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March 10, 2003

GOP Attack on Estrada Opponents Backfires

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is one of the largest Hispanic organizations in the country. And they've remained neutral in the whole Estrada fight.

But the GOP made a mistake thinking that assaults on Democrats as "racists" would move undecided latinos their way, especially since those assaults have included the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) which has strongly opposed Estrada.

Here is the NCLR's recent press release:

One can disagree on the merits of issues; in fact, NCLR does not share the CHCís position on this particular issue. But it is inappropriate to question the Caucusí commitment to the Hispanic American community...

Who else, for example, but the Hispanic members of Congress would repeatedly raise with President Bush the key Latino issue of earned legalization for hardworking immigrants? Who else but the Hispanic Caucus worked diligently for years to secure a stamp honoring one of the Latino civil rights movementís greatest heroes, Cesar Chavez? Who else but the Caucus would know that over half of the workers who rebuilt the Pentagon in record time were Latino immigrants and introduce a Congressional resolution to honor them? And who else but the CHC would lead the successful effort to restore the nutritional safety-net to hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants? Who else but the Hispanic members of Congress would serve as the leaders and core supporters for these initatives and many others?

What NCLR is highlighting is that the Hispanic community is not some one-trick constituency that will be fooled by nominating a rich Honduran lawyer into ignoring the real issues that matter to their community-- legalization, fighting poverty, honoring labor leaders like Chavez -- which the GOP oppose almost across the board.

If played subtly, the Estrada issue might have had some marginal gain for the GOP in the Hispanic community. But by harping on the ridiculous idea that Democrats, especially Hispanic Democrats, were "racists", they overplayed their hand and made themselves just look mean and hypocritical.

To repeat, How dumb could the GOP be?

Posted by Nathan at March 10, 2003 07:29 AM

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