Skip to comments.Romney in Puerto Rico: a case study in political pandering
Posted on 03/19/2012 2:05:18 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
In Puerto Rico, for the price of 20 delegates, Mitt Romney sold out his conservative principles.
There is a long history of Congress requiring English to be the language of government and schools for territories seeking to be admitted to the Union e.g., Louisiana, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. For all of the territories that had large non-English speaking populations, Congress announced before the territories voted on the question of statehood that a change in language policy would be a prerequisite for statehood. In the case of Puerto Rico, where according to the latest Census only 15% of residents are fluent in English, the English language requirement is common sense. Puerto Rico operates its government, courts and public schools in Spanish, which sets it apart from the 50 existing states.
On Thursday, Romney called a radio station in San Juan (Noti-Uno) for an interview with a local reporter. When asked if he would support requiring that English became the principal language of government as part of a petition for statehood, Romney said no. When asked if he thought the legislature should have English as the principal language, once again Romney said no. He even opposed requiring English in the courts and public schools.
In Louisiana and Alabama, Mitt Romney is for English as the official language of the United States. In 2008, when Romney sought the GOP nomination, he was upfront about his opposition to bilingual education and his support for ending it in Massachusetts. But in Puerto Rico, he is a strong advocate of bilingualism and opposes requiring the state to make English the principal language of the legislature, courts and public schools. This only makes sense in the Romney World of Flip Flops.
But Romney took it a step further. He stated that a simple majority of 50% + 1 was enough for him to aggressively support statehood for Puerto Rico. As Rick Santorum said during his trip to Puerto Rico, We need a significant majority supporting statehood before its considered. Why would we want a state where nearly half of its residents do not want to be part of the Union?
Santorum should be commended for staying true to his conservative principles even when it was not politically convenient. Santorum could have pandered to the pro-statehood governor of Puerto Rico in order to get the 20 delegates at stake, but instead the former senator spoke the truth and told Puerto Rican voters a reality they needed to hear. Immediately after, Romneys campaign started attacking Santorum and maliciously twisting his comments, telling voters that the former senator was advocating English-only and was against Spanish.
Lets be clear: No one is talking about forcing people to speak English at home, or at their businesses or in church. The idea is that English should be the common language of the entire country and the key institutions of government should have English as their principal language. Currently, if an English-speaking American goes to a state government agency in Puerto Rico, or to a court proceeding or a public school, she will need a translator, because everything is run in Spanish. Puerto Rico even receives an exemption from the English testing requirements of federal education law. If Puerto Ricos residents want Puerto Rico to become the 51st state in the Union, local elected officials must begin the transition to having English as the common language.
Romney should be ashamed of himself for selling out for a lousy 20 delegates. While Romney has been on both sides of most issues, his excuse has been that he has matured and time has made him more conservative. But this huge flip flop didnt happen 10 years ago. It happened this week. He has betrayed two basic conservative principles, language and fiscal discipline, in a desperate pander to win a few delegates.
Selling his principles will probably work in Puerto Rico. However, how will he explain this flip flop to the voters in Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and West Virginia? Louisiana was required to make English its principal language. Why wouldnt Puerto Rico be required to do the same? Clearly, Romney has become a delegate whore. He will do whatever it takes to get the necessary delegates to secure the nomination. This is not the kind of leader that America needs.
To get America back on the right track, well need leaders who will be transparent and look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth, even when it is not popular. Clearly, Romney failed this basic leadership test in Puerto Rico. Conservative voters must take notice.
Romney is the Republican Bill Clinton, an abject, perhaps even pathological liar who will say anything at any time if it helps him get votes or increase his poll numbers. He is a man without core values, principles or ethics. This fact has been proven again and again and again. The damage he will do to the Republican brand if he’s elected could be incalculable. After his first term, we just may see the return of something like that 40 years of darkness we spent locked out of the House.
Ouch, nasty result.
Great he can win the Islands where does that get him in in November.?
Romney is an exceptionally good liar.
