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- 04-22-2012, 12:01 PM #1
Ruben Navarrette: Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Obama and Romney)
Ruben Navarrette: Tweedledum and Tweedledee
President Obama and likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney will spend the next several months drawing contrasts and trying to convince voters that they have completely different political philosophies.
The irony is that the two are actually quite similar. Both are establishment candidates known for playing it safe and catching grief from extreme members of their party. And both are willing to turn themselves inside out to appeal to voters at the other end of the spectrum who typically escape them -- conservatives for Obama, liberals for Romney.
Even their "Hispanic outreach" efforts are alike. Both Obama and Romney are making a big show of the fact that they're pursuing Hispanic voters. And yet, given their awful records on the immigration issue, who do they think they are fooling?
All they bring are empty promises, flip-flops, half-truths and rhetorical sleights of hand.
As for Obama, his latest offering was skimpy, and it smelled like leftovers. In an interview with Spanish-language television network Univision, the president promised that he would pursue immigration reform once re-elected. Yet Obama would only go so far. "I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term," he said.
Let's remember that in 2008, Obama promised to make immigration reform a priority of his first term.
Whether he does anything or not, the president wants credit from Hispanics for trying.
Sure he does. Obama always treats Hispanics like he's doing us a favor. What other bloc of voters gets talked to this way? In politics, what matters is results; not good intentions. Besides, given that he has deported more than 1.2 million illegal immigrants, we're still not sure what Obama's true intentions are.
Note what the president went on to say: "The challenge we've got on immigration reform is very simple. I've got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I've got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it."
Seriously? The last time that Congress debated immigration reform compromise bills, in 2006 and 2007, there were almost two-dozen Republican senators who voted in favor of reform. It wasn't because they loved immigrants. It was because the GOP loves business, and business loves immigrants and their work ethic.
Meanwhile, Romney is just as bad. No sooner had the former Massachusetts governor gained the inside track on the nomination with the withdrawal of Rick Santorum from the primary race than he began to try to mend fences with Hispanics.
But who do you suppose tore down many of those fences? It was Mitt Romney. While on the stump during the primaries, Romney routinely antagonized Hispanics. He pledged to veto the DREAM Act, which would give legal status to illegal immigrants who go to college or join the military, and he called Arizona's immigration law a model for the nation. He also touted the endorsement of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who wrote language for laws such as Arizona's.
The new Romney is attempting to distance himself from Kobach, talking about how Republicans need to reach out to Hispanics, and filling key positions with individuals known to be supporters of comprehensive immigration reform.
Kobach calls himself an "adviser" to the Romney campaign. But recently, the campaign told Politico that the anti-illegal-immigration crusader is merely a "supporter." Kobach insists his role has not changed. Maybe not. Then what he should be worried about is why the Romney campaign wants people -- especially Hispanics -- to think otherwise.
According to NBC News, Romney told supporters at an April 15 fundraiser in Palm Beach, Fla., that "we have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party" because otherwise it "spells doom for us." He told the crowd that a "Republican DREAM Act" -- which offers legal status but not a direct path to citizenship -- might do the trick.
Romney has also hired Republican strategist Ed Gillespie as a senior adviser to help with "messaging" and "overall strategy." As a moderate and a proponent of Hispanic outreach by the GOP who served as an adviser to George W. Bush when the White House was trumpeting comprehensive immigration reform, Gillespie is one of the good guys.
Obama and Romney. What a pair. All they need for their Hispanic outreach efforts to be successful is for those voters to be long on trust and short on memory.
source: Ruben Navarrette: Tweedledum and Tweedledee | Indianapolis Star | indystar.comU.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!