Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Our Long National Nightmare is just beginning

CNN Commentary by Ruben Navarrette Jr.:Commentary: Immigration is a key test for Democrats

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- In the 1980s, San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros helped convene a gathering of Hispanic leaders to christen the time in which they were living: the Decade of the Hispanic.
That summit was ahead of its time. Yet, two decades later, it's clear we've embarked on something grander: the Century of the Hispanic.

Congressional Republicans obviously didn't get the memo. If they had, they may not been so eager to use the immigration debate to try to score points at the expense of the nation's largest minority.

That didn't work out so well. And it's just one reason why -- when the new Congress convenes this week -- Republicans will be in the smaller offices while Democrats bask in the power that comes from being in the majority.

In the last election, Hispanics lit into the Republican Party like a swarm of 7-year-olds tearing into a piƱata.

Nearly 7 out of 10 Hispanic voters shunned the GOP and tossed their support across the aisle. Democrats earned 69 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared with 30 percent for the GOP.

Conservatives don't want to hear this, but some of the pummeling that Republicans got from Hispanics was payback for the immigration hard-line taken by House Republicans.

.......Polls taken before the election described immigration as a "motivator" for Hispanics and one reason many of them were enthusiastic about voting.

Well first off the best the Republicans have ever done with the Hispanic vote is about 40-45% (Bush 04), typically it runs about 35%, So we're talking 5, on the outside 15, points of less than 10% off the vote. The Republicans are never going to outdo the Democrats on the issue so it's hard to see them ever moving beyond 40% of the Hispanic vote. Second, the idea here is "if you enforce the law on members of my tribe I will vote against you". This brilliant "identity politics trumps all" philosophy is fresh from Iraq where it has been such a force for good over the past couple years. Oh boy, what laws does Mr. Navarette propose to exempt Hispanics from next? Does every race get to pick a few laws (5? 10?) to be exempt from...or else? We can look forward to all sorts of wonderful fallout (pun intended) from the collapse of Border Security the parties seem intent on inflicting on the nation.

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