Republican Comeback Strategy: Hug a Latino

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¿Qué hay de nuevo, GOP? 

Evidently “elections have consequences” because a brief two months ago the Republican Party nailed up one of the most hardline immigration planks in GOP history to its 2012 Platform.  That policy, drafted by America’s #1 Nativist, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, called for such controversial policies as the completion of a border fence, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and an end to sanctuary cities. You might remember Kris Kobach as the person who prepared the original legislation that became the inspiration for Arizona’s SB1070, as well as hardline immigration laws in Alabama, Georgia, and other states.

The platform also pledged support for national E-Verify, an Internet database to be run by the federal government that makes it harder for undocumented workers to get jobs. (Big Gubmint isn’t all bad, I guess)

Simultaneously, the Romney campaign was soft-pedaling anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric and, indeed, aired some Spanish-language campaign ads in Florida, included some campaign stops with high-profile Hispanics, flirted with the idea of Marco Rubio for their Veep, spray-tanned their candidate, and even trotted out a Spanish-speaking Romney son to appeal to swing state Latinos.

Nevertheless, the base must have its way and the Republican Platform Committee was easily swayed by Kobach’s pitch:

We recognize that if you really want to create a job tomorrow, you can remove an illegal alien today.  That is the way to open up jobs very quickly for U.S. citizen workers and lawfully admitted alien workers.

and they voted overwhelmingly in favor of Kobach’s immigration plank, effectively wiping out the inroads that had been forged by George W. Bush into the Latino electorate which enabled him to score an enviable 40% of the Latino vote.

The GOP, faced with an embarrassing defeat, is now showing every sign of being as short-sighted and ham-handed as ever in addressing its systemic problems.  It’s not surprising that Republicans are floundering after this defeat which puts to rest the notion that the 2010 mid-term elections presaged some sort of Republican renaissance, rather than a peculiar political blip—an all-in last gasp of “angry, white” American misanthropes orchestrated by Old Guard die-hards like Dick Armey and Karl Rove.

The same old Republican fatal flaws are glaringly evident.  The party is looking for a quick fix that will allow them to win elections without going through the pain of a serious ideological self-examination, or the shocking revelations of listening to people and taking them seriously.

If it wasn’t so very pathetic, it would almost be funny that Republicans, like Charles Krauthammer, seem to have, very quickly, come to the conclusion that Latinos are “Republican by nature” and that all the GOP has to do is package their pitch carefully to strike Hispanics’ internal chords of Republicanism.  Put that in your pipe, Bill O’Reilly . . .

All of a sudden, hispanic immigrants have gone from being opportunistic job suckers, uneducated, unskilled parasites, criminal predators, and drug and gun runners to the “salt of the Earth,” a perfect fit with the GOP’s God and family traditional values.  Or, as Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast put it, the GOP is beginning to see “Hispanics as Tea Partiers with visa problems.”

It will be a shock to these geniuses to learn that Cubans, Caribbean Hispanics, South and Central Americans, Spaniards and Mexicans are not all alike—until that dawns on them, they will waste a few election cycles herding cats, when they could have just paid attention to the world they live in:

According to the Pew Research Center, half of Hispanics now favor gay marriage compared with one third who oppose it. Hispanic Catholics are about as pro-gay marriage as white, non-Hispanic Catholics, and Hispanic evangelicals are less opposed than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. And while some past polling has shown Hispanics to be more anti-abortion than other Americans, the distinction is diminishing as second- and third-generation Hispanics prove far more pro-choice than their immigrant parents and grandparents. In fact, according to ABC News, 2012 exit polls actually showed Hispanics to be more supportive of keeping abortion legal than other Americans.

If Hispanics aren’t all that culturally conservative, they’re not obsessed with immigration either. According to Pew, 60 percent of Hispanics rated the economy as their top issue (almost exactly the same as the public at large). After that came health care, the deficit, and foreign policy. A USA Today/Gallup poll this summer found that Hispanic registered voters prioritized health care, unemployment, economic growth, and the gap between rich and poor over immigration.

