To the editor:
As the GOP struggles to redefine itself in the wake of November’s election, a major element of that process is going to entail how the party addresses the issue of immigration.
In recent years, the GOP’s approach toward immigration did great harm to the party’s brand, not just with Latinos but also with many Anglos who found the harsh and ugly rhetoric offensive. The GOP paid dearly for that rhetoric in Novemeber as Latino voters flocked to Democrats at the polls.
That phenomenon has also sent up red flags within the GOP establishment.
The establishment understands, even if the Tea Party base does not, that the GOP risks becoming irrelevant as a national party if it continues to alienate Latino voters with the kind of ugly rhetoric it has engaged in since G.W. Bush, to his great credit, worked collaboratively with John McCain and the late Ted Kennedy to try to reform our admittedly broken immigration system.
Those efforts were sandbagged and undermined by the right wing, overwhelmingly white, Tea Party base of the party and its enablers in the media.
In the media, people like Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs during his tenure at CNN, Glen Beck, and Beantown’s own right wing radio shock jock, Jay Severin, were particularly nasty and dishonest in their attacks on Latinos in general, and undocumented Latino immigrants in particular.
The list of GOP politicians who have engaged in similar ugly attacks is as long as one’s arm, but two in particular stand out.
One is Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. During her 2010 re-election bid, she campaigned by sounding the alarm about a brutal wave of decapitation murders sweeping the state. The perpetrators of those brutal crimes, she repeatedly implied, were no doubt undocumented immigrants. It whipped the right wing, white, xenophobic, Minutemen and Tea Party types who dominate the base of the state’s GOP into an angry, Brewer loyalist frenzy.