The GOP has some splainin’ to do to the Latino Community

22 Jun

I was just thinking back yesterday to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and then I ran into this story about how Sotomayor still receives gift from fans in the public.

While I have not (yet) sent Justice Sotomayor a gift, I confess that on the day of President Obama’s announcement of her appointment, I was a kind of giddy that would have been embarrassing had anybody witnessed it.  Leaving the gym early that morning, I stopped in a shopping mall parking lot, pulled out my laptop and watched the announcement online. When she talked about her mom and the cameras panned to her–well, yes, I kind of lost it.

A hero to many in the Latino community, Justice Sotomayor still receives gifts from the public.

I’ve been thinking back to Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing this week, watching the slow-motion train wreck that has been the Romney campaign and the Republican Party’s reactions to President Obama’s dramatic announcement last week granting relief to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings were covered by Latino media the way, back in the day, everyone else covered the O.J. Trial. And, although all the pundits agreed that her confirmation was certain, the Latino public nonetheless saw Sotomayor being grilled by a small group of Senators as some kind of crazy radical.

Senator Tom Coburn, confronting Sotomayor about her supposed extremism, dug deep into the synapses of his small brain where he houses Latino stereotypes and pulled up – who else? – Ricky Ricardo!  Sonia, he said, “you have some splainin’ to do.”

And some in the GOP wonder why their brand is so damaged in the Latino community?

During the primary, Sotomayor was a favorite punching bag for Romney. He criticized Rick Santorum for his 1996 vote to confirm Sotomayor to a federal circuit court and was so tone deaf as to even criticize Sotomayor, the boricua Justice, when on a campaign stop in Puerto Rico (where he also encouraged Puerto Ricans to speak English).

President Obama’s Announcement, Romney at NALEO y la Baladada de Marco Rubio

I looked to Univisión yesterday to see how they were covering Mitt Romney’s much touted address to NALEO – the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials – and the headline says it all. “Romney changes tone but offers little substance.”

Although his campaign promised that the NALEO speech would finally bring details to his immigration policy, Mr. Romney couldn’t even bring himself to say whether he would reverse President Obama’s order to halt the deportations of young immigrants. But we know Romney is between a rock and hard place. Congressional Republicans have lined up against Obama’s policy, making it easier for the President to get full credit from the Latino community –new poll shows the President up big with Latinos in swing states–and impossible for Mitt to speak with any clarity.

No one’s felt the GOP Latino Multiple Personality Disorder more than the Senator from Florida, el pobrecito Marco Rubio.

First, when Mr. Romney turned to the Senator’s Dream Act Lite idea to explain his non-position on the day of the Obama announcement, some said Mr. Rubio’s VP chances had risen.

Then came news that Marquito was not being vetted.

It was awkward timing for that story to get out, given that immigration was the topic of the week.  So Romney backtracked and assured everyone that el Senador was definitely being vetted. Totally.

But wait – then news got out of a super exclusive retreat with the Romney campaign that included a sleep-over for all the potential V.P. candidates. But someone forgot to invite Marco!

As we say in Puerto Rico, Pobre, Marco – lo tienen del tingo al tango.

Maybe the Senator can put in a call to Sonia to ask for some sisterly advice:

Óyeme, Sonia, how did you put up with these guys?”

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