Establishment Republicans -- the business-friendly wing of the party -- have been trying to talk a good game when it comes to Latino voters -- their ruling Neanderthal Nativist wing notwithstanding. Now they're out hustling to convince
January 15, 2011

[Video courtesy of America's Voice: H/t Maria and Jackie]

Establishment Republicans -- the business-friendly wing of the party -- have been trying to talk a good game when it comes to Latino voters -- their ruling Neanderthal Nativist wing notwithstanding. Now they're out hustling to convince Latinos that they really should vote Republican -- kinda like the way all good chickens should go vote for Colonel Sanders.

Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich are out leading the charge, as it were:

But Republicans overall still lost the Hispanic vote nationwide by about 2-1 — not much different than in 2008.

Bush wants to change that. "The challenge, though, is that we have a situation right now where Republicans send out signals that Hispanics aren't wanted in our party, not by policy so much as by tone," he says.

But it's more than just the tone. It's one issue in particular, says Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and a participant in Thursday's conference in Miami.

"Latinos are inherently conservative: They're socially conservative; they are entrepreneurial; they're pro-business. Immigration ... is that one issue that prevents us from winning the support of Latino voters," he says.

Yeah, if only they didn't have the people running the party right now out there demanding we alter the Constitution in order to deny Latino children their birthright citizenship.

But in realituy, gingrich of course talks out of both sides of his mouth, defending Arizona's SB1070 while trying to do Latino outreach. Similarly, Jeb is in denial about just how deeply in their thrall Republicans really are:

Even though anti-immigrant voices seem to be getting louder inside the Republican Party, Jeb Bush is convinced that they do not speak for most on the right.

"That view is in the minority even in the Republican Party," he says. "But, I think if you got to the point where legitimate, emotional concerns about the lack of border security and the lack of rule of law, once those issues subsided, then you would find a great majority of people that would support some solution to the large number of people that are here illegally."

One of the Republicans speaking out and pushing them to abandon their delusions has been conservative Latino columnist Ruben Navarette:

Columnist Ruben Navarrette, who is also speaking at the conference in Miami, says there is a new conversation going on beneath the surface in the GOP — particularly when it comes to the push by some Republicans to repeal the 14th Amendment in order to deny birthright citizenship to children born to undocumented parents.

"They're not fools — they realize that there are those places where they can overplay their hand, and I think the 14th Amendment change is a perfect example of a bridge too far," Navarrette says. "It's poison. You play with that, and I am never, ever going be able to go before a group of Hispanic women ... and convince them that the Republican Party isn't anything but a bunch of ogres."

Indeed. This weekend at the big shindig for GOP Hispanics he had the same message, as Frank Sharry blogged yesterday:

Early in the day, Bush stated:

It would be incredibly stupid [for the Republican Party] to ignore the burgeoning Hispanic vote.

Given the anti-immigrant rhetoric that emanates from so many GOP leaders these days, however, it won’t be a simple matter to win these voters back.

As a new America’s Voice memo makes clear, Republican leadership is stuck in a deep rut of denial and inflexibility when it comes to Latino outreach and their party’s position on immigration. They seem to think that taking up kinder, gentler “rhetoric” and reaching out on “common values”—instead of revisiting their party’s extreme immigration policies—will do the trick.

One panelist at the conference, conservative syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, made this very point quite passionately at this afternoon’s panel on media and messaging. From a live blog of the conference:

Update - 2:55 PM: Navarrette: "If you come away thinking that this is all about language and tone, you will miss the point... You are always going to be number 2... The problem is not the tone. It is the message itself—it is offensive, racist. You’ve got to fix the product.” […]

Commentator Alex Castellanos, Sr. disagrees. He appears to believe that a majority of Latinos agree with the Republican Party on immigration policy.

Helen Aguirre disagrees with Castellanos: "Jeb Bush is the only one who challenged Tom Tancredo. If the [majority of the] Republican Party disagrees but keeps quiet…"

Ruben Navarrette argued that the GOP has a track record on immigration that:

1. Deals with immigration dishonestly
2. Caters to that ugly element of racism -- "nativism/racism is in the bloodstream"
3. Offers "solutions" that ignore the problem.

Navarrette cites the fight to repeal the 14th Amendment and Arizona's SB1070 as two examples of false solutions on immigration.

Lotsa luck to these folks. They're going to need it: The GOP in reality is in the deep thrall of the Tea Partiers, who are some of the most mouth-foaming and nasty nativists in the country.

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