Republican demagogues like Newt Gingrich are always faced with the dilemma of how to deal with reality, which as Stephen Colbert suggests, has that nasty liberal bias. Their favorite trick in recent years has been simply to invert reality on its head -- turn victimizers and predators into victims, and vice versa, make up into down, wrong into right.
So last night on Greta Van Susteren's Fox show, Gingrich -- confronted with the cold reality that Latino voters are fleeing the GOP in droves, thanks to the Republicans' championing of racist laws the just-passed police-state-inducing SB1070 in Arizona -- decided it was all President Obama's fault:
Gingrich: Well, look, I assume that somewhere after he [Obama] attacked Arizona, engaged in what I think was a racist dialogue to try to frighten Latinos away from the Republican Party, stood next to the president of Mexico and said borders don't matter because we have strong bonds, had the president of Mexico get a standing ovation from Democrats for attacking an American state, and has his own State Department apologize to the Chinese for the Arizona law -- somewhere in that process his pollster came in and said, 'You know, maybe you're positioned a little bad on this issue.'
No doubt Gingrich had a look at the grim numbers:
For the Republican Party, politically, there's good news and bad news in our new NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll on the subject of immigration. Let's start with the good news: The Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, passed by a GOP-led legislature and signed by a GOP governor, has been a short-term political winner. The poll shows that 61% of the public supports the law, and a Republican congressional candidate who backs the law beats a Democratic candidate who opposes it, 40%-26%. But here's the bad news: Latinos, once a semi-swing group of voters, now have swung overwhelmingly for President Obama and the Democratic Party, and younger Hispanics are moving to the Democrats in even greater numbers."
*** Latinos aren’t swing voters anymore: For example, 68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping -- yet growing -- political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks), and
*** Dropping like a rock: It didn't use to be this way. In 2004, George W. Bush, the former governor of Texas, won some 40% of the Latino vote. But in 2006, that percentage for Republicans dropped to 30%, and it was 31% in '08. And check out these party identification averages among Latinos that our Hart (D)/McInturff (R) pollsters put together from our past NBC/WSJ polls; this chart puts together the YEARLY average of all Hispanics surveyed for each year (approximately 900 respondents are included in each yearly sample):
-- In 2004, Dems held a 22-point edge in party identification among Latinos (49%-27%)
-- In 2005, it was 24 points (48%-24%)
-- In 2006, it was 26 points (50%-22%)
-- In 2007, it was 30 points (52%-22%)
-- In 2008, it was 35 points (57%-22%)
-- In 2009, it was 31 points (50%-19%)
-- And so far in 2010, it has been 36 points (58%-22%).
See, Gingrich's problem is a real-world one: Every Latino voter in the country -- which is to, every Latino citizen -- who does not live in Arizona, and particularly anyone with an accent, knows full well that if they travel to Arizona, they'll need to bring their citizenship papers or birth certificate or some other certificate proving their citizenship -- otherwise they risk being caught up in a Kafkaesque law-enforcement and potentially deported.
Gingrich and the other defenders of SB1070 keep pointing to the fig leaf of the law's wording prohibiting racial profiling -- they don't want to cop to the realities of how police go about their work, which inevitably will mean that they will catch up Latino citizens in their snares.
These defenders keep claiming that only non-citizens are affected, because only they are required to carry their papers. But Latino citizens will constantly come under suspicion for being non-citizens, and their papers demanded of them too.
Latinos are perfectly cognizant of this reality. Which is why they're fleeing Gingrich's little up-is-down Bizarro World in droves.
See, in that Bizarro World, it's only "racist" when a Democrat decries racism. Otherwise, actual racism doesn't exist.