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.
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