When is Romney going to look like a challenger? Seems to play everything safe, make no news except burn off Hispanics.
— @rupertmurdoch via Twitter for iPad
The date of that Tweet is June 24. It's clear Rupert Murdoch thinks that Republicans can compete with Latinos, and is so convinced of this fiction that he pressed his favorite candidate at an event last week on the issue.
But one of the most notable exchanges was on immigration, when [Univision CEO Randy] Falco began by telling Romney how frequently President Obama has been on Univision in comparison to the Republican candidate, adding that he thinks it's important for the GOP hopeful to address what the president did on immigration a few weeks ago with his executive action move to halt some deportations.
Murdoch chimed in, three sources said, telling the candidate on the issue of immigration generally, "You have to take the fight to Obama on this." Romney said the Hispanic vote is important, noting he has Sen. Marco Rubio on the trail for him and that one of his own sons speaks Spanish, but indicated he is not going to change positions from some of what he said in the primaries.
"I know I took some positions in the primary that are" hard to contend with in a general, Romney said, according to two sources.
"I am not going to be a flip-flopper," he added, according to one guest. He talked more about the various concerns that he has to balance in terms of competing constituencies who have different views — and noted, two sources said, the precise percentage that Hispanic voters make up in the swing states, a figure that was less than 20 percent.
This is all pretty spectacular stuff.
1. The notion that his sons' language skills are in any way relevant to the Latino vote is patently absurd and, quite frankly, insulting. I'm sure at least some of his sons like girls. Does that guarantee Romney the women's vote? Sheesh.
2. Marco Rubio is as relevant to the Latino vote as Herman Cain is to the African American vote. In fact, it's worse—because most Latinos have deep-seated resentments against Cuban-Americans because of their preferential immigration treatment.
3. I wish we knew how Murdoch thinks Romney can "take the fight to Obama" on immigration. It is a fact that Latinos are not happy with Obama's immigration record, but that's because the Obama Administration deported more undocumented immigrants than even George W. Bush. So for Romney to successfully score points against Obama on the issue, he would have to do it from the left. Somehow, I doubt that's what Murdoch has in mind.
4. "I am not going to be a flip flopper," says Mitt Romney, King of the Flip Floppers.
5. Since Latinos are 20 percent of swing states, they don't matter? If he wants to cede the Latino vote, that's freakin' awesome. But the notion that 20 percent is somehow insignificant is pretty absurd. Unless you're winning states by more that 20 points, Latinos will have a big say in who emerges victorious.
6. Romney has to balance "competing constituencies." In other words, the teabaggers won't let him move left on immigration.
Looking at this story, it's clear that Romney has ceded the immigration debate, just as he's ceding the health care debate.
Indeed, the two are inextricably linked—his inability to punch hard on Obamacare (what with him being the father of it and all) has enraged the wingnuts. Further running afoul of them on immigration could lose him his base for good—something he can't afford. So if something has to give, it's going to be the brown people.