcome sight. But these are times to try men’s souls, and many of the Republicans in the grass roots think another Bush is not what the nation is looking for.

Jeb Bush’s stubbornness does however stands in sharp and welcome contrast to the “legacy” candidate of the Democrats. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the antithesis of a stand-your-ground candidate; she spins on the issues like a windmill in a windstorm. She voted for the war in Iraq when she was a senator, and she bitterly opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. That was then, of course, and other “convictions” are more fashionable now. Besides, what difference, at this point, does it make?

Hillary’s faithful husband Bill was recruited to smooth over the lady’s incredulities. She doesn’t have a clue about what to do and he’s the master of redefining what the meaning of “is” is. But something has happened to the old-time Bubba wit and charm. The man from a place called Hope has been hanging out with a bad element. This time he was only angry, and a bit ridiculous trying to justify his half-million-dollar fee for making a single speech, and to explain why the fee got bigger when his wife became secretary of state, able to dispense favors to those who paid for the speeches. His explanation that he had to “pay the bills” sounded more like Hillary than Bubba.

The Clintons are counting on short memories to enable her to get away with it. She’s stonewalling even the liberal media; she dare not risk further mistakes. By election time in November next year all the new stuff will be “old news,” and hardly worth talking about. If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate someone to disappoint the party’s oft-disappointed base — someone nicely moderate — the base will stay home, as it did twice for Barack Obama.

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