He is an ENTITLED sociopath.
Let me guess.. he learned to say “y`all” in Spanglish.
Willard sold out ? He can’t sell what he never had (then again, as a renowned pathological liar, that won’t stop him).
“After his first term”
He isn`t going to beat Obama, and the GOPe KNOWS he won`t. Romney`s nomination is centered on getting the Senate chairmanships back for the RINOs. It has little to do with defeating Obama.
However, before we get on this bandwagon I believe a fact check is necessary. Other posters on Free Republic have stated that English was **NOT** made a requirement for statehood of Louisiana, California, or New Mexico, and have pointed out that as a practical matter, large parts of Pennsylvania were German-speaking rather than English-speaking at the time of the American Revolution.
This may be a case in which Romney's flip-flopping will badly backfire in the Republican primaries in certain states where anti-Hispanic sentiment is strong. However, antagonizing Hispanic voters who live in a territory whose residents have been citizens for more than a century is just plain stupid, and I'm worried that Republicans will end up shooting themselves in the foot for short-term gains on this issue.
As far as I'm concerned this issue of language is a state's rights question unless someone can show me otherwise from clear precedent.
I strongly agree with everything you write, except that statement. The Republican brand is noxious even to many Republicans. With "leaders" like Graham, McCain, Romney, et al, the Republican nominee couldn't get 40% of the vote if the Democrat brand weren't so horrible.
Laughed so hard reading the first sentence that I couldn't read the rest.
What Conservative Principles? Romney doesn’t have any Conservative Principles. He is a liberal from start to finish.
He is an Obama clone they forgot to tint.
A huge amount of the antagonism against Hispanics today parallels the attacks on southern European immigrants, particularly Italians, a century ago. The reasons were very similar in nature. Today, apart from some really annoying Mafia jokes, most Italians don't have to put up with serious discrimination — phrases like “dirty Dago” are all but lost to modern vocabulary since most people would have no idea what they mean even if they heard the term “Dago” or “Wop.”
Only time will tell whether our current concerns about Hispanics go the same route.
My niece, who is fully fluent in English as well as Korean, chose to take her Missouri driver's license test in Korean mostly to see what the test was like.
If my elderly father- and mother-in-law choose to become United States citizens when they've lived in the US for the required number of years, due to their age they'll be able to take the citizenship test in Korean.
They speak no English and are in their eighties, so it is probably unreasonable to expect them to learn English now. They aren't looking for any sort of handout or gimme from the government, but what would it mean to say that the local, state, or federal governments shouldn't be allowed to accommodate their lack of ability to speak English?
We need to think through consequences of English-only advocacy. I have no problem in principle with tightening the current rules to say that English should always be required for naturalization, even though that would affect my own family, but it's not possible to make a mandatory English rule for citizenship of people born in the United States, and that applies to anyone in Puerto Rico who was born during the last century.
I believe there is one citizenship exception to english. It is if you are in the usa for 50 years AND are over the age of 70 (perhaps 65).
That law was put in place when we had extended families living together.
They speak no English and are in their eighties, so it is probably unreasonable to expect them to learn English now.
It is unreasonable tho allow your non-English speaking in-laws to become US citizens without being able to speak the language.
They would be allowed to vote without any first hand knowledge of any of the candidates since no debates nor TV ads are in Korean.
Of course, they could depend on their in-laws to tell them whom to vote for, but that is not how it is supposed to work.
Don't speak English, you can't be a citizen, period.
I've thought it through, and if you can't read this, you can't be a US citizen.
I honestly think whoever we nominate will win if the economy's as bad as it is now in November. The American public proved with Obama that they'll elect any empty suit that shows his face in favor of the incumbent party if the economy is bad. But I have no idea how Romney losing would help Republican Senators get elected. When Obama got elected didn't he bring in a bunch of Democrat Congressmen in as coattails? Obama isn't going to be telling his sycophants to vote Republican downticket. And if Romney loses, it'll be because Republicans either didn't show up to vote or voters decided they had more confidence in the Democrats to run things.
Except all most people pay attention to are the presidential candidates and President. When you have Romney defining what the Republican party means in most people's minds that's going to be a worse public relations debacle than New Coke. Not sure if McCain was the same problem. Most conservatives seem to disagree with him on fairly exotic or inside baseball issues that don't register much with the general public.
As for campaign material being available in Korean: actually, I've personally arranged for some campaign material in my county on the local level to be translated into Korean because there is a significant population of Korean-speaking wives of soldiers outside Fort Leonard Wood. However, I certainly agree that having Korean-language campaign material is not typical in most of the United States outside the West Coast, Chicago, and the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington corridor.
Unfortunately, even requiring a full-fledged literacy test for citizenship doesn't solve the issue in Puerto Rico with voting or with statehood. Virtually everyone today who is a native of Puerto Rico was born a citizen, unless there are still a few extremely old residents who were babies during the Spanish-American War, and while CLL can correct me if I'm wrong, I think all residents of Puerto Rico were granted citizenship in the United States at some point after the war without regard to their ability to speak English. I know for certain that was the case with New Mexico for everyone who didn't formally declare they wanted to remain Mexican citizens.
The problem today is what to do with a territory of people who certainly are not disloyal to the United States but who often speak English as their second language, not their first, and that's not an easy problem to solve.
Not exactly what I was looking for when I tried a Korean-language search engine to hunt down information about Santorum and see if any campaign information was available, but it's interesting. Kind of neat to see people saying they didn't know the Tea Party was a political party and saying this ad helped them understand the American elections better.
Most of what is available about Rick Santorum in Korean is either explaining the Googlebomb of his name being used as a synonym for byproducts of anal sex (YUCK!!!! — but I can see why that has to be explained to Koreans learning English) or newspaper articles from Korean media covering the United States election process.
I suspect if I went on the web I'd find a lot more material in Spanish and other languages supporting Romney and Obama than Santorum, simply because their campaigns are much better-funded.
Gingrich supporter warning: This ad blames Gingrich for his views on cap-and-trade, health care, etc. Don't assume that just because I posted the link that I agree with it. My attacks are on Romney and Obama, not on Gingrich.
And that's the rub. The regime through its "media" will direct the sheep to believe the Republicans were the cause of all the tumult. The "kick out the incumbents" dynamic isn't nearly as prevalent with a democrat in the White House.
Amazingly, last week's Ras survey found a plurality still somehow blame Bush for the economic malaise still gripping the country. That's a direct result of a highly sophisticated and powerful pro-Obama propaganda effort. And Obama's reelection campaign hasn't even started with the character assassination process of its opponent.
The GOPe's "strategy" is to nominate the moderate in order to avoid "alienating" the mushy middle, in hopes 'Pub candidates for Senate can pick off enough indie votes to eke out a Senate majority... this, assuming the House will stay in GOP hands.
Part of Obama's tactic -- if he thinks he's in any kind of trouble -- will be to frighten Americans into an abject fear of returning to the upheaval of 2008. He'll say, "Look at all the amazing progress we've made... jobs are being created, unemployment is heading down (never mind THAT'S based on false data), homes are getting sold, and everyone's happier... you don't want to go back to all that misery, do you?" To an easily spooked American populace, that's an effective message for someone willing to stop at nothing to hold power.
Sorry... I wish I could be more optimistic.. people like to use the 2010 elections as a harbinger of what's to come. The 2010 event was a course correction led by an energized, conservative subset of the American populace. But, what we're going to see this November will be the return of the broad representation of the electorate at large.. and on the whole, it's more liberal than we conservatives like to admit.
Why are territories that do not chuse Electors sending delegates to a Presidential nominating convention?
Both parties have done so, at least since the 1960s, and probably much longer.
Both parties have done so, at least since the 1960s, and probably much longer. “
So? Why on EARTH should Samoans or Puerto Ricans have any voice in this process?