Former speaker of the House Republican Newt Gingrich has set up a new Spanish-language website.
Newt Gingrich’s simultaneous courtship of the base of the Republican Party and Latino voters could pose major problems for the former speaker of the House.
Gingrich, who is soon expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, frequently stresses the need for the GOP to reach out to Latinos. According to the 2010 census, Latinos are now the fastest-growing and largest minority group in the country.
Putting that call into practice, the former House Speaker has set up a bilingual news and opinion website directed at Latinos and has staked out a nuanced position on immigration reform that some critics have labeled amnesty.
Gingrich lays out in Spanish general ideas about national security, less government, jobs, health, education and the environment.
His broad immigration policy statements indicate that government must maintain its promise of protecting our borders and developing a new and effective temporary workers program.
The text adds that the United States is a country of immigrants that has drawn its energy from its people, but that it is also a nation of laws and must have a legal process of immigration and must not support illegal immigration.
The website adds that the one time the government did enact an amnesty plan, it was approved with the promise that federal authorities would secure the border and implement an effective program to identify employers to assure they would only hire legal employees, but it is obvious these promises were not kept and today there are new amnesty proposals from the left.
It concludes that any new visa workers system created to integrate illegal immigrants must use the latest technology to make violating that system impossible. And there must be patriotic assimilation of new immigrants, enhanced by making English the government’s official language and insisting immigrants learn English.
The Hill adds that:
The problem, according to some observers, is that Gingrich’s stance on immigration doesn’t lend itself to an easy explanation for a conservative talk-radio audience.
“If I was his adviser, I would just say, ‘Let’s call a truce on that one for now,’” said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who served with Gingrich in the House. “Immigration and illegal aliens are still a very, very hot topic. And people who will be voting in the Republican primary do not want to hear about any backdoor amnesty program.”
If Gingrich wants to be president, alienating conservative white voters with his appeal to Hispanics may be only the beginning of his problems as one prominent Hispanic Republican points out.
“How do you get a guy from the Southeast to win Hispanic voters over in California, Colorado, New Mexico?” asks Dee Dee Garcia Blase, executive director of SOMOS Republicans, a national organization of conservative Hispanic Republicans.
“He will have to walk on water,” she told The Colorado Independent.
“We appreciate his efforts in launching a Spanish English website, however, with the onslaught of these anti-Hispanic laws throughout the nation, the 2012 GOP Candidate will basically have to walk on water to woo the Hispanic voters.
“My concern is that Gingrich is not in the fortunate position that George W. Bush was in because Texas is heavily populated with Latinos, and Bush had good rapport with us in the Southwest. I’m not sure that Newt has that connection yet.
“Obama spent millions in Spanish radio, television, and print, while McCain only spent a little compared to that. If a GOP Presidential candidate is serious about running for the 2012 elections, he/she will need to do serious outreach with Latinos and not pay lip service.
“The GOP image is badly damaged due to how several GOP Congressmen and Senators voted on the DREAM Act. Hispanics are key to neutralizing some of the extreme elements within the Tea Party Movement. I believe the 2010 elections have proven that we can hurt and help political candidates.
“A web site won’t do it,” she said. “He is going to have to work extra hard, going into the neighborhoods and registering people to vote. I appreciate what he is doing, but I am very cautious.”
She said that while Gingrich has avoided the anti-Hispanic bandwagon, he has not been openly critical of those who lead efforts to demonize Hispanics.
Scot Kersgaard contributed additional writing and reporting.