After long years of fomenting hate and distrust of Hispanics as a political strategy, and following their recent failure to prevent them from voting, Republicans have decided that they actually just want to be pals. Heck, some of their best friends are Latino, or at least half Latino. And while you might think that there’s little common ground between the angry, divisive social conservatives and one of the groups they’ve traditionally victimized, Gary Bauer believes he’s found some: Intolerance.
This week, on CNN’s State of the Union, Bauer was part of a panel discussing the causes of Mitt Romney’s failure to defeat Barack Obama. Carlos Gutierrez, former Secretary of Commerce and head of Romney’s ‘Hispanic Outreach Committee,’ stated:
“I would lay the blame squarely on the far-right wing of the Republican Party.” Regarding the Latino vote, he added, “They were scared of the anti-immigration talk. They were scared of xenophobes. It’s almost as if we’re living in the past.”
As president of the far-right American Values, a ‘non-profit’ group dedicated to preventing people from being allowed to make choices that are nobody else’s concern; Bauer disagreed with the only Hispanic on the panel.
“There’s been research done on Hispanic voters on what motivates them.”
Am I alone in finding that an intensely creepy statement? De-humanizing and insensitive? It’s as though he was discussing laboratory rats, rather than a huge segment of the American people. Maybe it’s the callous reduction of people – to what their value is to the GOP agenda – that has allowed Mitt Romney the time to work on his tan for real, this time.
Gutierrez felt the far-right of the party, and their demonizing of nearly everyone else’s lifestyles, was bad for the party. Former Republican candidate, John Huntsman, agreed:
People don’t want to be moralized to, they don’t want to be lectured to…It’s about how we talk about those values and principles. As a father of seven, married for 30 years, people can see the way I live my life, I don’t need to sit there and rub it in people’s faces.
But Bauer believes that with the proper nurturing, Republicans can take the seed of Latinos’ regard for family and make it blossom into useful homophobia.
“The research also shows that Hispanics are overwhelmingly pro-life and pro-family. You’re suggesting that we drop issues that we might have the best chance to appeal to those voters about.”
And of course, polling (or “research on Hispanics,” if you prefer) shows the dead opposite. Sixty percent of Latinos responding to an NBC poll felt favorably about marriage equality. Which is another reason why they came out so strongly for Democrats in this election cycle.
But really, what was Gary Bauer going to do? Admit he’s the problem? He’s built a fund-raising empire out of marginalizing other people; it’s given him the political position to discuss the direction our country will take with the players in the Republican party. The use of fear-mongering and hatefulness that the Republicans have embraced for so long now may have increased their numbers, but like an athlete gaining weight for power, it has made them slower and less agile. Too bloated for the marathon that is American politics.
A reliable bellwether in predicting the future successes of the GOP will be how many more panel discussions people like Bauer are invited to attend.
You can see the whole video here: