Friday, December 28, 2012

10 Latino politicians to watch in 2013

Dr. Raul Ruiz is one of the new Latino members of Congress starting in January.

Of course we will be watching all Latino politicians as they welcome the new year with a lot on their legislative plates, be it the fiscal cliff or immigration reform. But here is a sample of the diversity of the Latinos who are either newly entering Congress or are coming back – hopefully ready to roll up their sleeves for a lot of work ahead.

Recently elected:
Joaquín Castro (D-TX)The national spotlight in 2012 was more focused on his twin brother Julián, the Mayor of San Antonio TX and the first Latino keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. But Joaquín’s recent election to Congress gives him a chance to expand his state legislative agenda (he voted to restore education funds to Texas) and he is already on record saying Congress needs to tackle gun control.

Ted Cruz (R- TX) The newly-elected Cuban-American Senator from Texas does not shy away from his very conservative social as well as fiscal views, including  privatizing Social Security. While November’s election loss has spurred some Republicans to weigh moving more to the mainstream on some issues, Cruz is not one of them. Reducing the size of government is among his main legislative aims.

Mary Gonzalez (D- El Paso, TX) - The newly-elected state legislator has defied convention by running for office while declaring herself openly gay and a ‘pansexual’ who does not subscribe to gender stereotypes. Gonzalez, who is pursuing a PhD in education, hopes to utilize her background in education and community activism to increase programs and opportunities at the state level.

Michelle Lujan Grisham  (D- NM) - As New Mexico’s former Dept of Health Secretary, Lujan Grisham increased access to school-based health centers, increased women’s reproductive health funding and reduced teen pregnancies, and increased childhood immunization rates. Other areas of expertise were senior citizens’care and exposing elderly abuse, all topics Lujan Grisham plans to continue in the U.S. Congress.

Raul Ruiz  (D -CA) – The son of migrant workers who went on to Harvard Medical School and became an emergency room doctor – only to beat a wealthy Republican incumbent for Congress – the Latino doctor will now have a chance to work on issues which he has said affect patients’ health, such as education, job opportunities and how healthcare dollars are spent.
Current legislators: 

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) - The majority of Latino voters favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and the Illinois congressman, a longtime advocate of the Dream Act and immigration reform, has said this is the time to get it done.  Gutierrez has been meeting with other legislators “across the aisle” in the hopes of getting a bi-partisan proposal on the table.

Raul Labrador (R-ID) - The new Idaho congressman was born in Puerto Rico, and is a Mormon and a conservative Republican.  As an attorney who handled immigration cases, he is now assigned to the Judiciary Committee and will have a chance to help shape immigration reform. Though he does not favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Congressman Luis Gutierrez recently said to Politico Labrador has the background on immigration “and wants to get this done.”

Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) - In 2012, Martinez carved her own path in the GOP, delivering a passionate, well-received speech at the Republican convention, yet condemning Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” and “47 percent” comments.  Martinez opposes giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in New Mexico for security reasons, yet said Arizona’s immigration laws were not for her state, showing the different positions Latino legislators have on the issue.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) - Now that Senator John Kerry has been nominated for Secretary of State, Senator Bob Menendez might head the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee (he currently heads a subcommittee).  The Democratic Senator is also one of the leading proponents of immigration reform and will play a key role in the upcoming year.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) - 2012 was quite a year for Senator Rubio, as the young legislator introduced presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Republican National convention and was even in the running as a vice presidential pick.  The Senator penned his autobiography and was the subject of a biography.  But after Latino voters gave Republicans the cold shoulder in November’s elections, many are looking to see if Rubio can “soften” his party’s image as the issues of immigration reform and fiscal challenges require bipartisan solutions in a pretty divided atmosphere.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas From Jimmy's Politico

"We want to wish all our readers and supporters a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!"

- Jimmy's Politico

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Opinion: People are the problem, not guns

Community members in Newtown, Connecticut try to console themselves after the school massacre.
Community members in Newtown, Connecticut try to console themselves after the school massacre. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

We’re told America is a violent society with a “fatally counterproductive national identity”, says the German magazine Spiegel Online.

We certainly do have a violent cultural undertow in this country, though it has been getting less violent over the years. Americans are also culturally apathetic. Many more kids die every year to gun violence than did at Sandy Hook Elementary, yet the political energy to address gun violence can’t get any wind at its back until something grotesquely tragic happens.

And when it does happen, the anti-gun folks can hardly contain themselves. The call for banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and limiting ammunition sales came out rapidly, as if these folks have a template press release ready with blank spaces for the next Aurora, Colorado.

The Christian conservatives on the right were predictably moronic. Mike Huckabee claimed we shouldn’t be surprised by such events because we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.

Our government was born from violent revolution, and we’ve been perpetually at war with others and ourselves since then. We are a violent society because our glory and power was born from it and we require steady doses of it in peacetime. We revere Al Capone and Jesse James and the quickest pathway to fame in America involves beating up your girlfriend.

Guns are invariably part of American culture. They aren’t going anywhere. The Supreme Court rightfully declared that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. In true American cultural fashion, gun ownership is a civil right in this country, like the right to free speech. Europe has no comparable acknowledgement of this right in their institutions.

Banning guns won’t work and we already have reams of laws on the books that regulates the sale of firearms at the federal level and the states. Like it or not, the right to keep and bear arms is indeed a civil right. The Supreme Court’s decision declaring the Second Amendment an individual right left some room for regulations, but they have already struck down laws from the strictest jurisdictions in the country, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

Yet, there are solutions. Aside from the sudden desire to address mental health in America by Republicans, it is true that this country has been appallingly deficient in our attention to mental health.

The last four mass killings were committed by people who had some mental illness; Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, was seen as a troubled individual by a counselor. A psychiatrist who treated the Aurora, Colorado shooter, James Holmes, was so concerned about his state of mind that he contacted the police.

