Dumbest Move of 2006: Republican Hostility Toward Latino Immigrants

If there are political pundits and prognosticators on the tube that are smart, insightful and not annoying, it’s the tandem of Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke, aka the Beltway Boys of the Fox television network.

I watched these guys and read their columns because they really know Washington and they really know politics. They’re also terrific opinion writers and authors, and they seem to care a great deal about the truth and they see it. Morton leans liberal and Barnes leans conservative, but between them they have it all covered.

So it doesn’t surprise me that in the world of punditry that they would be they only ones to speak frankly about the GOP’s immigration problem. In their annual awards segment, in which they acknowledge the best and the worst political developments of the past year, the Beltway Boys gave the Dumbest Move award to the GOP for that party’s position on immigration. This is how they announced the 2006 Dumbest Move award:

KONDRACKE: OK. Our "Dumbest Move" award of the year is Republicans trashing immigrants. And this - this has disastrous consequences for the - in the election. The Hispanic vote, which is the fastest-growing element of the population, went 55 to 42 percent Democratic in 2004. This time, it went 76 to 26. And it's all because of this stupid wall that the - that the House Republicans wanted to build, and rejected their own president's plan for a comprehensive immigrant reform in - in preference to cozying up to radio talk show host.

BARNES: I don't think it's the wall, per se. I think it's their - their whole attitude toward immigrants in general, but particularly Hispanic immigrants. It seemed mean - mean-spirited, and, you know, American voters are generally not mean-spirited. You - you - you're going to have some kind of a wall at some point, but you have to a lot of other things, too.
Now please understand that these are two of the country’s most respected political observers and writers. And while one may expect Kondracke’s views on this issue, Fred Barnes' critique of the GOP position vis-à-vis Latino immigrants has got to sting. Barnes enjoys as sterling reputation among Republicans and Conservatives, so his view that the GOP has a bad attitude towards Latino immigrants is significant.

So for the conservative leaning readers of this weblog, please know that it’s not just liberals and Latinos that detect something more at play on the part of some crusading Republicans. And for Republican and/or Conservative leaning Latinos, please don’t drink the Kool-Aid; while it may be offered with a smile, it can kill you just as dead.

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