Several months back, the Democrats had a bilingual panderfest hosted by Spanish-language network Univision.
The fact that only Tancredo understood that pandering was a bad idea tells us more about the state of the GOP than it does about Tom Tancredo. As he explained the day before the forum:
"It is the law that to become a naturalized citizen of this country you must have knowledge and understanding of English, including a basic ability to read, write, and speak the language. So what may I ask are our presidential candidates doing participating in a Spanish speaking debate? Bilingualism is a great asset for any individual, but it has perilous consequences for a nation. As such, a Spanish debate has no place in a presidential campaign." [Tancredo: GOP Candidates 'Pandering' At Spanish-Language Debate The Denver Channel.Com Dec. 8th, 2007]
Patriotic Americans of Hispanic descent don't need to host a Panderfest, because they vote for candidates based on what they think is good for the country—not just for their ethnic faction.
The existence of a Univision-sponsored "debate"–really a managed forum—implies that Hispanics have separate interests from other Americans.
If they don't, what's the point of this pandering?
If they do, maybe somebody should spell out just how Hispanic interests are different from American interests.
Furthermore, does Jorge Ramos, a Mexican citizen, have any business being one of the moderators of an American political debate?
Would Mexico allow an American journalist—Lou Dobbs, say—to moderate a Mexican political debate?
To ask the question is to answer it. Here in Mexico, we foreigners are forbidden by law to meddle in Mexican politics, even by marching in a demonstration.
Mexican Jorge Ramos, on the other hand, is an open promoter of the transformation of the United States into a Latin American country. Ramos predicts that transformation will be complete within a century , and if present trends continue, he's right. [100 Dias Para La Boda, JorgeRamos.com, May 14, 2007]
Of course, he's doing his part to bring such a transformation about. But maybe American citizens, and not just blond Mexican anchormen should have a say in the matter.
In an interview several months back, Ramos gloated that
"…all the time we [Hispanics] are more numerous, richer, all the time we gain more acquisitive [sic—or maybe not] power, all the time we are stronger politically, and all the time we are taking over the United States more…I think that the growth of the Latino Community is unstoppable, but there is much to correct, especially, the cases of rejection and persecution against other Latinos, but we're doing well, definitely." [Jorge Ramos y el libro que lo hizo llorar. Nuevo Siglo, August 24, 2007
This is the arrogant activist whom the seven Republican presidential candidates came to pay their respects to.
And Ramos was certainly pleased that they participated. After the Republican forum he said
"This forum couldn't have occurred twenty years ago. They [the candidates] are obliged to speak about Hispanic subjects. And the fact that they have come is because they know that they need the Hispanic vote."["Sin el voto hispano, no llegan," Univision Online December 10, 2007]
Shame on these seven candidates for not understanding this: John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul.
And bravo to Tom Tancredo.
Thanks in large part to Tom Tancredo's dogged pursuit of the topic, now even candidates like John McCain are trying to sound tough on the border. And yet it was the consensus of the mainstream media that the Republican candidates played down their get tough policy to—well—pander to Jorge Ramos and Univision:
You can read the forum transcript here.
Hispanic triumphalism was in evidence from the very beginning of the forum, as Jorge Ramos's gushing introduction declared that
"For the first time, seven of the Republican candidates are going to participate tonight in a Spanish forum. This is the opportunity they have to speak directly to 44 million Hispanics, especially to (inaudible) potential Hispanic voters."
Which implies that the candidates can't appeal to Americans of Hispanic descent without their message being filtered by Univision.
Ramos also attributed exaggerated powers to the Hispanic Vote:
"It's important because, as the presidential election of 2008 is going to be tight, the Hispanic vote could decide who will be the next president of the United States. Things have changed so much in this country that no candidate [inaudible] can reach the White House without the Hispanic vote."
Check out Steve Sailer's articles debunking this claim
Or for the shorter, less technical version, the late Sam Francis's So Who Really Needs the Hispanic Vote Anyway?
The questions were loaded, of course. The first was about "declining support among Hispanics for Republicans".