The shooter in Arizona, Jared Loughner, had an extended record of run-ins with police and his actions surprised nobody when his killing spree hit the news. And the killer at the Sikh temple, Wade Michael Page, was a known sociopath who spewed hatred across the country.

Its seems that rather than focusing on guns, we need to focus primarily on the informational barriers between identifying these people and the authorities charged with acting on that information.

Jared Loughner was kicked out of college and administrators would not allow him back in without a psychiatric evaluation. This decision to act on information by the school possibly saved lives at Pima College.

Yet once he left school, there was nobody to pick up the scent on him. If we are to prevent the next Sandy Hook, we should of course review the gun regulations on the books, but gun bans are not going to change the fundamental problem.

Just after the tragedy in Newtown, two potential killers were reported and arrested; one in Indiana and another in Oklahoma. Both made threats or made plans to kill multiple kids, but the difference was not gun regulations, gun bans or ammunition restrictions. The difference was vigilance by members of society who saw the signs and contacted authorities, and that information was acted upon by them.

We are indeed a violent nation, and we are also notoriously apathetic. Events like Sandy Hook Elementary have brought us together, and has chipped away at that apathy for now, but the answer to prevention lies less on a prolonged political fight over regulations that will get us nowhere and more on a greater appreciation for our responsibilities as a community. Yes, let’s look at gun regulations, but we’ll get nowhere without first looking at ourselves.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Obama: I Would Be Considered Moderate Republican in 1980s

PHOTO: President Barack Obama waves to reporters as they shout questions to him regarding the fiscal cliff as he walks across Pennsylvania Avenue back to the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

President Barack Obama believes that if he were president 25 years ago, his economic policies would make him a moderate Republican.

During an interview with Noticias Univision 23, the network's Miami affiliate newscast, Obama pushed back against the accusation made in some corners of south Florida's Cuban-American and Venezuelan communities that he wants to instill a socialist economic system in the U.S. The president said he believes few actually believe that.

"I don't know that there are a lot of Cubans or Venezuelans, Americans who believe that," Obama said. "The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."
See Also: Obama Talks Tax Hikes on Twitter

Obama's comments come amid the contentious debate over how to resolve the "fiscal cliff," in which the White House and Congress are trying to figure out whether to extend a series of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year while staving off steep spending cuts to domestic and defense programs set to go into place at the beginning of 2013.

For years amid the brooder debate over taxes and the size of government, Obama has been characterized by some on the right as a socialist who wants to redistribute wealth. They cite Obama's healthcare law in particular as a massive increase in the size of government.

Obama is seeking to eradicate that image as he tries to sell his economic plan to the public amid the fiscal cliff debate, which includes eliminating the low Bush-era tax rates for those families making more than $250,000 per year.

"What I believe in is a tax system that is fair. I don't think government can solve every problem. I think that we should make sure that we're helping young people go to school. We should make sure that our government is building good roads and bridges and hospitals and airports so that we have a good infrastructure," he said.

"I do believe that it makes sense that everyone in America, as rich as this country is, shouldn't go bankrupt because someone gets sick."

Republican leaders have largely rejected tax-rate increases repeatedly and said that Obama is not serious about reducing the federal budget deficit and reforming the nation's entitlement programs.

"The president's plan to avert the fiscal cliff still does not meet the two standards that I laid out the day after the election," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday.

"His plan does not fulfill his promise to bring a balanced approach to solving this problem. It's mainly tax hikes, and his plan does not begin to solve our debt crisis. It actually increases spending."

But Obama reiterated his belief that higher tax rates for upper-income earners should be part of a broader effort to reduce the deficit.

"We also need to reduce our deficit in a responsible way, that means revenue, asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more taxes, protecting middle-class families. Then cutting out some programs that we don't need, passing responsible spending cuts. And I hope that we can get this resolved," he said. "We just need, you know, for Speaker Bohner and the House Republicans to step up and say they are ready to get going."
The Obama-as-a-socialist notion recently played out on the campaign trail. In an effort to energize anti-Obama sentiment among Cuban- and Venezuelan-American voters in south Florida, the Romney campaign ran a Spanish-language TV ad there one week before Election Day that tied Obama to Cuba's Castro brothers and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The president's campaign took the unusual step of releasing its own ad in Spanish to counter the Romney ad.

Some on the left have long argued that the president's policy beliefs closely resemble moderate Republican views from the 1980s and 1990s. Ezra Klein made the argument in a 2011 column, citing his adoption of the individual health insurance mandate, an idea developed in conservative think tanks. Will Saletan of Slate made a similar argument this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Keys to a California GOP comeback: camaraderie and good ideas

California State Capital in Sacramento

Paul Priolo remembers the last time Democrats enjoyed a supermajority in the state Assembly. He was the Republican leader. And his strategy was simple.

"I socialized with Democrats," he says. "That was my key to getting along and overcoming the handicap of their having a supermajority…. They were the leaders and the ones you tried to get next to.
"We'd fight during the day and go out to dinner together at night. But that's a thing of the past."
Yes, that's largely history. Thanks in part to then-Gov. Jerry Brown's post-Watergate political reform that ended the practice of lobbyists picking up the meal and bar tabs of legislators.
Today, instead of buying $20 dinners for lawmakers as they used to, special interests kick in $2,000 campaign donations at their cracker-and-cheese fundraisers.

But a bigger reason for the nighttime lifestyle change — in Sacramento as elsewhere — was the crackdown on drunk driving.

Increased partisanship and polarization also are at fault. Democratic and Republican legislators just don't hang as they used to.

"I got along quite well with Jerry, as a matter of fact," Priolo says. "He was part of our dinner group. We used to gather once a week for a crab feed and Jerry would come quite often. Course, he was uninvited. He just showed up and dominated the conversation. We tolerated him. After all, he was the governor."
A new Legislature will be sworn in Monday, and for the first time since the 1975-79 era, the Assembly will be controlled by an ironclad two-thirds Democratic majority.

In fact, for the first time in 80 years both houses will be dominated by supermajorities, enough heft for Democrats to pass any legislation without Republican support.

It'll be one-party control of the Capitol with Democrat Brown again ensconced in the governor's office. In the '30s, it was Republicans who wielded that kind of muscle. Democrats haven't since 1883.
Allan Hoffenblum, publisher of the California Target Book that handicaps legislative races, was a Republican political staffer when the GOP held only 23 of 80 Assembly seats in the 1970s. (Now they'll have 25 or 26, depending on a final vote tally, with just 11 of 40 seats projected in the Senate.)

"I remember someone calling a Republican caucus and when all the Republicans got up from their seats on the floor and went to the meeting, you couldn't tell anybody had left the Assembly," Hoffenblum says.
I called Priolo, who's 85, living in Sonoma and no longer a Republican. "Newt Gingrich was the final straw." He's now registered as nonpartisan.

In the '70s, Priolo was a moderate Republican assemblyman from Santa Monica. The Assembly GOP did seem relevant back then, regardless of feeble numbers. I asked Priolo whether he had any advice for the new superminority.

"Stop stonewalling on everything — being against everything," he answered. "Find out where you can work together" with Democrats. "You've got to sit down and B.S. and find some common ground.
"Personal relationships can go a long way. Course, that might have been my undoing too."

When the governor and Legislature failed to deliver property tax relief, voters in 1978 passed an initiative, Proposition 13, and ignited a nationwide anti-tax rebellion. Several conservative Republicans — called "Prop. 13 babies" — were elected to the Assembly and dumped Priolo as leader.

"They didn't like the idea that I did any kind of business with Democrats," he says.
Legislative camaraderie has been crumbling ever since.

 Republicans did crawl back. By 1994, they were strong enough to secure a bare-minimum, 41-vote Assembly majority. But because of Machiavellian maneuvering by Democratic Speaker Willie Brown of San Francisco, it took Republicans one year to fully gain control of the house. And Democrats seized it again in 1996.

Then-Assembly Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga plotted the brief GOP takeover and later became Senate minority leader. Currently he's being recruited by business leaders and party pragmatists to take over the pathetic state GOP.

I asked him what advice he'd give the few remaining Republican lawmakers."A good idea is a good idea regardless of how many Republicans are supporting it. If it's really a good idea, the Democrats will steal it and put their name on it. But the Republicans' goal should be to get good public policy enacted."

They can claim partial credit.The current Republican leaders don't seem to have a precise strategy.
"We will make the best of a bad situation," Senate GOP Leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar says. "It's uncharted territory."

"Education is ripe for reform," he adds. "And we'd like to get some traction with the majority party on regulatory reform."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare wants to rebrand the GOP. Voters have been hearing an inaccurate message, she asserts."This whole national tenor about Republicans being anti-women," Conway continues. "I don't know where that comes from. It's certainly not my message."

Dan Schnur, a former communications strategist for Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and current director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, says, "Republicans will wait for Democrats to overreach and then call them on it. But they've tried it that way and it hasn't worked out all that well.

"No legislator is sent to Sacramento to point fingers at the other side. Getting something done is better than simply criticizing."
Republicans are weak, but they're not immobile. They can start the long climb back. They can beat Democrats to the punch on practical ideas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opinion: The browning of American democracy

Mi Familia Vota Canvassers look at their route plan to see which way to walk.

Much was made of the “missing white voters” when conservatives couldn’t believe that Romney had lost, but four years is a long time when you are of retirement age, of which the vast majority are white. 

If you want to know what contributed to these missing voters, perhaps a look at the death rate by race and ethnicity can provide clues. The Latino death rate, according to the Center for Disease Control, was 523 per 100,000 people for Hispanics, and 748 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites.

The share of the country’s white voters is shrinking, and with nature taking its course, the only way to make up that difference is through childbirth or immigration. Unless conservative white men want to give up their jobs to stay at home and watch the kids while their wives exercise their growing freedom to have children on their own schedules, or convince Ann Coulter to stop carrying water for white men and start making babies, this trend will continue to accelerate.

As conservatives tried to absorb the significance of the Presidential Election, there emerged fresh news that compounded their anxiety about the changing demographics of the country. Pew Research Center reported that the U.S. birth rate dropped to its lowest recorded level ever

Hispanic mothers made up 24 percent of the births, while whites made up 54 percent. Pew reports that, “Since 1990, the share of births to U.S.-born mothers who are white has decreased from 72 percent, while the share to U.S.-born mothers who are Hispanic has grown from 7 percent.”

This is likely a high watermark for white births because these numbers exclude the race or ethnicity of the father, and Hispanics intermarry at the highest rates among minorities. More than 1in 5 Hispanics “marry out” of their ethnicity.

The browning of America marches on, while the GOP struggle to adjust as an artifact of an old America yearning to hang on.

Practically lost in the discussion about this election is the significance of the coalition that won the office for President Obama. With the greatest diversity in race, ethnicity and gender ever exhibited in a Presidential Election, the force of the majority power structure could not withstand the weight of democracy on its shoulders. And with it will continue the decline of the vestiges of whiteness that began more than 400 years ago.

Future elections will need to acknowledge that a growing reliance on the appeals of the past will have electoral consequences at the national level. Latinos went from being a growing demographic to a powerful voting bloc largely because the GOP couldn’t figure out how to run on a platform of inclusion.

Marco Rubio made his pitch to change the image of the party yesterday at the Kemp Foundation, in which he said, “The existence of a large and vibrant middle class goes to the very essence of America’s exceptional identity.” That’s a good start, but Senator Rubio mentioned diversity in his speech exactly zero times, while repeating his commitment to the same policies the Republicans have been losing minorities and women on over the last twenty years.

