According to a May 8 article in the Washington Post, Bettina Inclan, the Republican National Committee's Director of Hispanic Outreach, is having problems answering questions about Willard "Mitt" Romney's position on immigration.
To start with, the idea that the RNC could have someone with this title at all is utterly ludicrous. The only thing one could think of that would be more absurd than this would be for Iranian President Ahmedinejad to appoint a minister for Jewish community relations, for Russian President Putin to appoint a minister for promoting independent private businesses, or for the Chinese government to appoint a minister for human rights (unless there already is one - anything may be possible in China).
So it is no surprise that, now that the Republicans have finally realized that Hispanic US citizens actually vote, and that their votes could make an important difference in this fall's election (despite the attempts of over a dozen states with Republican legislatures to keep them from voting through discriminatory voter ID laws) the Republicans are desperately trying to come up with a strategy to overcome the 47 point lead that President Obama has among Hispanic voters according to the polls.
According to Ms. Inclan's statements to the media, and those of other Republican spokespersons, the heart of this strategy is to try to make the immigration issue go away by convincing Hispanic voters that they don't really care about immigration because they are Americans, and, hey! the economy is a lot more important anyway. Curious, but I have never heard of a campaign by either party to convince Irish-American voters that Irish immigration is of no concern to them.
But when questions from journalists at Ms. Inclan's press conference made it clear that no amount of condescending to America's Hispanic communities could make the immigration issue go away, she made the amazing, but essentially accurate statement that Romney is "still deciding what his position on immigration is". An even more accurate statement might be that Willard is still deciding what his positions on immigration will be, since he will no doubt have a different one for every day between now and election day, depending on which audience that one of the most unprincipled presidential candidates in modern history wants to play up to at any given moment.
But in the face of this Republican effort to carry hypocrisy almost to the point of comedy, Obama is a very soft target.indeed. Inclan was able, correctly, to point out that the president has already deported more people than any other president in American history.
So what is President Obama's response to this? It is to point out that, based on his statements during the Republican primary, Romney would deport even more people. Also true, and anyone planning to vote Republican this fall or to vote for a third party or stay home (which would amount to the same thing as voting Republican) had better believe this.
But is there not something fundamentally repulsive about this battle of the hypocrites? Not only Hispanics, but all Americans who believe in equality, tolerance, and racial justice, need to call both presidential candidates out on their cynical pandering to anti-immigrant bigotry.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years