Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Gop, It All Comes out with a Reince

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Gop, It All Comes out with a Reince

Article excerpt

IT'S A cardinal rule of laundry. Soak first and then rinse. On Election Day 2012, the Republican Party was soaked. Enter Reince.

Reince Priebus has the double distinction of having an inscrutable name and an unenviable title, chairman of the Republican National Committee. After voters sent Mitt Romney to the cleaners, Priebus initiated the Growth and Opportunity Act project. Designed to offer insight as to why Republicans can't win the White House and are losing ground in Congress, the report released this month is a primer not just on what went wrong in 2012, but on why failure in 2012 was inevitable.

"If Hispanic-Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence," the report notes. "It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies."

Romney's suggestion that illegal immigrants would simply self- deport was offensive to minority voters, who, by the way, are growing in numbers every year. The Republican presidential nominee, who wanted voters to believe that despite his enormous wealth he was still a missionary at heart, told prospective voters that he believed the best way to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States was to make their lives such a living hell that they would just up and leave.

It reminded me of a New Jersey Republican candidate for Congress in 2010 who wanted to round up all the illegal immigrants in the United States, put them in rail cars, transport them to a central deportation center, hand them a bottle of water and then send them across the U.S.-Mexican border.

The same political party that espouses unfailing support for the principle that all life is sacred draws a life line at the Rio Grande, to invoke the words of former President George W. Bush, whose quote "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande" was used as an example in the report of a once more-inclusive Republican Party.

It is this lack of inclusion - an inability to attract Hispanics, blacks, women and gays - that is making the national Republican Party irrelevant to young Americans. If the GOP is still the "big tent" party, then there are two classes of people inside the tent: guests and the hired help. Minority voters are not dumb. If someone hands them a tray and an apron, they can figure out who they are at the party.

Priebus wants that to change. Wanting it may not be enough. In Congress, there has been significant movement on immigration reform these past weeks. Republicans understand that if they continue to alienate Hispanic voters, they will never regain the White House. But the GOP cannot become pro-Hispanic or pro-minority just by creating a path to citizenship for 11 million people. …

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