The GOP's Love/Mostly Hate Relationship With Latinos

Steven Reynolds: The Republican Party desperately wants to win Latino votes but they seem to have no idea how to avoid alienating the Latino community with their immigration antics.
This post, written by Steven Reynolds, originally appeared on the All Spin Zone

Heck, I wrote about this yesterday, about how Senator Mel Martinez was boosted to the RNC Chairmanship because he could work delivering the Latino vote, and I wish I'd had the wisdom of those guys over at Pensito Review at the time. Mel blasted the top two Presidential candidates for their stance on the immigration bill, and it turns out those candidates aren't about to take their stance before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). I guess they know the reception they'd get. After all, of recent news on the NALEO site, a huge percentage of it is related to the Immigration bill, or to the issue of immigration in general.

Now I wonder what Mel Martinez is thinking. He was hired by the RNC to convert the Latino vote to Republican, and to his credit George Bush is trying to help poor Mel. But Mel can't even get the major headline makers of his party, the candidates for President in 2008, to show up to NALEO. What, a little trip to Orlando didn't appeal to these guys? No, the real truth is that they can't stand the heat. If there's one way these candidates are like Dubya it is that they can't handle talking to a hostile crowd. Remember all those years Bush avoided speaking to the NAACP? It's because he was afraid at the reception he'd get. That's what's going on with these candidates.

But NALEO loves Martinez, one of the highest ranking Latinos in the country. Here's what they had to say when he got elected to the RNC post (unfortunately, the Press Release has the most unfortunate picture of Martinez possible, with a stare vacant enough for the President himself. It is reproduced to the left): Today the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) commended President George Bush on his recommendation of United States Senator Mel Martinez to serve as the next General Chairman of the Republican National Committee. In this capacity, Senator Martinez will be the face of the Republican Party, focusing on fundraising, outreach and travel to promote the GOP agenda.

"The recommendation of Senator Mel Martinez to serve as the next General Chairman of the Republican National Committee is a historic milestone for the Latino community. If confirmed by the Republican National Committee, Martinez becomes the first Latino to hold this position. His nomination by President Bush is a testament to the contributions and political influence Latinos hold in the United States. It is a reflection of Latinos as a permanent part of the nation's political landscape," said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of NALEO. I wonder if old Mel is attending the NALEO conference to try to smooth over any feathers ruffled by the boycott of the NALEO conference by the Republican Presidential contenders. The conference is in Mel Martinez' home state of Florida, after all. What's a little trip to Orlando for him? He could probably get some corporate jet to fly him down, right? Or is Mel afraid of the rebuke he'll hear? It'll be interesting to see if he shows up.

Also interesting, NALEO is strangely silent about the work and achievements of Alberto Gonzales, our floundering Latino Attorney General.
Steven Reynolds, originally known as "Spin Dentist", is a regular blogger for All Spin Zone
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