Last Thursday, the entire nation was shocked by the horrifying story of an innocent 37 year old man, Jeff Bush, whose bedroom in his home near Tampa, Florida was suddenly swallowed up in a huge sinkhole that has, presumably, now become his grave. All of our hearts go out to Mr. Bush's family for this terrible loss. 

For those of us who may be philosophically inclined. this awful event is a sobering reminder of the unfairness and capriciousness of life. Why did something so devastating happen to a man who, so far as we know, had never hurt a single person in his short lifetime on this planet? But I leave it to the philosophers to sort out the deeper meaning of this disaster.

There is, however, another, much better known, Bush, namely Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, who may have fallen into a political sinkhole of his own making. This Mr. Bush has also never hurt anyone in his life (except, in the opinion of many, allegedly having helped steal the 2000 election in Florida for his brother, George W. Bush, leading to the latter's having fallen into another alleged sinkhole known as the Iraq war).

The political sinkhole that Jeb Bush may have fallen into might not be as wide or deep as the sinkhole of electrified border fences which instantly swallowed the Republican primary candidacy of Herman Cain last year. Nor, arguably, is it as dangerous as the sinkhole of "self-deportation" which played such a large role in burying Mitt Romney's presidential hopes last November. But in one way, Jeb Bush's sinkhole might be even more dangerous for the entire Republican party.

Specifically, Jeb Bush has just published a book in which he stated that while he supports legalization for up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants, they should not become eligible for US citizenship in the future. In other words, America should have a permanent, mainly Latino, underclass.

This book, which appears to contradict previous statements that Jeb Bush has made supporting an eventual "pathway to citizenship" for unauthorized immigrants, immediately stirred up outrage and concern among other Republicans. Two articles in the Washington Post sum this up quite well. Both can be found at

The first, dated March 5, by Chris Cillizza, entitled: What's Jeb Bush up to? suggests that Bush may be positioning himself for a presidential run in 2016 by trying to present himself on immigration in a way that contrasts with another Florida Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, who has been out front on immigration reform and who supports the "pathway to citizenship". 

If so, Bush's strategy has clearly backfired, as conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin writes in her March 5, Washington Post article: Jeb Bush baffles immigration reform advocates:

"Bush's reversal created headaches for Republicans in the Gang of 8 and other reformers who have gone out on a limb."

She also writes:

"It is not clear whether he intended to throw a monkey wrench into the process or whether it will have a disruptive effect."

And in an updated column, written after Jeb Bush hastily backtracked and announced that he does in fact support a pathway to citizenship after all, Rubin got the point across loudly and clearly in the title of her post: Jeb Bush tries to mop up his mess.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), a prominent member of the Gang of 8, and other Republican politicians, also lost no time in expressing their disagreement with Bush's initial position against the Pathway.

Why are other Republicans so horrified by Bush's comment? Are they really all so eager for 11 million mainly Latino unauthorized immigrants, who are generally considered to favor the Democrats, to become US citizens and start voting? Or is there a different strategy at work?

If the Republicans agree on anything, it is that the pathway, not only to citizenship, but even to a green card with its lesser privileges, should be contingent on the Mexican border being certified as "secure". When will Republicans agree that this has actually happened? The answer is never. Just ask Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Therefore, the basic Republican immigration reform strategy is clear: Pretend to support a pathway to citizenship, but make it conditional on an event which will never take place.

This insistence could derail any kind of bipartisan reform agreement  If Jeb Bush almost fell into an immigration sinkhole, it may be because he let the cat of basic opposition to a pathway to citizenship out of the Republican bag.