The assumption by Mr. Rubio is that the GOP has a marketing problem, but not a substantive one, with minorities. That’s the attitude that needs to change. The problem is that minorities know very well what the GOP platform is.

In this new era of politics, that dynamics of the past have changed. This new coalition, should the Democrats do what they can to hold it together, could mean the beginning of the end of whiteness as we know it if the GOP can’t look in the mirror and accept that the problem is staring right back at them.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Op-ed: 10 things the GOP can do to turn the tide with Latino voters

Pedro Yazzie

(Pedro Yazzie, 27, makes phone calls Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Phoenix to registered voters from the offices of Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan effort to increase voter participation among Latinos and others. (AP Photo/Matt York))

The 2012 elections were a wake-up call to Republicans and conservatives. Many were not expecting Obama to win reelection decisively, much less win at all. While the chorus of blame and finger-pointing ran rampant on television, radio, the blogosphere and social media, one underlying issue has been accepted: the GOP and conservatives must reverse the devastating trend with the Hispanic vote.

Since George W. Bush’s peak of receiving 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, the GOP has been hemorrhaging support from this key electorate, with Romney receiving an embarrassing 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in his defeat. Meanwhile, the Hispanic electorate is likely to double by 2030 to a potential 40 million Latinos eligible to vote.

This is a primer not to place blame or say, “I told you so.” This is a plan that is meant to be a comprehensive starting guide for GOP insiders, politicians, and grassroots conservatives to address the problems we face with earning the Hispanic vote, while providing specific, targeted solutions. These are substantive strategies which can and should begin as soon as possible.

The more comprehensive primer we put together is available at the bottom of this piece.

I. Start Building the Ground Infrastructure — Now
At its core, the biggest problem the GOP and conservatives have with Hispanics and minority groups in general is a lack of a ground game. The GOP lags behind the Democrats because for years, the middle-aged to elderly white voting class has been the most reliable voting bloc, and they have traditionally voted for Republicans.

Therefore, conservatives and the GOP have never had the need for a major ground effort to bring them to the polls. The changing demographics in the United States necessitate a concerted ground effort from the GOP.

II. Head Into the Urban Centers
A subset on the issue is the seeming fear of urban outreach. The GOP and conservatives must accept they are going to have to do the hard work and reach out to Hispanics and other minority groups in what are generally Democratic strongholds: large cities and urban areas.

Facts show more and more people are moving towards the cities, and the GOP is running out of rural and suburban voters to engage with. In addition, these urban areas are where the vast majority of Hispanics and other minorities live. If conservatives and the GOP do not begin to set up an infrastructure now, we will not win in 2016.

III. Show Up!
Republicans need to start showing up at events and in the community, and this requires investment of time, effort, and leg work. It would be wise for campaigns and local GOP offices to keep track of cultural festivals in the area and reserve a booth in order to disseminate information. These are perfect venues for voter registration drives!

GOP candidates need to be appearing at these events because the Independent and Democrat candidates already do. And don’t just attend these events – hold them! If you are a GOP office or a local conservative group, hold cultural events or utilize Hispanic cultural celebrations to engage the community. For example, hold a family-friendly Three Kings Day Block Party at a local school with booths, food, dancing, and performances.

For a more educational twist, have an event promoting freedom on Jose Marti’s birthday (time to Google search who Jose Marti is). These are great ways to unite people while also having fun.
When phone banking and canvassing, go into the urban neighborhoods!

One consistently sees liberal candidates going door to door in black and Latino neighborhoods but never conservatives. How can conservatives expect minorities to vote conservative if they are never exposed to conservative principles?

IV Community Service
Have some free time on a Saturday? Take your family to do volunteer work or help a charity that focuses on the Latino community. This is a great way to give back, show compassion, stick to our cherished idea of private charity, and make connections in your local Latino communities.  Hispanics are disproportionately affected by high unemployment, poverty rates similar to those in Latin America, and lack of quality education.

V. Know Your Voter
With the success of the Obama campaign, it is now more important than ever that the party and grassroots organizations know who the potential voters are to the last detail. This realization is especially critical with the Hispanic population. Overall culture, traditions, political priorities, and even dialect of Spanish differ among Hispanic nationalities, so do your research prior to making those initial phone calls and setting up that first booth.

Also, realize that Hispanics are a young demographic and that Latino youth may not find ACDC cool – they may prefer artists like Jay-Z, and Wisin y Yandel. Turn to more creative mediums like spoken word, music, and dance when attempting to engage Latino youth. Become more culturally aware – pick up your local Hispanic newspaper and look through the events section, follow some conservative Latinos on twitter, and engage the Hispanics around you.

VI. Stop Throwing Out Nothing But Spanish TV Ads and Start Engaging Spanish Media
Because of the lack of a ground operation, the GOP has left itself to overly rely upon television ads and indirect forms of communication to try and reach the Hispanic audience. The problem is that television ads in general don’t have a very good return on investment, and will reach only a limited audience, especially in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. The way you speak to and spread a message to Hispanics is through direct, personal communication. Not through external and relatively “easy” marketing like television and radio ads.

The solution here for the GOP is to embrace and engage Spanish and minority media outlets; don’t just simply purchase airtime. Candidates should be doing interviews on radio and television and appear on the Sunday shows on Univision and Telemundo. Are they biased? Perhaps. But has that stopped GOP politicians and pundits from appearing on MSNBC, etc.? Of course not. Bear in mind that it shouldn’t just be Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, or Raul Labrador doing all this work in Spanish media. Non-Hispanic politicians should be willing and able to go on these venues as well.

VII. Using and Speaking Spanish is a Must
Going beyond the ads, it appears that there are many in the conservative movement who are antagonistic about the use of Spanish-language media or communication. We hate to break it to some, but while we and many others are of the agreement that English should be the language of government, many Hispanics prefer to speak Spanish within their community.

