Bush recently led a Hispanic Leadership Network board meeting in Florida, part of the GOP’s larger effort to connect with minorities.
“The problem that you always ran into is that the price of admission on the things that 60 percent of people agreed on were things that virtually nobody agreed on,” a Senate GOP aide said. “So your blanket amnesty discussion was always the price of admission for what you do with HB1 visas, or what you do with guest workers.”
Rubio’s proposal, which has yet to be finalized, is largely at the mercy of Reid, who controls what legislation comes up for a vote on the floor of the Senate, and what will likely be a divided GOP, which could fracture along the line of members concerned about primary challenges. A spokesman in Reid’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment, but Rubio’s public push for legislation came up at a White House press briefing last week.
“The reports about Sen. Rubio’s ideas bode well for a productive bipartisan debate, which we hope will start in earnest soon after the inauguration,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. “We hope that it signals a change in the Republican approach to this issue, because if we are going to get this done it’s going to take more than just a handful of Republicans working across the aisle.”
For the GOP, there is no simple prescription, but Bolger said having strong Hispanic candidates running for office, changing the way the party talks about immigration and coming up with sensible legislation are key to winning support in elections.
“That’s not going to be easy,” Bolger said, “but we can’t keep giving them the finger 18 months out of an election cycle and then expect the last six months to play footsie with them.”