Here’s another fact about your “natural Republicans,” Mr. Krauthammer:

According to Pew, while only 41 percent of Americans as a whole say they want a bigger government that provides more services, a whopping 75 percent of Hispanics do.

I predict that the GOP’s strategy to woo Latinos will be to consult their Big Golden Book of Ethnic Stereotypes and launch some entertaining attempts at becoming “latinized.”  They may drop some of their more aggressive English-Only programs.  They may decide to let smart kids and soldiers stay without too much hassle.  They might offer a retirement plan to America’s Toughest Sheriff.”  They’ll probably find a few more photogenic Cuban-American Republicans to poster-ize in the mistaken belief that immigrants vote ethnicity over policy. 

Maybe the GOP is still in a state of denial but how does it really help to delude themselves into thinking that Latinos are natural Republicans as long as women, gays, blacks, secular whites, Asians and the young are not?  Doesn’t that suggest that perhaps “natural Republicanism” is fatally flawed and might not be worth pushing to anyone?  Or is that too hard to sort out?  The problem with courting the 1% is that they are only 1% and one of the lessons of 2012 is that money still doesn’t buy American elections.

Meanwhile that “angry old white men” base is simmering, stewing and threatening to blow sky high if you threaten to give any more of “their America” away.

Tough spot, GOP but, you know what?—You built it!

Posted by Bette Noir on 11/13/12 at 12:50 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '12Nutters

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The problem looks something like this—bird in the hand: the Tom Tancredo, Minutemen, Stormfront, friends of Eric Rudolph types; two in the bush—non whites and non-crazy whites.

Now they can send Marco Rubio into the Iowa cornfields and Barbara Bush (the Elder)‘s little brown grandbabies forth on a good will mission to preach the Evangel of conservatism to the hard-working nuevos Americanos, who have already heard the message:

You ain’t worth the time or money, but we will take your vote. And we will try to not count it if you vote the wrong way. And if we give you any damn thing you worked for—that’s good enough, for you, isn’t it?

I pause and wonder what GOProud sounds like to me, sometimes. And I can’t complete the thought without Godwin-ing something about trains—running on time—while being led onto them. Or directly quoting JC Watt’s old man about the sense of a black man voting for a Republican being on a par with that of a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

Laura Ingraham reinvoked the Southern strategy positively in saying the GOP needed a return to their core principles. She didn’t elaborate on what that strategy was for her listeners, and she didn’t need to for any liberal concerned about social justice. That she probably knows full well what Lee Atwater had to say on that subject is besides the point—it worked in the past, didn’t it?

They’re standing on the spent brakes of history shouting “Stop!”, but the arc of history is a little more curved, these days. And for them, it’s all downhill from here.

Here in Colorado, I’d like to thank my hispanic bretheren who made the difference in turning this state blue on election day.  Extremely blue; both houses of the state legislature are majority dem now. 

I’ve been out and about the last few days, and I am hearing from many people who are pleased at the result of the elections, but aren’t exactly wallowing in it.  However, each one of them has a story about some sore loser rethug who is still, still apoplectic about the result.  That should help bring in more minority voters for rethugs, right?

You’d think it would be Politics 101:  Don’t insult people if you want them to vote for you.  Don’t call women sluts, don’t call people who don’t pay income tax moochers, don’t act as though all Hispanics and blacks are automatically criminals.  Don’t call a black President lazy, demand to see his college records and shake your finger in his face like you’re Miss Daisy and he’s the help.

But no, they couldn’t resist it, not as long as they thought the people they were insulting were out-numbered by the people who enjoyed seeing them insulted.

I think a major problem with the Republicans is their addiction to “Newspeak”- when they talk about “traditional family values”, they basically mean “hating on the gays”.  Traditional families accept their relatives regardless of their sexual orientation.  They look at the importance of family to Latinos, and they assume that means “they hate the gays as much as we do”. 

The Republicans have twisted the language to serve their own ends, to the extent that they have problems communicating with those outside their bubble.  I forsee some hilarious missteps in any outreach attempts.

It harks back to Orwell’s original theory on Newspeak—that if you degrade language to that extent, you’re eventually unable to even think about certain concepts, let alone express them.

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