Even those who are bilingual will speak Spanish with family and friends, as well as watch Spanish-language media. Since the end of the Mexican-American War, Spanish has been an integrated language in the United States. We say this only to address the hostilities some conservatives have towards the language. If you are going to reach out to the Hispanic community, Spanish must be a key component of it.

VIII. The Conservative Grassroots Must Get Involved and Help
In addition to not having a presence on the ground, non-Hispanic conservatives have been woefully inadequate at assisting Hispanic conservatives in spreading the message and lending support. This is a trend that must change. Because Hispanic conservatives are greatly outnumbered by Hispanic liberals, we desperately need the support of the grassroots movement help spread the message. Hispanic conservatives do not have the infrastructure to communicate on our own.

IX. The Rhetoric Must Be Addressed – But the Policy Need Not Completely Change
Immigration is an issue that must be addressed. There’s no going around it. And the biggest problem behind the immigration issue with the GOP and conservatives is the rhetoric used to advocate our position. The GOP/Conservative position has always been the rule of law. In other words, if one is to come to this country to live or work, one must adhere to the proper channels.

But the rhetoric, whether or not it is accurately described by the media, has been among the primary reasons Hispanics are turned off by the GOP. Statements like, “self-deportation,” “deport them all!” and “speak English! English only!” are slogans that are instant turn offs with Hispanics, regardless of whether you try to explain your position or not. It is an instant non-starter.

We’re not saying those conservatives who support the hard-line stance do not have a valid point or that they should cave into the “free and clear amnesty” advocates, but that the manner in which they articulate their position must change. In addition, the conservative position on immigration reform differs among the movement. This is an internal debate that conservatives all around must have.

RELATED: Latino Conservative Launches Pro-Immigration Super PAC

X. Take the Initiative on Puerto Rico
One specific issue that the GOP can utilize and take the initiative on is the status of Puerto Rico. For the first time the island voted made clear the desire to obtain statehood. The ironic aspect of this issue is that the more prominent Hispanic Democrats in the House are hostile towards statehood. The GOP has the opportunity to be champion and advocate for what is a growing Hispanic demographic. The right to self-delineate has been supported for Puerto Rico in the GOP platform for years.

The Latino vote, regardless of what the media says, is an opportunity we can no longer ignore or approach half-heartedly. Latinos are hard-working people who gave up their lives in their home countries to risk everything for a piece of the American Dream.

Appeal to that passion for life, the yearning for success, and the traditional values that celebrate family and community. Conservative principles are more beneficial for Latinos, and for everyone, than liberal ideology. We just need to put in the coordinated effort to make that crystal clear.

Full primer on conservative outreach to Hispanics
Samuel A. Rosado
Samuel A. Rosado is an attorney residing in New Jersey. He served as Executive Director of the Republican Hispanic Assembly of New Jersey in 2010, and has been a freelance contributor and writer on Hispanic issues and engagement for Politic365, The Daily Grito, and Misfit Politics. Follow him on twitter at @sarosado.

Brittney Morrett currently works promoting economic freedom to US Hispanic youth with a non-partisan, non-profit. In the past she has worked for the Leadership Institute and the Center for a Free Cuba. She has spoken at events and universities across the country on youth and Hispanic outreach. Follower her on twitter at @bmorrett.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown could learn a lesson from 'Lincoln'

The film shows that messy deal-making is often needed to solve complex and divisive problems. And California has a raft of them. 


Abraham Lincoln (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) walks through the corridors

 of the White House in this scene from director Steven Spielberg's movie "Lincoln." (DreamWorks)

 SACRAMENTO — The movie "Lincoln" should be required viewing for all elected chief executives from president to mayor, and especially for California's governor.

Especially our governor because California has so many perplexing, polarizing problems that urgently need fixing: an outdated, inefficient tax system; a business regulatory sump; deteriorating public schools and universities; and a crumbling infrastructure, including state waterworks.

For starters "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president, shows how great public deeds can be achieved in the real world of American democracy.

In fact, make "Lincoln" required viewing for all legislators, from Congress to state capitals to city councils.

Moreover, every voter should see it — at least those idealists who cling to the misguided notion that politicians must be pure and not truly representative of the people who elect them; that they should be angelic, not human.

Politicians — even the most dedicated and well-intentioned — are torn by conflicting cross-currents of human nature. It's rare that anything momentous is achieved by an easily cobbled consensus. There are always potential winners and losers at one another's throats.

Sometimes an inducement needs to be dangled to persuade a hesitant — often scared — lawmaker to cast a difficult vote. OK, call it a payoff.

"Lincoln" is about the Great Emancipator's tenacious fight to prod Congress into passing the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery before the Civil War ends. After peace arrives, the pressure will be off, he fears. His Emancipation Proclamation had covered only rebel states and might not even hold up constitutionally after the war.

Lincoln is short 20 Democratic votes in a lame-duck session of the House of Representatives. Advisors say it's too risky to push ahead, that it could cost him his popularity.

"We can find 20 votes," the president says confidently, and notes that dozens of Democrats lost their seats in the recent election. They'll be "Democrats looking for jobs" when the current session ends, he notes. Offer them.

Finally, Lincoln gets within two votes, but his aides and hired lobbyists are losing hope. The impatient president is sitting with them and slaps the table. "I can't listen to this anymore," he yells. He wants those votes this week. "Now get the hell out of here and get 'em." Asked how, he stands, stretching his 6-foot, 4-inch frame, and lectures them about presidential politics.

Here, I'll quote from Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Lincoln." The movie was based, in part, on the book, and uses this quote from Lincoln exhorting his naysaying help:
"I am President of the United States, clothed with great power. The abolition of slavery by constitutional provision settles the fate, for all coming time, not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come — a measure of such importance that those two votes must be procured.

"I leave it to you to determine how it shall be done. But remember that I am President of the United States, clothed in immense power, and I expect you to procure those votes."

Goodwin continues: "It was clear to his emissaries that his powers extended to plum assignments, pardons, campaign contributions and government jobs for relatives and friends of faithful members."

One Democrat changed his vote, Goodwin writes, and later "was given the lucrative post of Navy agent in New York."

In the movie, a couple regains ownership of a toll road, which had been confiscated by a Union commander, after they persuade their congressman to vote for the amendment.

A Democratic congressman is told he'll lose his seat unless he supports the amendment. He votes yes.
Satchels of greenbacks are passed to persuadable congressmen.
It's "shady work," notes Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn).
After the amendment passes, abolitionist Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) remarks that the measure succeeds because of "corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America."

Much of what Lincoln and his lieutenants pulled may be illegal today in California.
Hinting, winking, speaking in code are all legal. Offering a quid pro quo — something of value for a vote — is not. That's bribery.
In the 1980s, the FBI conducted a Sacramento sting that led to 14 convictions involving political payoffs. Five of those nabbed were lawmakers.
"In this day and age, you have to be careful," says political attorney Steve Merksamer, chief of staff to former Gov. George Deukmejian. "That's not to say that governors, when in the process of building Cabinets or making other appointments, don't have feelings and don't remember who were nasty to them — as well as people who have been responsive to their leadership.

"That's just human nature."
Same thing with bill signings and vetoes. Reward friends and punish enemies.
Gov. Jerry Brown's father, legendary Gov. Pat Brown, was a master of deal-making. It's how he got the state water project built.

Key jobs and judgeships were paid out. Some small recreational lakes were built to satisfy one influential assemblywoman.

Jerry Brown has been much less of a deal maker, perhaps still rebelling against his dad's old-fashioned politics.

Last year, Brown failed to cut a deal with Republicans to place a proposed tax extension on the ballot. Each side blamed the other. The end result was that the governor hit up special interests for millions of dollars to collect voter signatures for the tax increase Californians ultimately passed.

Brown did see the movie, calling it "extraordinary." He was particularly impressed with Lincoln's "preternatural skill" in working the congressmen. Let's hope the governor picked up a few pointers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Opinion: GOP is still not serious about immigration reform

U.S Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) (L) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (R) listen during a news conference November 27, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senator Hutchison and Kyl held a news conference to discuss immigration reform.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The ability of the GOP to develop a long-term strategy to grow the party appears to be in crisis. The party which was once confident about its own values has grown perpetually concerned about its ability to diversify its appeal.

Over the last decade, the GOP strategy to win elections has been basically this: limit the participation of minorities through onerous registration and voting laws, and do anything possible to obstruct the political integration of the growing Latino population. But if blowhards like Rush Limbaugh were so sure of the universal appeal of their message, immigration reform and voting laws would be a non-issue.

Perhaps it is because their message isn’t so universal, and instead panders to a specific group of voters that they are so concerned about immigration reform. The GOP talking heads love to rail against ethnic pandering, yet when ninety percent of your voters are non-Hispanic white and your most reliable voter base is the retirement community, cultural pandering is exactly what you are doing.

Nowhere is this pandering more evident than when the GOP is forced to confront immigration reform. The fight over immigration reform began with a whimper yesterday when lame duck Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona presented an alternative to the Dream Act that would offer legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, but differed in that it would not provide beneficiaries with a pathway to citizenship.

It is not clear what purpose yesterday’s event served but to reaffirm in the minds of Latinos that the GOP is fundamentally unserious about immigration reform.

The Democrats are expected to lay out their own framework for immigration reform today, which will be broader in scope and address the problems with our immigration system that impacts more than just Dreamers. Given the political climate, the Democrats are right to focus the discussion on comprehensive reform, but it seems that the GOP response will be once again to limit the discussion to variations of the Dream Act.

Which is odd given that just last week, Republicans such as Carlos Gutierrez formed a super-PAC to help shape the immigration debate for the party. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Mrs. Hutchinson and Mr. Kyl. Perhaps Senator Rubio, who is still working on his own version of the Dream Act is coordinating with Mr. Gutierrez.

The fight over whether we have a piecemeal approach or a comprehensive solution will be the center of the battle over immigration reform. President Obama has indicated that he is committed to comprehensive reform that addresses family cohesion, status normalization and the economic needs of the country, but there is no indication by any Republicans that they are committed to this.

The GOP should be called out on this, and since Mr. Gutierrez has volunteered to be the face of Latino outreach for the party, perhaps he should be the one to answer questions about the lack of seriousness coming from his people.

None of this is very encouraging if you are a Republican who views this issue as an important first step in building a party for the future. So far there has been much talk about toning down the assault on Latinos by the GOP, but sending out lame duck Senators to get the ball rolling with proposals that are non-starters is probably not a good way to begin.

If the GOP plans on being serious about winning over Latino voters they should stop promoting half-baked approaches to immigration reform that display an utter lack of confidence in its ability to broaden the party’s appeal. The GOP claims that its values are based on the universality of the founding principles of the country, but if that were true, the stonewalling we’re seeing by Hutchinson and Kyl wouldn’t make such a mockery of that belief.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Romney: Obama won because of “gifts” he gave Latinos, blacks and young voters

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sarah Westwood: Advice From a Lonely College Republican

If the election results told us anything, it's that the GOP has some serious soul searching to do. On paper, Mitt Romney's history of accomplishment towered over President Obama's train wreck of a record, so his loss seemed nearly inexplicable. But Mr. Obama carried his key groups so easily that Republicans should give him props for such a feat— and start taking notes.

In politics, as in life, perception is key. The Chicago machine and the Democratic National Committee as a whole have perfected the art of marketing, even when they've got nothing to sell. They're like a used-car salesman who pushes lemons on unsuspecting drivers and never gets caught. Democrats can home in on Latinos, blacks, single women, young voters—and have them chanting "Four more years!" before they know what hit them.

