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“Trump Proves GOP Proclamations Of Mortal Affront Untrue”: He’s Only Repeating What His Party’s Has Been Saying All Along

In 2006, then-Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce advocated the return of a 1954 program for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. It was called “Operation Wetback.”

In 2010, Sen. David Vitter, Republican from Louisiana, released a campaign ad that depicted a bunch of seedy-looking Mexicans, some with gang bandannas, slipping through a hole in a border fence to invade America.

In 2011, Rep. Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama, said of undocumented immigrants: “I will do anything short of shooting them” to make them stop “taking jobs from American citizens.”

That same year, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain vowed to build an electrified border fence that would shock Mexicans who sought to slip into the country.

In 2013, Rep. Steve King, Republican from Iowa, said that for every illegal immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, there are another hundred with “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they are drug mules.

Yet the party is shocked and offended by what Donald Trump said? Jeb Bush calls his recent comments on undocumented Mexican immigrants “extraordinarily ugly”? Sen. Marco Rubio finds them “not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive”? A major donor tells the Associated Press Trump should be excluded from the debates?

Beg pardon, but there is something rather precious in all this ostentatious umbrage. If you didn’t know better, you might forget that the GOP has sought votes for years by stoking fear and anger toward Mexicans who enter this country illegally. If you weren’t paying attention, you might not know that various Republican officials and pundits routinely characterize those people — most of them just dirt poor and trying to put bread on the table — as a disease-ridden invasion force of drug smugglers and gang members, not to mention pregnant women splashing across the Rio Grande in order to drop so-called “anchor babies” on U.S. soil.

This is not to say Trump’s words were not ugly. They were. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “…They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems [to] us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

But ugly as it was, Trump’s xenophobia broke no new ground. So you have to wonder at the pious denunciations it is generating. You’re tempted to say people are reacting like this because Trump was blunter than we are used to. On the other hand, there is nothing particularly subtle or ambiguous about threatening to shock Mexicans. Maybe folks weren’t paying attention before.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s comments came as he announced his intention to run for President of the United States, a nation whose last census found about 32 million of us identifying as Mexican-American (some, presumably, good people). Indeed, Mexican-Americans are far and away the largest group under the umbrella rubric “Hispanic.” All the Cuban-, Puerto Rican-, Argentinean-, and Spanish-Americans combined don’t equal the number of Mexican-Americans in this country. So when the GOP talks about “Hispanic” outreach, it is, in a very real sense, talking Mexican-American outreach. Yet this “outreach” seems always to be overshadowed by insult.

The party seems not to realize that you can’t have it both ways, can’t insult people, then ask them to vote for you. How telling is it that, even as party elders assure us his remarks don’t represent the GOP, Trump vaults to second place in the polling of Republican contenders? It’s a truth that gives the lie to these proclamations of mortal affront.

It’s hypocritical and unfair to put all this on Trump. He only repeated what his party’s been saying all along.


By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, July 8, 2015

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Hispanics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Hispanic Jeb vs Identity Politics”: The Most Damaging Gaffes Are The Ones That Reinforce A Preexisting Narrative

In case you haven’t heard, the New York Times is reporting that, ”In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled ‘race/ethnicity.’”

Native American Elizabeth Warren, meet Hispanic ¡Jeb!

What with all the serous news in Iran and Indiana, this might seem like a silly thing to talk about. Team Bush has responded to the story, and – based on this Tweet from Jeb Bush, Jr.  (which his dad Re-Tweeted) – the strategy appears to be to try to downplay the story by poking fun at it.

That might be there best hope, because there is potential this could turn into a big deal, electorally speaking. That’s because this kind of symbolic thing is easy to mock (see Elizabeth Warren) — and easier to understand — than some policy proposal.

The most damaging gaffes are the ones that reinforce a preexisting narrative about someone. A very vocal and activist segment of the Republican primary base is vehemently opposed to anything that looks like “amnesty,” and Jeb’s support for immigration reform already has him in hot water with this contingent of the GOP. This latest revelation is amnesty on steroids. It personalizes what was, heretofore, a policy story. Bush can now be portrayed as someone who has “gone native” with the amnesty gang, and is no longer “one of us.”

When Sen. Marco Rubio was pushing immigration reform, buttons started popping up branding him a “RINO” who wants “AMNISTIA.” The fact that these buttons looked similar to a Mexican flag, and featured Rubio wearing a sombrero, only added to the subtlety. Already, the New York Times and The Week (where I also write) have associated photos with stories about this topic showing Bush surrounded by mariachi bands and/or men wearing sombreros. Those are the mainstream outlets. Wait till the blogs get hold of this. (And don’t get me started on talk radio…)

Unless this gets fixed, the conservative base (which is decidedly and passionately opposed to immigration reform, and already hostile to Bush) will use this as a cudgel to relentlessly mock and attack Bush.

To a certain extent, they have a point: Bush’s cultural experience is far different from that of most Americans. I have no idea why he checked that box, but it is reasonable to say he’s married to a Latina, his kids are Hispanic, and he lives in an area where he can probably go till lunch before speaking anything other than Spanish. This is not to say he’s un-American, but it is to say he’s international and cosmopolitan, and really, to a lot of folks, that’s pretty much a distinction without a difference.

In reality, though, the difference is huge. As noted earlier, there will be comparisons to Sen. Warren. But Elizabeth Warren presumably benefited from her bogus Native American status. Bush had nothing to gain (and as it turns out, a lot to lose) by identifying as Hispanic.

Jeb’s political ideology is such that he doesn’t think anyone should benefit from identity politics — that merit, not ethnicity, is what should matter. Liberals like Warren believe that certain minority groups should get preferential treatment; Jeb, as a conservative, does not, and as such it doesn’t really matter what ethnicity he chooses to identify as. Heck, as Florida governor, Bush even went so far as to end affirmative action in the state.

As the New York Times reported in 2000:

“There is widespread support among whites for Mr. Bush’s program, which would end preferences for businesses owned by women and minorities in bidding for state contracts. And it would end college admissions preferences based on race, substituting a program guaranteeing admission to at least 1 of the 10 state universities for high school students who graduate in the top 20 percent of their class.”

Bush is wise to try and diffuse this with humor, but only time will tell if that works. This could still be politically damaging. But that doesn’t mean it should be. Jeb’s WASPy family background only makes this story more delicious, but practically speaking, he probably is culturally Hispanic, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. What we should be interested in is the fact that, as governor, he supported conservative policies, and has a long history of rejecting identity politics. For that, at least, we should be saying ¡Viva Jeb!


By: Matt Lewis, The Daily Beast, April 6, 2015

April 7, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, Hispanics, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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