President Obama played the green card last night during his State of the Union address, making clear he will veto any attempt to repeal his Executive Order on immigration.
He also stated, “Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”
Strong stuff and a deliberate battle cry given that Republicans are inexplicably, trying to lose whatever Hispanic support they have by opposing the Executive Order tooth and nail.
Obama is loving it. That is hardly surprising. Since he issued it his ratings have headed north and are 50 percent approval in the latest Washington Post poll, a spectacular number when you consider how he seemed wedged in the low forties forever.
How important is that? If the incumbent is at 50 percent on election day 2016 the Democrats will likely win. If he has slumped back to the low forties the chances are considered to be about 25 percent a Democrat can win.
A key element of the Obama rise was a 22 percent bump among Hispanics, a huge gain brought about solely by his immigration move.
With the composition of the next presidential electorate expected to be 20 percent Hispanic how can the next Democrat miss?
There seems only one way for Republicans to win – nominate Jeb Bush.
Bush makes Florida a Republican gain whereas now it is clearly in the Democratic camp. As a former governor, and a popular one too, Bush has enough ties to the state to win it.
Throw in an Hispanic wife, an ability to speak Spanish, a conversion to Catholicism and you have the ingredients for a Republican surprise.
The major problem Bush has right now is getting the GOP nomination. He is way too liberal for the Tea Party types. He is compassionate on immigration, forward-looking on education and brilliant on small business.
Little wonder the party paladins are trying to lock up the race for him – but the Tea Party will have none of it.
But he is no shoo-in. Mitt Romney is a busted flush and a figure of fun now for late night TV jokes, but Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Chris Christie of New Jersey are formidable foes, not to mention several other governors considering running such as John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
Democrats will be praying Bush is stopped and a more extreme figure wins out. There’s a reason they have won four of the last five presidential races (and should have won in 2000 but for the Florida debacle).
They simply select more electable candidates. Jeb Bush would put a stop to that, but he is hardly favorite to emerge.
Meanwhile, Obama with the Hispanic vote safely secured, an improving economy and a fair wind must finally feel his luck has turned.
2016 will be the real test however.
Here’s President Barack Obama’s full State of the Nation adress: