By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL POLITICAL DIARY ONLINE
09 APRIL 14
Jeb Bush clearly knew the potential for trouble when he told his interviewer Sunday that his comments were being recorded but, "So be it." A brisk straightforward start soon evolved into something quite different, which happens frequently enough in the political world but in Mr. Bush's case was particularly telling.
The subject, as most of the world by now knows, was immigrants in the United States illegally, which he explained was no serious crime but one driven by the highest of impulses—parental devotion. A fact, his urgent tone told us, that those holding different views of the immigration issue and the American audience at large didn't appreciate.
Mr. Bush expanded on the theme with the now famous claim that people violating U.S. immigration laws were committing "an act of love." It was an astounding pronouncement in its fervent simplism and embrace of the irrational. It was not simply an inartful comment, as Karl Rove called it. The instincts on display in Mr. Bush's remarks—the silken demagoguery, the suggestion that Americans who thought the country's laws mattered were clearly the kind unable to grasp that immigrant parents loved their children—were hard to miss. After six years of the Obama administration—which began, recall, with reminders by the president that the nation had in the nick of time been rescued from a moral abyss—sermonizing of this kind from Mr. Bush, a potential presidential candidate, falls hard on the ears.
True, it's doubtful Mr. Bush will ever be a serious contender for Obama-style rhetorical laurels. It will be a long while before any candidate ever beats the terminal double-speak of that golden prose. Last weekend was, of course, one moment in Mr. Bush's journey—but a kind, if he becomes a candidate, he'd do well to study.