September 9, 2007


GOP candidates snub Univision (Gebe Martinez, Sep 9, 2007, Politico)

When Fox News and other English-language television networks extended presidential debate invitations earlier this year, Republican and Democratic primary candidates asked for the details.

But when Univision–the Spanish-language network with the top-rated local newscast in 16 media markets–scheduled an historic GOP debate on Latino issues for Sept. 16 in Miami, a week after a similar forum for Democrats, only Arizona Sen. John McCain accepted.

What’s worse, in the eyes of national Hispanic leaders and progressives who are keeping count, this is the third time in recent months that Republican presidential candidates have dissed the fastest-growing part of the electorate by passing up chances to address Latinos’ concerns about the Iraq war, health care, the economy and immigration.

...or is the GOP just so ideologically blind that it wants to alienate Latinos as badly as it has blacks?

His Task: Sell Hispanics on GOP: Immigration Conflict Puts Sen. Martinez in Tough Position (Jose Antonio Vargas, September 9, 2007, Washington Post)

For many in the country's fastest-growing segment of the electorate, Sen. Mel Martinez is the face of the Republican Party.

The Florida senator was handpicked by President Bush to become the first Hispanic chairman of the Republican National Committee, and when Univision announced its plans to sponsor groundbreaking Spanish-language forums for the presidential hopefuls -- one for Democrats, the other for Republicans -- Martinez was thrilled. The largest Spanish-language U.S. television network and the fifth-largest overall, Univision is MTV, ESPN and CNN rolled into one for millions of Latinos.

"I think that to have candidates address the largest minority group in America would be a terrific thing," Martinez said in June, "and to do it on a network that the Hispanic community of America watches would be the right forum."

Sadly, he's not the face of the party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2007 8:24 AM

I agree that this seems unwise. Let us measure the cause.

I submit that the history of the United States necessarily puts us at odds with the unreformed Black, Hispanic and Native American. The freedoms we prize grew out of our manifest destiny to wrest the land from the not-folk and to preserve our domestic institutions.

Thus we formed a government weak against ourselves, and strong against the other--limited against the inteests of the folk and democratic enough to have the power of the state follow the trekkers-forth into the lands of the other.

And now the mystery.

The beauty of our way is that we lift our lamp beside the golden door not just to the world at large, but even to the one-time folk-enemies.
They are welcome, anxiously welcome, as Americans, but not as revanchist aliens.

I am sure that someone or other on these pages has heretofore expressed the opinion that the immigration issue was a coalition-busting issue for both parties, but much more toxic to the Republicans. What could Republican candidates say to Latinos, that they are all four-square behind open borders and full amnesty?

Of course they could no more do so than they could endorse a perpetual racial spoils system of repartation and so-called "affirmative action."

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 9, 2007 9:57 AM

Martinez has done the unthinkable, he's surpassed Biden as the dumbest senator extant today.

Posted by: erp at September 9, 2007 9:58 AM

We also slaughtered the Natives, enslaved blacks an d practice racism against various immigrant peoples. That should have consequences but the Right insists on eschewing responsibility.

Posted by: oj at September 9, 2007 12:59 PM

Consequences for whom? You imply the legitimacy of Jihad against the people of the wagon-train, not too unlike bin Laden, I should say..

This misses the point. The system which sprang from the founding is the best for everyone. The Novus Ordo Seclorum is better for whites, blacks, Indians, immigrants and non-immigrants. It had been a fantastic trick which freedom played on evil. We set up a system striking a perfect balance of liberty and strength, in part to preserve the liberty to act badly.

It took many readings and re-readings of Russel Kirk to understand this. How can one be a conservative, a young conservative asked himself, when the history of his country was what it was, and when our institutions arose as they did?

The answer is that the preservation and extension of our system is squarely for the common good in the world of the here and now. All those folk we had rolled over are the present beneficiaries of their past discontents.

Is America a better place to live than Africa? than Mexico? Is it not the hope of Africans and Mexicans to come here?

Now if the weir-geld, the blood-money, is to be paid, how are we to apportion the Sippenhaft, the clan-punishment? Who gets paid and who gets to pay? Are West-Indian and Liberian immigrants counted as blacks or as whites? What about decendants of "praying" Indians who Medized to the white world in the Seventeenth Century? What do we say about the slave-holding Indians who fought for the Confederacy?

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 9, 2007 5:49 PM

Sorry, I have to disagree. Pitching politics based on ethnic factionalism is pernicious.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 9, 2007 9:34 PM

Ideologically blind? Nah, just wise to the ways of any media operation that wants to act as a gatekeeper -- and I can't think of any stronger a gate than langauge.

