National Harbor, Maryland – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush took the stage in front of a full house at CPAC yesterday, answering questions posed by Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. One of the first topics brought up by Hannity was Bush’s position on immigration. Gov. Bush obviously came prepared to discuss that position by bringing with him a crowd of young, enthusiastic supporters who filled the room and cheered loudly to drown out any booing from the rest of the crowd. Bush’s most ardent detractors got up and walked out as he began to speak.
Those who may have been watching the event on television may have gotten the impression Bush’s argument in favor of amnesty was well-received by the crowd, but that was not the case. Earlier in the day when Hannity addressed the crowd, hours before Bush’s cadre of supporters arrived, the mention of the former Governor’s name elicited loud boos. In the end, the only people at the event who were impressed with Bush’s speech were those he brought with him. I am not sure what he hoped to accomplish by giving people a false impression, but if that is the kind of tactics we can expect from him as President, I would rather he just retire to Florida.
Elsewhere in the convention center, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions gave a surprise speech at a reception hosted by Breitbart News in which he countered Bush’s immigration stance and explained how important it was for the country to get both legal and illegal immigration under control.
Sessions read from a Washington Times article that quoted former Mitt Romney aide Spencer Zwick who praised Bush’s stance on immigration saying: “If someone wants to be taken seriously running for president, in my opinion, they need to be in a similar place”.
“I’ll tell you one thing: It’s the people of this country that run this country,” Sessions responded. “Contributions and supporters are always important in presidential elections and other elections too, but votes trumps money.”
Senator Sessions recently published a report titled Immigration Handbook For The New Republican Majority in which he made a masterful case against the type of “immigration reform” being pushed by the pro-amnesty crowd in Washington, and laid out a plan to bring the problem under control, and to sell the plan to the American people. In his CPAC address, the Senator cited polling number which indicated that almost 80% of the American people thought businesses that were struggling to find workers should raise wages and improve working conditions rather than bringing in foreign workers to take the jobs. The numbers were even higher for black and Hispanic voters.
The crowd of CPAC attendees that listened to Sen. Sessions was necessarily much smaller than Bush’s, but Session’s crowd cheered and applauded because they honestly agreed with the Senator’s positions rather than because they had been told to. An honest, open discussion of these issues, using facts and common sense rather than emotions and name calling is the way we move forward on immigration.