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Christie loses a fan

Sliming Pelosi 

Jeb shows ‘love’ to illegal immigrants, but will GOP love him back? 

Jeb Bush may or may not run for president. In fact, he said over the weekend that his undecided stance has “generated more interest” than if he were running — a nod to all the media coverage that seems part of an effort to lure him into the race.

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But by standing his ground on illegal immigration, directly challenging his party’s right wing, Bush is sending a signal. He is willing to become the third Bush to make a White House bid if he can do it his way. And if he can’t, well, he doesn’t seem driven to make the run, and still has to weigh his family’s reservations.

To speak about showing compassion to people in this country illegally has in recent years been a ticket to oblivion in the Republican primaries. To do it at a 25th- anniversary celebration of his father’s presidency, in remarks partially carried by Fox News, was nothing less than laying down a marker.

If Bush is a 2016 candidate, he reaps two benefits from this immigration stance. One, the MSM are sympathetic to his position and believe the Republicans need to repair their battered image with Hispanics by moving on immigration reform. Two, if Bush wins the nomination, he will have a stronger chance of making inroads with Hispanic voters.

But can Bush run on a “hopeful” message and resist “the vortex of a mud fight,” as he put it? Did he watch the party’s 2012 demolition derby?

The New York Times :

“In perhaps his most expansive public discussion yet of a possible candidacy, Mr. Bush, a longtime supporter of overhauling immigration laws, warned against ‘harsh political rhetoric’ on the subject and urged more compassion for those who enter the country illegally for economic reasons. ‘Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony; it’s an act of love,’ he said. ‘It’s a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid. It shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to provide for their families.’”

The former Florida governor not only threw down the gauntlet on immigration, he “defended his commitment to the so-called Common Core set of educational standards." 

As Bush told Fox, "Maybe it's stubbornness, but I just don’t feel compelled to run for cover when I think this is the right thing to do for our country."

Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza observes that “moving far to the right to appease conservative primary voters played a role in dooming the eventual Republican presidential nominees the past two election cycles. Staying on middle ground as long as possible is a strategy the Republican Party hasn't tried in awhile. Come the end of the year, when Jeb Bush finally decides whether he wants to become the third member of his family to submit a rental application for the White House, we'll see if the always immediate uproar about ‘soft’ immigration views on the right is something that's dying out.”

At National Review, Jim Geraghty counters the just-supporting-their –families argument by saying “a significant number of Mexicans do not believe that the United States has the moral or legal authority to keep them out. Their concept of the border is fundamentally different from how it is defined under our laws.”

As for Bush’s “act of love” comment, he says, “you know what that sounds like? Flash back about two and a half years, to another governor who was considered a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination: ‘If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.’

“Jeb’s going to have to be very careful on this, because Perry’s comment was one of the first major missteps of a doomed campaign.” 

And Rick Perry wasn’t the only one who took heat (from Mitt Romney among others) for that stance. Newt Gingrich said during a debate that "I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who've been here for a quarter of a century” and “separate them from their families and expel them."

Buzzfeed Editor Ben Smith throws cold water on the whole idea:

“The notion that Jeb Bush is going to be the Republican presidential nominee is a fantasy nourished by the people who used to run the Republican Party. Bush has been out of a game that changed radically during the 12 years(!) since he last ran for office. He missed the transformation of his brother from Republican savior to squish; the rise of the tea party; the molding of his peer Mitt Romney into a movement conservative; and the ascendancy of a new generation of politicians — Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, among them — who have been fully shaped by and trained in that new dynamic. Those men occasionally, carefully, respectfully break with the movement. Scorning today’s Republican Party is, by contrast, the core of Jeb’s political identity.”

There are, of course, other issues in a potential Bush candidacy, which could also affect Marco Rubio’s decision to run. Chief among them is the family baggage and the inevitable need to defend his brother’s handling of Iraq and other issues.

If Bush indeed takes the plunge, it could trigger a healthy immigration debate within the GOP. But he may decide, as an act of love for his family, not to take on the party’s grassroots.

Christie loses a fan

Folks who follow New Jersey politics know that Chris Christie has had a falling out with former governor Tom Kean, who got him into politics, served as a mentor and was with Christie on the night of his landslide reelection. 

Still, this Ryan Lizza piece on Christie in the New Yorker is attracting attention for a killer Kean quote:

“He doesn’t always try to persuade you with reason. He makes you feel that your life’s going to be very unhappy if you don’t do what he says.” One of Christie’s flaws, says Kean, “is that he makes enemies and keeps them.” 

Sliming Pelosi

Can we all agree that sexualizing images of prominent women is a nasty business?

Conservatives were upset, and rightly so, when Hustler ran a photoshopped picture of CNN’s S.E. Cupp performing a sexual act — and many folks rallied to her side when she called out the magazine.

Now posters for, launching a West Coast edition, show Nancy Pelosi as a Miley Cyrus character, twerking on all fours, in some kind of bikini, with her tongue hanging out.

Folks across the spectrum should reject this kind of twisted humor.

The artist says his goal is to be “as mean as any liberal artist out there.” And that makes it right? 

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Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.