Martin Bashir | March 11, 2013
>>> when the president meets with senate republicans thursday, they already have one legislative goal that may well be in sight. the " l.a. times " is reporting a bipartisan group of senators is close to a deal on immigration reform and the path to citizenship. undocumented workers would need to register with the department of homeland security , pay federal income taxes, as well as a fine. still unresolved, however, are issues like how long a worker would need to wait for a green card , and then, of course, there's the gop insistence that we're not spending enough on enhanced border security . for more, let's bring in lily gilvaletta, a hispanic marketing expert. and in washington, democratic strategist julian epstein. welcome to you, both. julian , i have to put this to you, and you have some experience of this kind of negotiation. what happens in the senate, whatever happens in the senate, the president meets with house republicans wednesday. is there a majority of republican votes in the house that are willing to support any kind of path to citizenship?
>> i think at the end of the day , as a matter of political necessity, the house republicans will pass this. you'll get a lot that vote against it, but i think you will get this passed. i think we're getting close to this being a done deal at this point. the irony to me, martin, is this is almost exactly the same debate that we've been having since 2005 right after bush 43 was elected. but at that time, the extremist wing of the republican party , and until recently, forbid the republicans from moving on the path to citizenship.
>> now they realize with mitt romney getting 28% of the hispanic vote, bush got 41%, this is kamikaze politics. and there is an important lesson for this for the republican party . if they let policy be dictated to them by the extremist wing or the kamikaze wing of the republican party , not only will they do the brand considerable damage, as they have for the last eight years with the hispanic community, but they'll accomplish nothing from a policy point of view because republicans now, at the end of the day , are probably going to get the same bill they would have gotten in 2005 , but they've just flogged themselves for eight years now by resisting this in an unreasonable way.
>> lily, there are a lot of conservatives out there as you know that still believe that immigrants are living off welfare and government handouts and government largess. something john mccain found out about at a town hall last month. do you think telling these people, again, the truth, which apparently this deal does, will have any effect?
>> you know, i go back to the numbers. i love numbers. and when we look at who makes up the illegal population, half of them came to this country legally and were documented. i came here with a student visa , suitcase and pocket translator. after earning my degree in the united states , really had a way to stay and get a job as a student that graduated in the united states . that would have made me an illegal immigrant . there are many of those out there which is nonsense. you cannot throw one big definition to all immigrants because we are not all the same. and that's why reform needs to happen and it's an overhaul. because patching it here and there is not going to cut it.
>> julian , let's talk jeb bush for a moment. he's not had a good last few days, as you know. first it was his flip-flops on a path to citizenship. he was both for it and against it like a one-man episode of " cross fire ." on sunday, he was asked about his brother's legacy as president, and this is fabulous. here is jeb bush 's response.
>> do you think that there is any bush baggage? do you think that would be a problem?
>> no. i don't think there's any bush baggage at all. i love my brother. i'm proud of his accomplishments. i love my dad. i am proud to be a bush.
>> julian , that is a point on wish jeb bush absolutely needs to flip-flop. what will voters say to a candidate who says he's proud of george w. bush 's accomplishments? even though most conservatives are not proud of them?
>> well, i would quote the words of a famous florida governor who just the other day said, what are you smoking? in an interview that occurred subsequently. i mean, the idea that the country, that he does not have bush baggage, when the country is climbing out of two very unpopular wars and the worst recession since last depression, is you, the only response is, what are you smoking? i think, you know, john kennedy wrote a very important book when he was running for president "while england slept." i think we're beginning to see the death of political books as springboard for running for presidency. rick perry wrote a book calling social security a ponzi scheme . mitt romney wrote a book talking about massachusetts being model for health care reform . those all came back to bit him. bush on question of immigration had more positions than a game of twister. what we are seeing in his flip-flop on immigration, just to parlay it back, is this kind of cognitive dissidence the republican party is experiencing right now. one minute, oh, no, we can't be for a path to citizenship because it's bad for base politics, we can't get elected in primaries. the next moment, that kind of kamikaze politics is really bad for the general election . this is the modern day republican party who can't figure out whether or not the inmates are in charge of the asylum and why the party has major brand problems right now.
>> lili, you read jeb bush 's book.
>> i'm almost done. 80% there.
>> right. and your reaction to it, briefly?
>> you know, what's interesting, he points out six very practical points on how to go about immigration reform . so it's like the first half of it is very promising. then when we get into the extreme rule of law and trying to go back into, you know what, we just cannot reward criminal actions, then it's when it goes back into calling of us immigrants criminals. there's good things here, and back to what's happening now. unless we go back to the core values of this country and rekindle our immigrant spirit, it's not going to get fixed. may be good things here. fantastic eight may have another one. republicans, democrats, let's just do it. we cannot be afraid of an extreme right base that will then take us back to the dark ages . everything broke since ellis island . we're trying to fix it.