Washington (CNN) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is calling on conservatives to step up their outreach to Hispanic voters if they want to remain politically relevant.
In a Miami Herald op-ed Sunday, Bush wrote that "the center-right movement" is a natural home for Hispanic voters with its message of lower taxes and education reform.
The Spanish-fluent ex-governor pointed to several bright spots for Republicans in the most recent election cycle – Sen. Marco Rubio's win in Florida, along with pick-ups in the House by Idaho's Raul Labrador and Washington's Jaime Herrera – but said conservatives writ large still get "unacceptably low support" among Hispanic voters.
"While the reason for such low numbers is debatable, the way to turn them around is clear: a long-term commitment to outreach and better articulation of our values by conservative leaders," Bush wrote, pointing to a Pew survey showing that only 38 percent of Hispanics voted Republican in 2010. "I don't think 40 percent of the Hispanic vote can be our ceiling if we plan to impact our nation in the coming decades."
He urged Republicans to "commit to serious and sustained engagement" with the Hispanic community, a strategy "inextricably linked to the continued success of the center-right movement."
Bush is co-chairing this week's debut conference the Hispanic Leadership Network, a group formed last year by the conservative American Action Network to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Conference organizers invited a slew of potential GOP presidential contenders, but only Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has accepted an invitation and will address the forum on Friday in Coral Gables.
The GOP sent its outreach message to Hispanic voters a few weeks ago by blocking the Dream Act.
Would all the Bushes (except for Barbara) please just GO AWAY??!! We're tired of your family – especially here in Florida!
I figured Jeb would be visiting local rest homes looking to insert himself into the health decisions of comatose patients. (Isn't it the Republicans who talk about Government-controlled healthcare and yet they are the only party for which there is direct evidence of such control?)
The newest variation of my favorite bumper sticker – A Hispanic voting for a conservative Republican is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders.
Of course he would feel that way. He married an Hispanic woman.
"Hispanic Outreach" = create a police state sufficiently large and powerful that the 'long arm of the law" can reach out and find anyone the GOP believes might not be a citizen.