Most of the Monday buzz about Jeb Bush’s speech on Sunday focused on the “act of love” phrase, one of those unfortunate clunkers of a line that —like Mitt Romney’s “severely conservative” spanner of two years ago— makes a man wonder where all the speechwriters have gone. Marc Thiessen is laboring over at the Post and I am here and other veteran wordsmiths who ghost a bit are scattered across the land, but apparently none could be bothered to review Jeb’s text. Too bad that because that phrase summons up the worst of San Francisco’s summer of love and doesn’t even communicate the former Florida Governor’s central message of compassion for immigrants forced by desperation to enter our land of plenty illegally. Had Jeb mentioned and quoted Immigration and the Next America by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, he’d have had a bracing challenge to anti-regularization conservatives front and center, but the phrasing shows that every would-be president needs a couple of writers about.
Lost in the sputtering was the key problem that Jeb has with GOP primary voters and not just in Iowa though this issue is huge there, but everywhere: His defense of Common Core.
I spoke at length with the governor about Common Core last summer —the transcript is here— and he does a fine job responding to critics, and needs to do more of that. I think he ought to take up Michele Malkin’s challenge to debate the subject in fact, and would be happy to moderate on air or off. As I said to the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza on yesterday’s show, Common Core is Jeb’s biggest issue with the base, not immigration, on which there is broad policy agreement (regularization following a long, strong fence’s construction.) The Common Core, however, is one of those iceberg issues –like the “notch babies” of decades ago– that elite media seems wholly unaware of and which the GOP field is sailing straight towards.