Does the GOP Really Care?

Welcome to the Republican Party’s latest campaign: the Kiss-and-Make-Up-with-Hispanics initiative.

It’s not an officially sanctioned activity of the GOP. But at least some Republicans are trying to mend fences with Hispanic voters so as to improve the party’s prospects in 2012 and beyond.

This is one of the major goals behind the Hispanic Leadership Network, a new organization that wants to act as a bridge between Hispanics and the “center-right movement.” It recently held its inaugural conference in Miami, and I was invited to participate as part of a media panel.

The event was co-chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – who has spent most of his life around Hispanics. That includes being married for nearly four decades to Mexican-born Columba Garnica Gallo de Bush.

Bush raised eyebrows when he told those gathered at the conference that, because of the phenomenal growth of the Hispanic community, it would be “incredibly stupid” for Republicans to ignore the Hispanic vote.

Come to think of it, it would be even more stupid for Republicans to continue to do what they do now: antagonize Hispanics by using them as piñatas to entertain white constituents – or, worse, portraying them as bogey men to scare up votes.  This is the modus operandi for too many in the GOP. They reach for low-hanging fruit by pursuing non-Hispanics and,they think, the best way to do that is to use Hispanics as a convenient foil. (more…)

“Probably Done by an Illegal”

I have this theory that if you rummage around long enough in any major news story in the United States over the last 25 years – the OJ Simpson murder trial, the 2000 Florida recount, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the September 11th attacks, etc., – you’ll find Latinos at the center of it.

The theory holds true in the case of the attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson – a tragedy that resulted in the killing of six people and the wounding of fourteen, including Giffords.

Soon after the shooting, word spread to a gathering of the Maricopa County GOP in Phoenix. In attendance was DeeDee Garcia Blasé, the president and founder of Somos Republicans, a national organization of Hispanic Republicans. Garcia Blasé was shocked at the news, but doubly shocked by what followed. (more…)

File in the Latino Section

Is there anything wrong with a mainstream news website creating a separate section for Latinos? And is there really any difference between that sort of thing and a website like this one – Red Brown and Blue – that is dedicated to Latino news and opinion?

The answer to both questions is: “Yes.”

Someone needs to spell all this out for Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor-in-chief of the wildly successful and just as wildly liberal Huffington Post. The New York-based website, which has an estimated worth of $200 million, does not publish enough Latino writers. No one argues that, certainly not in a country where Latinos are on their way to making up 30 percent of the US population by 2050.

That omission is itself interesting since liberals are always lecturing the rest of us about the need to embrace diversity. Apparently, they need to heed their own sermons.

It’s also a problem. Any media entity – website, newspaper, television network, etc. – that doesn’t keep pace with the country’s changing demographic will soon become irrelevant.

The solution, decided Huffington, is not to recruit more Latino writers to write for the website. That is too obvious. She prefers instead to create a special section for Latinos.

(Another site – for African-Americans – is also on the drawing board.) (more…)

The Word Police

Sometimes, the very best intentions produce the very worst ideas. And so it is with the recent campaign to rid our national lexicon of what some people are calling the “I-word.”

The word is “illegal.” You and I know that word to simply describe something that is against the law. But, to those activists who agitate on behalf of illegal immigrants – including people who favor an open border and a suspension of all laws against unlawful entry into the United States – the word is an unfair and dehumanizing slur against a group of people who are more accurately described as “undocumented.”

To this bunch, “illegal” is a bad word. And those who use it are bad people. Ironically, that includes a wide swath of the liberal media that often expresses support for comprehensive immigration reform and condemnation of reactionary measures like virtually anything coming out of Arizona these days.

Murder of the DREAM

I’d like to report a murder. The DREAM Act is unresponsive and appears to be gasping its last breath. The trouble is that the cowards who committed this heinous act didn’t even have the guts to show their faces. They killed it in secret, using political sleight of hand and parliamentary procedures. So we don’t know – as President Obama famously said during the health care debate – whose ass to kick. But, if it helps, we do have a last known address for the culprits: The U.S. Senate.

What is Immigration?

Congressional Republicans talk a lot about immigration. And they seem to care a lot about immigration. They just don’t seem to understand a lot about immigration.

They don’t understand that it’s an economic phenomenon and not strictly a law enforcement issue. Poor people in a neighboring country who can’t feed their children but could earn 10 times as much next door aren’t going to let little things like a long treacherous journey across the desert or a shiny billion-dollar border fence stand in their way. U.S. authorities could deport 5,000 illegal immigrants a day, and it won’t do any good because those people will always come back – until they have a better alternative to keep them at home.

And they don’t understand that enforcement-only is not a workable strategy. We can’t simply round up and deport our way out of our immigration fix. While Americans have every right to deport each and every one of the estimated 10.3 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States, that’s never going to happen. And even if it were to happen, most of the deportees would (see above) come right back.  And before it was over, we’d take those millionaires who currently do a brisk business smuggling illegal immigrants and provide enough additional clients to make them into billionaires.