Thursday, October 20, 2011

More GOP-Minority Outreach, Ctd.

There’s a story in the New York Times by Trip Gabriel about how Hispanic voters are turned off by tough talk on immigration by Republican candidates.

“The discussion of creating electrified fences from sea to sea is neither prudent nor helpful,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Republican Party of Colorado, where Hispanics cast 13 percent of votes in 2008 and helped President Obama flip the state to blue. “They’re throwing red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

Besides Colorado, Mr. Obama cemented his victory in part by carrying three other swing states with large Hispanic voting populations: Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.

Republican strategists have hoped to win many of these voters back by appealing to their discontent over the economy and to their social conservatism, issues that helped George W. Bush win a historically high 44 percent of Hispanic voters in 2004.

Now, however, that pitch may be thwarted, according to some Republican strategists.

It doesn’t really matter if your party platform is in line with what you perceive to be strong values in the Hispanic community, such as faith and family — which is a huge generalization that borders on stereotyping — if another part of your platform is demonizing your ethnicity and assuming that all Hispanics are illegal aliens who rake leaves and clean hotel rooms.

Oh, and this story in the Miami Herald isn’t going to help their outreach much.

Unable to prevent Barack Obama from becoming president, rigid followers of the Constitution have turned their attention to another young, charismatic politician many think could one day occupy the White House.

The birthers are focusing on U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, the budding Republican star from Florida.

“It’s nothing to do with him personally. But you can’t change the rules because you like a certain person. Then you have no rules,” said New Jersey lawyer Mario Apuzzo.

Forget about the alleged Photoshopped birth certificates; the activists are not challenging whether Rubio was born in Miami. Rather, they say Rubio is ineligible under Article 2 of the Constitution which says “no person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

The rub is that “natural born citizen” was never defined.

The birthers rely on writings at the time of the formation of the republic and references in court cases since then to contend that “natural born” means a person born to U.S. citizens. Rubio was born in 1971 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, his office said, but his parents did not become citizens until 1975.

There are a lot of reasons to be against Marco Rubio and his right-wing agenda, not to mention his history as a lobbyist when he was in the Florida legislature, but the circumstances of his citizenship — something he had no control over — isn’t one of them.