Rep. Luis Gutierrez used his time on the House floor Thursday to reintroduce Republicans to Latino voters, and did it in a way that was at once humorous but also sent a message that they can no longer afford to duck the very real issue of immigration reform.
I enjoyed this part, in particular:
I’ve been trying to introduce my colleagues in the Republican Party to real Latinos and immigrants for some time. I’ve worked on bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bills and stayed at the table to work out a compromise even when all the Republicans left the table.
But the Republican Party seemed much more interested in the imaginary Latinos they tried to use as a wedge issue. So they crafted messages aimed at the very few Americans who are not offended when Republicans talk about criminals, gang-bangers, freeloaders, and law-breakers whenever they talk about Latinos and immigrants.
The party nominated a Presidential candidate who carried around a to-do list of creative ways to offend Latinos. Call for more than 10 million people and their families to “self-deport?” Check. Celebrate the extreme Arizona approach to immigration laws? Check. Threaten to veto the DREAM Act and let hundreds of thousands of young people who have applied for Deferred Action fear for their future? Check.
Stand with other Republicans and beg for their endorsement when they have called for electrified fencing to keep out immigrants because, quote "that works on livestock"? Check, check and check.
I believe Election Day was check-mate for the Republican Party’s extreme, unfair and intolerant anti-immigrant policies.
You have to watch to get the full impact of his sarcasm.
The GOP is in a difficult spot. On the one hand, they've got a party full of racists who are threatening secession because the black guy got re-elected. On the other, they're dealing with a demographic reality that threatens to make them irrelevant if they go with the racists and ignore everyone else.
Bobby Jindal is already posturing for his run in 2016, coming out hard against Mitt Romney's claim that Obama won because he gave "gifts" to students, women and minorities. Wednesday he spoke out against Romney's claims at a meeting of Republican governors, saying "[Republicans] have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent."
Slow clap for Bobby, but I don't see him getting the GOP establishment very excited with those statements.
Here's a prediction: Immigration reform will be an item on the 2013 Congressional agenda, and if they actually manage to make any progress on it, there will be town hall meetings in the summer of 2013 that exceed the madness of 2009's health care town halls. The only good thing about this will be that the crazed nativists in this country will be exposed and named where they once may have hidden in the shadows.
Fox News will predictably fearmonger about the "illegals" and how awful it is that they might have a way to citizenship, Sean Hannity will "evolve" back to his usual hating, and the oligarchs will fund the whole thing.
With that prediction in mind, I would invite every voter who stepped up on November 6th to be ready to step up and be heard again, to be committed to fighting the right-wing hysteria that will inevitably appear at the mere mention of serious efforts on immigration reform.
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