I happen to be one of the latter, a college student at a time when youth is a hot political commodity. Most kids my age bristle at the word "conservative," and I don't blame them. The right has done nothing to welcome young people.

If Republicans hope to win in 2016 and beyond, they need to change everything about the way they sell themselves. They're viewed by the 18-24 set as the "party of the rich" and as social bigots. That harsh, flawed opinion could be rectified if Republicans started presenting their positions in a different way. The GOP is like a supermodel who has been doing photo shoots under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup. But fix the lighting, dab on some foundation and highlight her good side, and she can take the most attractive picture.

My age group is one pocket of voters who Republicans should be carrying with ease. Youth is all about rebellion and freedom and independence—things the Democratic Party preaches but doesn't deliver. Behind their clever one-liners lurks a government shackle waiting to be slapped onto the wrists of every young voter they ensnare.

The left proudly shouts "stick it to the rich," which naturally draws the rambunctious college crowd into its fold. But Democrats fail to mention how broadly they define the rich—or that in reality, they want to dip into everyone's wallets, not just Bill Gates's.

Shame on Republicans for not seizing the opportunity this time around. They could so easily define their brand as the true advocate of rebellion; a "stick it to the government" movement in the spirit of the 1960s hippie wave.

It wouldn't be a smoke-and-mirrors, bait-and-switch trick either, like what goes on across the aisle. Republicans truly are the party of a less intrusive ruling class. Frame the Republican fundamentals—tax less, spend less—as a fresh populist approach instead of Grandpa's adage, and the party is back in business.

Another leg up that the left has is its claim to the moral high ground. The party of pro-choice, pro-gay has such a hold on young people because those are issues they can care about easily. Not many 20-year-olds can hold a coherent conversation about Social Security reform or double taxation, but all of them can argue passionately for gay rights.

As a member of this all-important demographic, I know that neither I nor (almost) anybody else coming of age today supports the Republican social agenda. That's the way the country is moving—so just deal with it. Modernize and prioritize.

Though it may be painful, though it may be costly at the polls in the short run, Republicans don't have a future unless they break up with the religious right and the gay-bashing, Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young voter. By fighting to legally ban abortion, the party undercuts the potential to paint itself as a rebel against the governmental-control machine.

Embracing a more liberal social agenda doesn't require anyone to abandon her own personal values; it's possible to keep faith and the party too. But the evangelical set essentially hijacked the Republican Party in the 1970s; now we need to take it back. Thawing the icy attitude of our most vocal, radical voices—including the raucous right (a la Limbaugh)—could let a fatally fractured party put the pieces together again.

The GOP won't survive if it doesn't start courting young voters. Simple math dictates that the Republican Party can wrest power away from the left only if it builds an army of fresh young members into its base. Democrats are the ones doing that now.

Ms. Westwood will be a sophomore at George Washington University in January.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Exclusive Podcast Interview: Secretary Julian Castro & Congressman Joaquin Castro

Congressman Joaquin Castro & Secretary Julian Castro

The Castro brothers, Joaquin and Julian, interview exclusively for Jimmy's Politico about the impact of Latinos in America!

Exclusive Interview: Sen Dog of Cypress Hill and Election Day!

Sen Dog of Cypress Hill interviewing for Jimmy's Politico!

In an exclusive interview for Jimmy's Politico, Sen Dog of Cypress Hill talks about the impact of Latinos in America and gives a strong message to Latino youth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Opinion: Don’t be a fool, vote

Opinion: Don’t be a fool, vote

Some argue that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney deserve your vote on Tuesday.
But you are a fool if you consciously decide not to vote for president on Tuesday. You are a fool because this is your country and this is a democracy, and to abstain from making a choice for president is cowardly. If you feel you have been disrespected, then you know nothing about politics and you are just being a whiny baby. Grow up.

You are a fool because Latinos have shed blood in every war since the Revolution and the Civil War to protect this right to vote. Honor your ancestors with the courage of taking part in the basic democratic function of determining the pathway for your posterity.

You are a fool because our culture runs through the veins of this country. The oldest European city of this country is Spanish, St. Augustine in Florida, and when it was established, the largest city on the continent was a city built by Latino sweat and blood, Mexico City. Unlike Jamestown, St. Augustine still stands, and Mexico City is still the largest city on the continent. Be proud. This is your land.

You are a fool if you do not vote for president because you are perfectly capable of understanding the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney outside of the narrow issue of immigration, and within the broader scope of what is the best direction for Latinos in general.

You are a fool if you do not vote for president because if you think you are being disrespected now; wait until future candidates discover you are the type to expect the dignity of genuine attention without exhibiting the capacity to make a difficult decision.

You are a fool if you do not vote for president because the direction of our health care policy is a live or die issue for Latinos. Both candidates have staked a clear position on this issue. If you are too consumed by your own narcissistic feelings about respect to act like a grown up, then by all means, self deport to an uninhabited island where you can live in the comfort of your own empty voice.

You are a fool if you do not vote because there are people who would love it if you did not vote, and in fact are working diligently to help you along with your sophomoric little protest. A cottage industry has been built around creating a facade of voter fraud to justify laws that will be used against you at the ballot box. Your right to vote is being fought over at the federal level because of laws that help prevent these assaults, like the Voting Rights Act.

Who do you think appoints the Attorney General who will defend your right to vote?
You are a fool if you do not vote for president because the ability to make decisions about birth control disproportionately affects Latinas, who are poorer and have less access to resources that help them exercise their reproductive rights. Who do you think will appoint the Supreme Court Justices that will defend this right and help ensure that our family and friends have access to safe medical procedures?

You are a fool if you do not vote because our Latino sons and daughters, right now, are risking their lives abroad for our country. They are in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe. Latinos are standing guard for you. The least you can do is help decide who their Commander in Chief will be.