Mike Huckabee blamed Republicans for not pandering enough:
"If the Republicans only got 30 percent of the vote, somehow we didn't do a very good job of communicating that that's what we would provide in terms of opportunity and fairness."
McCain blamed "the rhetoric that many Hispanics hear about illegal immigration" which "makes some of them believe that we are not in favor nor seek the support of the Hispanic citizens in this country."
Duncan Hunter started talking about the Bay of Pigs in 1961, and El Salvador in the 1980s. (Hey, Duncan—those are interesting topics. They might get the attention of Cuban-Americans in Miami. But most Hispanics are Mexicans who don't give a hoot about the Bay of Pigs or Central America. In fact, Mexican activists resent Cuban influence.)
Candidates were also asked if they were "taking a risk" by appearing at the forum. That's funny, it took more guts for Tancredo to stay away from the event than for them to attend it.
Mitt Romney called for pandering: "Republicans are going to come and speak to Hispanic Americans in the language they understand best, so we can get their votes and they can understand that we are the party of strength and the party of freedom."
Rudy Giuliani said that "Hispanic Americans are Americans, just as much as all other Americans. They have the same values, the same interests."
(Well, if that's true, why pander to them? Why have a special forum for them, translated into a foreign language?)
Then Huckabee got going again, and said that if he had refused to appear on stage "It would insult every voter in the country".
The Huckster even thanked his hosts for allowing him to grovel: "And I want to say thanks for letting us have this audience on Univision."
On the question of Official English, McCain said he wanted English used by all Americans.
(So why was he at this Spanish language forum then?)
Ron Paul said all federal business should be in English, but made a weird pop psychology diagnosis: "I sometimes think that those who attack bilingualism sometimes are jealous, and we feel inferior, because we're not capable."
(Why did he say that?)
The GOP candidates were asked what should be done with the illegal aliens in the country.
Giuliani said we should first get control of the border, then get a tamper-proof ID for the illegals who are in the country (amnesty, in other words). The only people Giuliani would kick out would be the people who don't show up to claim their amnesty!
Huckabee too, though he denied it, seems to support a form of amnesty as long as the illegals go home first. And he wants a guest worker program which is fast and easy to get into. The former Arkansas governor drew applause when he trotted out a totally irrelevant credit card analogy:
"If you can get an American Express card in two weeks, it shouldn't take seven years to get a work permit to come to this country in order to work on a farm. So if our government is incapable of making that process in that length of time, then we should do it in a way to outsource it."
"Outsource it"? To whom? To the government of Mexico—for whom Huckabee arranged the installation of a Mexican consulate in Little Rock?
Then Huckabee lapsed into a "compassion" riff inevitably leading to Big Government solutions:
"When people come to this country, they shouldn't fear. They shouldn't live in hiding. They ought to have their heads up, because the one thing about being an American is, we believe every person ought to have his or her head up and proud, and nobody should have to be in hiding because they're illegal when our government ought to make it so that people can reasonably come here in a legal fashion."
Increasingly, this guy reminds me of George W. Bush back in 2000.
Which is not good.
Why not just legalize the illegal aliens, Thompson and Romney were asked and both pointed out that it was unfair to immigrants who had gone through the legal process. Duncan Hunter correctly stated that an amnesty would encourage more illegal immigration. McCain tried to cover all the bases, talking about border security, Hispanic anchor baby soldiers in Iraq, and love and compassion. Mitt Romney's hiring of a company that used illegal workers was brought up, and the former Massachusetts governor used it to call for an employment verification system.
Anchor babies were brought up. Thompson was asked the loaded question: "Do these children have the right not to be separated from their parents?"
Thompson could have responded that every day American citizen children are separated from their citizen parents, due to work, business, travel, incarceration and military service abroad. So why do we hear more sob stories about the illegal alien deportees and their children?
Thompson copped out , by saying that "our courts have ruled that such children…are United States citizens. That's part of the 14th Amendment as has been interpreted by the courts, as I understand it."
"As I understand it"? Come on Fred, would you give a mealy-mouthed answer like that on Law and Order?
To their credit though, Thompson and Romney did come out against chain migration, which is a big step forward.
