It’s not getting any traction, but it’s a moment that reveals the gulf between GOP primary voters and the Republican establishment. It’s also a battle of extremism vs. solutions.

GOP immigration debate shows rift between party establishment and conservative grassroots.

With Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry under attack for supporting tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants, former Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday offered some solidarity by calling a similar proposal in Florida “fair policy.”

In 2001, Perry signed the first state law in the country that allowed the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. Former Florida state Rep. Juan Zapata said the Texas law was “the model” for legislation that he repeatedly”“but unsuccessfully”“pushed in his state. Two of his key allies then are now among the GOP’s most sought-after stars: Bush, the subject of perpetual draft movements to run for president, and his fellow Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio, a sure bet for the GOP’s vice presidential shortlist in 2012.

“I think that is a fair policy,” Bush said in an e-mail to National Journal on Tuesday, adding that the students who benefit from the tuition breaks find themselves in the United States through “no fault of their own.”

Mitt Romney is having none of this (see video above, which Romney is promoting on Twitter), because he’s already vulnerable on so many other issues he can’t afford it. He’s being practical for the primaries.

As for Rick Perry, his debate performances have been so atrocious I’m doubtful he can come back. The immigration issue is also so hot among the far right who vote in the primaries that they may not allow him to.

It will make things very interesting if (when) Marco Rubio is being considered for the Republican vice presidential spot.