Jeb Bush: GOP Should ‘Stop Acting Stupid’ With Latino Voters

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has often disagreed with the Republican party’s increasingly hardline immigration positions. He called GOP immigration policies “short-sighted” in June. And in January, he said that “it makes no sense” for states to pass harmful anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s and Alabama’s — both written by Kris Kobach, the Romney campaign’s informal immigration adviser — because they turn off Latino voters.

Bush repeated his criticism of his party’s immigration policies Tuesday:

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Republican National Convention, Bush repeated his frequent warning that the party must change its tone, an admonition he has frequently raised about the party’s hardline position on immigration.

“The future of our party is to reach out consistently to have a tone that is open and hospitable to people who share values,’’ he said, adding “the conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”

In an interview yesterday, Bush told Univision’s Jorge Ramos that the Republican party has an issue with its tone when talking to Latino voters, and he said “there’s a price to pay” for continuing to focus on extreme immigration laws. “You have to show a respect that the louder, angrier voices of the Republican party don’t understand,” Bush added.

Increasingly, the Republican party is becoming more extreme on immigration issues. Mitt Romney staked out most far-right positions on immigration during the GOP primary, and the only area of immigration policy where he has been consistent is his support for harsh enforcement measures, like state laws to mirror Arizona’s SB 1070 and encouraging self-deportation. The GOP’s platform even calls for cutting off federal funds from colleges that offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, which would endanger Pell Grants and research funding.

As Ann Romney insists that Latino voters need to “get past some of their biases” and support Republicans, it’s unlikely that GOP officials will take Bush’s advice and moderate their immigration policies.