Mitt Romney, though, seemed even more convinced by the anchor baby loophole than Thompson. Romney said "And the Constitution…indicates that those that are born here do become United States citizens by virtue of being born here."
They all need some education on this topic.
Univision addressed the "negative tone" of the immigration debate, which is supposedly affecting Hispanics. Apparently, sensitivity to this issue means we shouldn't be allowed to talk about it.
Giuliani, asked how to "stop that anti-Hispanic sentiment that affects legal residents in America", replied that while we've all made mistakes, that illegal immigration is bad and legal immigration is great. And he came out for a "sensible, secure system of coming in with a tamper-proof ID card".
Ron Paul later came out against such a card because he fears it would lead to a national ID card.
Huckabee, when asked how to "curb that anti-Hispanic sentiment", boasted that "I was governor of the state that is the second-fastest growing state for Hispanics in the country." And he launched into a "compassionate" ode to persecuted immigrants :
"But it's a terrible thing when a person who is here legally, but who may speak with an accent, is racially profiled by members of the public, and people assume that they may be illegal.
"It is in everybody's best interest—it is in most of all the best interest of the legal immigrants—that we fix this problem, so nobody questions the legitimacy of their being here, which often happens, unfairly, unnecessarily and, frankly, in a completely un-American manner."
On the "resentment topic" Ron Paul discussed it as a purely economic problem, completely avoiding the cultural dimension. Paul seems to believe that if only the economy was going well, and the welfare state was controlled, mass immigration would be A-OK.
Foreign policy came up—Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, and then Iraq. Giuliani even pontificated on the 2006 Mexican election, claiming that
"I think the people in Mexico were sending a signal. They don't want to go in the direction that Castro wanted to take Latin America. They don't want to go toward socialism and communism. They want to go to free markets, they want to go to freedom. I think it's the essential nature of the people of Latin America…"
Actually, Mexican politics are completely statist. Even the "right-wing" government of Felipe Calderon wants more, not less, government intervention in society.
Thompson, meanwhile, promised to overthrow Castro.
Health and education were discussed, but nobody brought up the massive effect that legal and illegal immigration have on these issues.
Romney, to his credit, did promote English immersion in school.
The last question was introduced in this gloating manner:
"Hispanics are the biggest minority in the United States, and by 2050, we're going to be 25 percent of the population. Three months ago, I asked the same thing to the Democratic candidates. What would you think would be the biggest contribution from Hispanics, but we want to ask you what is the role—what role do you think Hispanics will play in the development of our nation and our society?"
Huckabee responded by talking about "E pluribus unum" and said that anybody who comes to American is an American and automatically "share(s) our hopes and our dreams and our aspirations. "
Hunter talked about El Salvador again, freedom, and Abraham Lincoln.
McCain waxed jubilant about the growing Hispanic demographic:
"My vision of America in the future when Hispanics are a very large percentage of our population is that we will be enriched. We will be enriched by their music, their culture, their food, their language, and most of all, their love of America. "
"The most important thing Hispanics can do is what all Americans do: Join us in our effort to restore our Constitution and our great country."
That's fine of course. But the Constitution did not emerge out of a historical vacuum. It was produced by a particular culture. And if the culture changes, or is transformed, or is replaced, we can't automatically assume the Constitution will mean the same thing to future generations.
Giuliani was simply ecstatic:
"Hispanic Americans have already reached great heights in America. They've contributed so much… They pushed us to be better. They have the basic values that make us better, values of family, hard work, getting a good job, education as the way to success."
Romney said that "America needs all Americans", then after listing some problems, declared that "We spend way too much money in Washington, particularly on entitlements that are growing more and more weighty on us."
Yes—but is all this pandering to the Hispanic lobby is going to improve that situation?
Univision moderator Ramos closed out the Republican Panderfest with gratitude to the seven pandering Republicans:
"Thank you. Thank you very much to all the candidates for being here with us tonight…Thank you so much for coming. Thanks a lot."
Yeah, GOP candidates. Thanks a lot !
American citizen Allan Wall ( email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his "Dispatches from Iraq" are archived here his website is here.