Remember those right-wing bloggers and commentators who got bent out of shape by the creation of “African Americans for Obama,” accusing Obama of playing the race card or even being racist?
Just this week, Victor Davis Hanson was complaining that to Obama, “‘Us’ now means all sorts of targeted appeals to identity groups like African-Americans for Obama, Latinos for Obama, gays for Obamas, greens for Obama, or students for Obama.”
Yet Hanson and his colleagues were oddly silent this week when Mitt Romney announced the creation of “Juntos Con Romney,” or “together with Romney,” a team led by former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to “help guide the campaign on important Hispanic initiatives and outreach.”
Nor did they complain when Romney produced ads such as these:
(Among other things, the ad promises that on Day One — Dia Uno — Romney will introduce tax cuts “that reward job creators, not punish them.” That means either higher deficits or higher taxes on the rest of us, but I digress.)
Personally, I’m glad to see Romney making the effort, hypocritical as it may be in some ways. As Jeb Bush noted this morning on CBS, the GOP needs to change its approach on immigration issues and its attitudes toward immigration.
“I worry that it’s shortsighted because tonally, in terms of the tone of the debate, it sends a signal ‘we want your support but you really can’t join our team…,’” Bush said. “Demographically, Latino voters, Hispanic voters, are gonna be important in this election but, going forward, even more so. … I think there needs to be a lot more intense efforts to recognize the demographics of the country are changing and our messaging, not our views, not our principles … need to change as well.”
Bush, for example, has endorsed the concept of a DREAM Act allowing young immigrants who were brought here illegally as children to attend college. Gutierrez, the chair of “Juntos con Romney,” has also endorsed the legislation. Romney has said he would veto such a bill.
And rather than be frightened or angered at the sound of Spanish, Bush argues that “When we hear foreign languages in the streets of America, that is a validation of the Republican vision to create a place where people want to come and make their lives.”
Romney, in contrast, has long supported making English the nation’s official language, an effort that many Hispanics see as an insult. In other words, while Romney may make superficial gestures of inclusion, and while he personally may feel differently, he is too weak to try to challenge forces within his party that make tangible, effective outreach impossible.
– Jay Bookman