For those of you with no doze who wish to see this 90 minute snoozefest, you can see the CSPAN video here.
I watched it. It was obvious. The Republicans are still scratching their heads wondering why they lost the 2008 Presidential election. None of them said anything new that will stir up the future vote.
Many of these RNC leaders are in a state of denial. They do not want to change. They do not want to understand why they lost the minority vote. They do not want to understand that unless they change their ways, they will never win a Presidential election again. They continue to stand by their mantra, "Our party stands for Family Values and Lower Taxes. We just had BAD Public Relations. We just need to communicate our message better. If we keep to our Core Values, the Voters, including minorities, will come." It is clear, the RNC is stuck in the 1980's, the Reagan Years.
As I wrote in November, Republicans did not receive the Latino Vote because they did not listen to our issues nor include Latinos in their agenda. In fact, during the "debate" the RNC Chairman candidates refused to touch one of the most sensitive and important issues facing us today, Immigration Reform. It was the elephant in the room. Wes Vernon from RenewAmerica.us agrees. In his recent column he said:
Picking up the pieces from the 2008 election is going to be an uphill climb as it is. Add to that an issue deemed so delicate that not one of the six candidates for Republican National Chairman dares utter a meaningful word about it during a 90-minute debate...
(Until) the dicey question came from Mario Lopez, President of the conservative Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF). Mr. Lopez was not being adversarial or trying to lay a trap for the would-be RNC chairman... His group favors a lot of things conservatives favor: lower taxes, entrepreneurship, and education reform, etc.
Lopez phrased the question and its preface this way: "In roughly 30 years, the United States will be a majority minority country, 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 every month, and by 2050, one in three Americans will of Hispanic descent. After significant gains with Hispanic voters — for example, President Bush 40 to 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 — harsh rhetoric from some Republicans (ANTIs) and the general lack of a real sustained commitment were large factors in dropping the GOP share of the Hispanic vote to 31% in 2008 and 27% in 2006. Given the demographic changes facing the country, do you agree with the notion that the Republican Party cannot be a governing majority ever again without expanding the base by bringing more Hispanics and other minorities into its ranks? If so, how do you plan to integrate these efforts into all aspects of party operations?"
What was not said: Notice that in his question, Mr. Lopez did not mention the "too hot to handle" issue at the bottom line of his political concerns: illegal immigration. But then, not one of the answers delivered by the six RNC chairman-hopefuls mentioned that issue either...
Ever since then (the failed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill), politicians in both parties have been treading on eggs over the issue...
In their responses, the candidates touched on several (other) issues on which Hispanic voters are in sync with the values of millions of other Americans and the conservative ethos: school choice, abortion, sanctity of the individual, limited government, "families empowered by choice in health care," safe streets, a good job for their children, etc....but still not a word about the underlying issue — again, illegal immigration (Comprehensive Immigration Reform).
Note: At this point Vernon goes on the typical rant against CIR without offering any recommendations for CIR or increasing the Latino or Minority Vote. I will leave it to viewers if they choose to read his rant or not. I guess he couldn't help himself. Then he utters the RNC's deathnell if they take his advice: " failing to include the issue of illegal immigration in polling questions sent to grassroots Republicans, possibly because of a belief that the answers would expose the unpopularity of the Bush administration's "open borders" policies — another sad chapter in the stupid party's longstanding death wish. That kind of pussyfooting or evasion of the issue will not do. The next RNC chairman should understand there is too much at stake."
In the end, it was Michael Steele who provided one of the most significant and telling responses of the "debate". In response to Mario Lopez's question he said, "Until we (including RNC State Chairmen) get outside of our comfort zones, put in face time (to NAACP and other minority organizations), then we won’t have to worry about a Hispanic face coming up and asking these questions." Well, he was two-thirds right. Not only do they need to get out of their comfort zones and put in face time, but they also have to have Hispanic faces not only asking questions, but being integral members of the RNC Leadership Team.