Good morning from NYC, where I commuted in from the far side of the Hudson via 'Belle', my old Hinckley 36 footer. At 7am the big river was flat, the wind still, the sky gray and drizzling. And I was thinking about today's top story as I cruised past the West Side Highway packed with cars. Approaching the 79th Street Boat Basin I kept coming back to a spontaneous moment during former Governor Jeb Bush's announcement for president yesterday when the heckler demanded to know what Jeb would do, if elected, about undocumented immigrants. He was undaunted.
"By the way, just so that our friends know," he said going off script, "the next president of the United States (meaning himself) will pass meaningful immigration reform so that, that will be solved not by Executive Order."
His answer demonstrates why he, and not fellow Floridian Senator Marco Rubio is the Republican best positioned to win the critical Hispanic vote in the coming election. After backing immigration reform in the Senate, Rubio chickened out when confronted by his Tea Party supporters. Now he doesn't support the bill he worked hard to get passed.
On the other hand, Jeb gets it, the need to be compassionate and practical in dealing with the 11 or 12 million long-term, law-abiding, undocumented immigrants, many of whom have U.S. citizen children.
Republicans cannot win without the Latino vote, which is crucial in swing states like Florida, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada and Virginia.
Most Latinos will not vote for Marco Rubio or Senator Ted Cruz, the other nominal Latino in the Republican race.
Many will vote for Jeb Bush. His Spanish is at least as good as theirs. His wife Columba is Mexican-born. His son George P. Bush, currently the Texas Land Commissioner is a totally bilingual heart-throb who could eventually be the fourth Bush to run for president.