Republican convention speakers all took their turns in the spotlight but no one actually talked Latino policy — least of all Latino GOPers like Susana Martínez, Rubio and Cruz, who spouted triumphalist patriotic narratives about immigrants and neglected to mention that their party’s platform actually uses the term “illegal alien” to discuss today’s undocumented and says they “pose great risk to the safety and sovereignty of the United States.”
In the effort to avoid today’s undesirable Latinos by forging a likeable immigrant past, even Romney twisted his own heritage around for immigrant roots. “My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution,” Romney said, making it sound like his father was Mexican instead of a white American Mormon living in a polygamous colony of ex pats. “I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the U.S. government as war refugees.” (That second part — the one about being fed by the government — what that really means is that the Romneys accepted food stamps and other federal aid.)
Then Monday, while Romney was hanging out at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and his handlers were hanging their new feel good Latino video on YouTube, another video was released, a so-called “secret video” never meant to be aired.
In it, Romney talks to a friendly audience at a private fundraiser about Obama’s supporters being deadbeats who don’t pay taxes, don’t take responsibility for themselves and depend on government assistance. Late Monday night, Romney held a press conference and stood by what he said.
In the video, Romney didn’t talk about immigration, or education, or, frankly, the economy and unemployment and how it might effect Latinos either. But he did address Hispanics by saying this: “My dad, as you probably, know was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this … I mean I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”
Pretty funny, eh?