Massachusetts’ Senator Elizabeth Warren has been hailed by the nickname “Fauxcahontas” for some years now due to her claim of Native American status when she was seeking employment with Harvard University. Although no evidence has ever been unearthed that she can legitimately claim to be of Cherokee descent, Warren repeated the assertion in a book published in 2014.
Just one of those things you get away with when you’re a Democrat, perhaps. Now, however, the New York Times has done some due diligence on Jeb Bush, and discovered that he, like Warren, checked a peculiar race/ethnicity block on a form a few years back. (I’d say “wait for it…” but I assume you already know which one.)
In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled “race/ethnicity.”
Freudian slip? NYT discloses the following:
A Bush spokeswoman could offer no explanation for the characterization.
Probably best not to try. NYT dutifully notes this:
Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor and likely presidential candidate, was born in Texas and hails from one of America’s most prominent political dynasties.
Technically, being born in Texas doesn’t by any means convey that you’re not “Hispanic.” But being a Bush, of the political-dynasty Bushes — and not just any Bush, but a child of George H.W. and Barbara — basically does mean that you’re not Hispanic.
It’s an interesting observation on our times, that candidates for political office come to the table now having checked so many blocks on so many forms throughout their lives. There was a time when that wasn’t the case. If the voter registrations or employment documentation of all of our politicians were investigated thoroughly, there’s no telling what we’d find. Some of them have probably, who knows, underestimated their weight, or overestimated their height, on their driver’s licenses.
NYT has a scanned copy of the voter registration form, which Bush filled out in 2009. The “Hispanic” block, we may note, is adjacent to the “White, not Hispanic” block — although I think readers will agree that the horizontal presentation of the race/ethnicity blocks makes it less likely that Bush simply checked “Hispanic” by mistake. The image is reproduced, zoomed in to the max, below.
If he had checked “Asian/Pacific Islander,” or “Black, not Hispanic,” it would be easier to assume he had just made an error. But Jeb Bush’s sentiments about Hispanics — and Hispanic immigrants in particular — versus other Americans, and especially the native-born, have become uncomfortably well known. Other than highlighting the stupidity of demanding that people fill in such information in a supposedly race-blind era, this odd little incident reminds us Jeb has, at times, seemed to kind of wish he were Hispanic.
He certainly seems to wish we were Hispanic immigrants:
The one way that we can rebuild the demographic pyramid is to fix a broken immigration system. . . . If we do this, we will rebuild our country in a way that will allow us to grow. If we don’t do it, we will be in decline, because the productivity of this country is dependent on young people that are equipped to be able to work hard….Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years. Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families and they have more intact families.
And who can forget his proclamation that crossing the border illegally is an “act of love”?
If you continue to find Jeb a bit strange, and politically off-putting, you’re not alone.