Don’t be a fool on Tuesday. Vote for president.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sergio Romo wears 'I just look illegal' shirt at S.F. Giants parade

Los Angeles Times article, October 31, 2012

San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo made a political statement with his T-shirt "I just look illegal." Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images
It was a typical championship parade for the San Francisco Giants: confetti fell to the streets, players waved and the crowd in orange and black roared.
Talk back LA
But pitcher Sergio Romo's T-shirt -- which said, "I Just Look Illegal" -- may be the most talked-about part of the celebration.

As The Times' Dylan Hernandez wrote last week, Romo was raised in Brawley, Calif., a small farming community about 20 miles north of the Mexican border. His parents, who met in Brawley, were born in Mexico.

For many of the city's residents, Hernandez writes, Romo represents "the latest link in a chain of baseball players that dates back to the 1930s."

Many of these players would cross the Mexican border on weekends to compete in adult leagues in the city of Mexicali. Promising young players would be invited to play shortly after they entered high school. In this way, a devotion to the game was passed from one generation to the next.
So when pitcher Sid Monge broke in with the Angels in 1975, many of the players in town felt he took part of them to the major leagues with him. They felt the same way about Rudy Seanez, who played 17 big league seasons with nine teams, including the Dodgers. And now they feel like that about Romo.

"Everybody has a little story about Rudy, Sergio and Sid," said Rusty Garcia, who was Seanez's pitching coach at Brawley Union High.
Romo is remembered as the child who used to tag along with his father on weekends to Mexicali. Memories of those days were shared over lunch recently at Las Chabelas, where six men gathered at a back table to trade stories.

"Remember how much of a pain he was?" Reyes asked the others. "Sergio was so hyper when he was a little kid."

Romo's shirt quickly drew reaction on Twitter as images of his shirt circulated. See some of the comments below and tell us what you think:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Opinion: Latinos will decide Romney’s Presidential Fate

If the Presidential elections were held today, Mitt Romney would lose the election according to many polls. The swing group that will decide his fate…the Latino voters.

Related: Obama and Romney intensify their Latino outreach in Florida

According to the Washington Post, “Obama continues to hold a large lead over Romney among Latinos after the conventions — 66 percent to 29 percent, pretty much where he was before them. Romney has to boost his percentage — a lot. Sen. John McCain got an estimated 31 percent of the Latino vote in 2008. While there’s some dispute on the numbers, George W. Bush got an estimated 35 percent of the Latino vote in 2000 and around 40 percent of that vote in 2004.”

Romney is in full “Latino” gear to capture our hearts (our votes & our tans). As I tagged along for the ride, the Governor’s first stop last week was the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) annual convention, which my hometown of Los Angeles played host this year.

Governor Romney spoke at the USHCC’s  “Ultimate Latina Luncheon”, of course sponsored by BMW and the “ultimate machine”. The luncheon was honoring Cristina Saralegui. I guess someone told Romney that in order to get the Latino vote, you first have to get through our Latinas. As many people know about our culture, women are the core matriarch of the family. You get to them and you get to all of us! Romeny’s mission…failed.

As I was assisting Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry present to Javier Palomarez, CEO/President of the USHCC, the City proclamation stating that day “The official day of Latina entrepreneurs” in the City of Los Angeles, I could not stop to think of the dichotomy of where I stood.

Just a few moments ago, the candidate for the presidency of the United States, was pitching himself once again to Latinos as the better Presidential candidate. As a Republican myself, I unfortunately found Romney’s speech lacking passion and ganas. I also found it insulting that he did not lay out his plan to overhaul federal immigration policies, or at a minimum explain how “self-deportation” actually works.

Romney said that his focus is on economic development. According to Immigration Reform for America, their study concluded that if  “…improving the process of immigration policies, it would generate generated 66 billion in revenue over 10 years, mostly from income and payroll taxes from new and newly-legalized immigrants.”

Interesting…because if Romney and President Obama (with his 1.2 million deportes) do not see immigration reform as the platform for economic development, I really do not want eitherr as President of these United States of America. Romney has had years to prepare for his candidacy. If he does not get it now, he definitely will not get it by Election Day,

I then witnessed a few days of great television…I know it sounds like an oxymoron. Univision’s Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas interviewed both Governor Romney and President Obama individually. As a political junkie, I was not only in heaven but I saw true journalism when both candidates were grilled with hard questions about their platforms.

At the end, I felt that both candidates failed me. I saw the same blame game and finger pointing that gridlocks all levels of our American government. I commend Univision for their commitment to their viewers and to the American people.

Finally, I witnessed again on television (it must be Emmy’s week) Jorge Ramos as a guest on George Stephenopolous’ show, This Week . Jorge was on a panelist group that included both Republican and Democrat strategists, and also Ann Coulter. So I was ready with popcorn in hand to watch the battle royal. To my surprise, this was by far the best show George Stephenopolous has had, and the show did not even include my favorite analyst George Will.

I saw Jorge Ramos truly represent Latinos as he answered questions and gave his opinion on the campaign and upcoming elections. He did it with style and grace that left me speechless. But the best was saved for last. Jorge went head to head with Ann Coulter. For those who do not know who she is, then I don’t know where you have been hiding. Ann is basically like a Rush Limbaugh, but who is a blonde and wears a skirt.

Ann represents that 1% of angry Americans who must find a scape goat for their problems and who do not take responsibility for their actions…tu sabes.

Jorge Ramos is the man. He gracefully and with dignity and a smile placed Ann back in her place. He did it with facts. He did it with respect. He did like a Latino.

Oh yes…we have a Presidential election coming up in November. In all honesty, I am tired of voting for the “least of two evils.” I know we have great young candidates out there that can truly represent America. I think its time for both parties to really look inwardly and realize that they are in need of reorganization.

Related:Opinion:Republicans are grooming Latino leaders, Dems are not

I have been waiting for thirty-nine years for this past week to finally arrive. America….the sleeping giant is now fully awake.