Just saw a crawl on FNC about "candidates not fluent in Spanish" objecting to allowing those who are to respond directly in Spanish. Presumably these are Democrats, and I can't say I blame them. Who wants to be known as "the gringo(s) who won't speak to me in my langauge"? (And apparently DK, the Giant of Cleveland, has "committed" to making Spanish the nation's 2nd language. Why? Justice for Urdu, I say! Refuse to speak the language in which our nation's origins and laws are written! That'll really help bind us together as one people!)

Imagine a Republican candidate being asked, in translated Spanish, about the problems of poverty. As true as the standard responses about social and economic mobility in this country are, the translated version will likely leave the Hispanophone listener vaguely dissatisfied -- because in his language, poverty and wealth have connotations of permanence that English doesn't carry. And that's in the best of all possible worlds, with good will on all sides and no on-the-fly translation errors. Then recall that, as more pure Hispanophones learn English and become even marginally more assimilated, Univision's gatekeeper function dwindles and its cultural offerings become less popular. Como se dice "falling ratings and profitability" en Espanol? Whatever the language, gatekeepers may lose control, but they never surrender it willingly.

Posted by: porkopolitan at September 9, 2007 10:44 PM

Which is why Jeb should be running.

Posted by: oj at September 9, 2007 11:10 PM


You really need to work on a political campaign. Why do you think Reagan kicked off in Philadelphia, MS?

Posted by: oj at September 9, 2007 11:14 PM

Jihad is legitimate, just ineffective. The Crusade works better. It's the failure to recognize your fellow crusaders because of their race that's counterproductive.

Posted by: oj at September 9, 2007 11:18 PM

OJ, Reagan probably kicked off the '80 campaign in Phila., Miss, because Trent Lott knew someone relatively high-up in Reagan's inner circle and thought it'd be a good idea to get Philadelphia, Miss some good publicity.

And I've worked on political campaigns (in South Dakota). We knew just the right code words to use against the local Lakota population, much like the "states rights" words used by Reagan. Much like Reagan, we never once apologized, and no one would have believed us if we did so.

Posted by: Brad S at September 10, 2007 7:47 AM

And you made all the trips--to the Columbus Day parade and the St. Patrick's day parade, etc. Retail politics is all about ethnic kowtowing, as in your racist appeals to whites against the Natives. Racism is excellent politics if it wins you elections. It's bad politics if it costs you elections.

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2007 8:18 AM

Careful, OJ: SoDak celebrate Native American Day in place of Columbus Day. While officials always made good-sounding platitudes about "reconciliation" with the Lakota, the underground snark about certain "behaviors" "associated" with the Lakota was ramped up!

Still doesn't invalidate your general point about political campaigns, though.

Posted by: Brad S at September 10, 2007 9:27 AM


Let's grant for a moment the doubtful premise that Reagan was personally animated by racism in doing that -- Are you saying it's okay?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 10, 2007 2:10 PM

Okay? No. Good politics? Yes. Bill Clinton attacking Sista Soulja to Jesse's face was the same thing, letting folks know he was a Southerner, not a Democrat.

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2007 5:48 PM


Practical politics is the vehicle through which we put ideas into effect. Excepting very unusual circumstances, it's no good to say that you ought to appeal to bad instincts in order to win. This is particularly true for conservatives, who are supposed to have standards.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 10, 2007 7:41 PM

From whence are you deriving "ought"? We're speaking of is.

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2007 8:31 PM

My Grandpa is a nonagenarian who was born and raised and has lived in Arizona since the 1910's. And he's always heard Spanish used there as well as English.

This isn't a matter of giving special dispensation to Spanish as one would to, say, Armenian or Urdo or whatever. Spanish has been an American language since the old days of the war against Mexico. It's always been in use around here, this election is no different.

I'm independent but I tend to lean Republican-- nevertheless, methinks this is much ado about nothing. Spanish really isn't a foreign tongue around these parts, and neither party should have any reservations about conducting a debate in Spanish.

The GOP are only shooting themselves in the foot by not participating in the Univision debate. The issues that they bring up there, on things like education and terrorism, translate just as well in Spanish as in any other language.

Honestly, it's just dumb to make an issue out of language at all, that's a French thing to do. Just talk about the relevant issue in any language-- Sioux, English, Spanish, whatever. Those are all original languages in the USA and all deserve respect.

Posted by: Marvinus at September 11, 2007 9:27 AM