ALREADY? – AT 9:33 A.M. ET: This might be ginned up a bit by the press, but it's possible a rivalry is being formed by two Florida political giants, both interested in the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. From The Hill:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) are bumping elbows as both work to establish leadership roles on immigration and education reform while weighing 2016 presidential bids.
Bush on Friday appeared to criticize Rubio’s strategy for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws through a series of small bills instead of a comprehensive package as “shortsighted and self-defeating,” although he did not name Rubio.
“Some policy makers are calling for piecemeal changes — such as issuing visas for high-skilled workers and investors, or conferring legal status on immigrants who were illegally brought to the country as children,” Bush wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. “Congress should avoid such quick fixes and commit itself instead to comprehensive immigration reform.
“Such an approach is shortsighted and self-defeating. Border security is inextricably intertwined with other aspects of immigration policy. The best way to prevent illegal immigration is to make sure that we have a fair and workable system of legal immigration,” he wrote.
There have been other signs of friction between the Rubio and Bush worlds.
Jeb Bush Jr. — Jeb Bush’s son — recently criticized Rubio for declining to say in an interview with GQ magazine how old he thinks the planet is.
“Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that,” Rubio said.
Bush called the response “strange” and “kind of a head-scratching type of answer.”
Other Republican strategists have a different take. They think Rubio, who faces reelection for his Senate seat in 2016, would not run in the presidential primary if Bush entered the race.
They see Bush’s criticism of the piecemeal approach as founded on substantive concerns that Rubio may be negotiating with himself by proposing what some critics call "immigration reform-lite."
Some proponents of immigration reform speculate that Rubio is advancing cautiously on immigration reform to protect himself from conservative criticism in a future Iowa caucus or South Carolina primary.
COMMENT: I'd hate to see these two get into a battle. It will only damage the party and its chances for victory in 2016.
I'm also reluctant to see Jeb Bush run. He was a fine governor of Florida, he's a decent man, and is probably the most politically gifted of all the Bushes. But that's the problem. He's a Bush, and this country doesn't do dynasties very well. I think there really will be resistance to another Bush in the White House, just at the time when the Republicans hope to emerge from their slump.
True, Jeb Bush is married to a Hispanic woman, and that will help ease him past Hispanic resistance to GOP presidential candidates. But, inevitably, he will be seen, as was Romney, as just another white guy from a prominent family. It's unfair, but who said politics was fair?
Jeb Bush, whatever his qualities, will be seen by too many as the past. Marco Rubio is the future.
January 28, 2013