Why Aren’t any Adults in the Party Challenging Romney and Field as they Pander to the Extreme Right and Alienate Latino Voters?
Will they ever learn? Republican presidential contenders, especially Mitt Romney, are following a well-trodden and politically perilous path when it comes to the politics of immigration. They lurch hard right during the primary in search of base voters and in the process of doing so make themselves radioactive with the fastest growing group of voters in the nation – Hispanics. It seems Romney and others want to follow the path of other political successes such as Governor Meg Whitman, Governor Tom Tancredo and Senator Sharron Angle.
It is about to get worse. According to POLITICO, a “Romney campaign research document coming out later highlights similarities between Perry and Obama on immigration policy…The Romney camp tastes blood in the water.”
According to Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, “Romney’s shameless pandering might work to help defeat Rick Perry for the nomination, but it also might help defeat Mitt Romney in the general election. The road to the White House goes through the Latino community, especialIy in the swing states of Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. It is widely accepted that the GOP nominee will have to win 40% of the Hispanic vote nationwide to have a chance to win the general. If Romney continues to make the outlandish and fact-free claim that educating kids who came to America in their diapers through no fault of their own is an incentive for illegal immigration, he would be lucky to win 20% of the Hispanic vote in 2012.”
Even more remarkable is the accusation that Perry is a moderate on the issue. He is not. Perry is against comprehensive immigration reform and the federal DREAM Act, spouts the same border-first nonsense as the other candidates, and has pushed for harsh enforcement-only laws in Texas. But the rest of the Republican field is driving so fast and furious to the right that Perry appears moderate in comparison. Perhaps the main take away is that it is the Republican Party that has lurched so far right on immigration that true moderates, such as President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush, would get booed off Republican stage in 2011. In doing so, Party leaders seem unable or unwilling to learn the lessons of 2006, 2008, or 2010, elections in which tacking hard right in the primaries cost Hispanic support in the general.
Added Sharry, “It appears the nativist inmates are running the Republican asylum. If so, where are the responsible party leaders who know that it’s both the right thing and the smart thing to do to stand up to the hard-right pandering we’re witnessing? Are they afraid they might get booed, too? In the face of such ugly intolerance and hostility to Latinos in the nomination race, their silence is deafening.”
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.