After a primary campaign against Steve Poizner that featured plenty of anti-immigration tough-talk, bigot pandering, and downright shameless demagoguery on Mexican immigration issues, Meg Whitman is trying to sing a different immigration tune - en Español.
Recognizing the huge importance of the Latino vote in California's general election (Whiteman needs at least 30 percent of Latinos to win), Whitman's advisers told her to "move away from immigration to broaden her appeal.” Comprising over 21% of the electorate in 2008, the raw power of California's Latino voters is critical to any election. And Whitman’s positioning among Latinos is... well, it's not so good.
As Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum recently said of the way Latinos perceive the GOP on immigration: “This issue is killing the Republican Party.”
Hoffenblum added, “This is bringing back all the fears that the Republican Party is the white man’s party.”
As a band-aid, Whitman has released two expensive, slick Spanish-language ads targeting Latino voters for the warm-and-fuzzy treatment. One ad highlights Whitman's opposition to the controversial Arizona law. It also announces that Whitman opposed Proposition 187, the California ballot measure that would have denied taxpayer-funded services to illegal immigrants. The other ad focuses on jobs for Latinos.
Whitman's reference to Proposition 187 is especially hypocritical, because Whitman hired former Gov. Pete Wilson to manage her gubernatorial campaign. Wilson's persona was used to silently validate Whitman’s “tougher than you on immigration” stance in the GOP primary.
But her most recent statements in the Spanish language ads are in sharp contrast to her Mexican-bashing primary message.
Although Whitman earlier expressed her opposition to Arizona's SB1070 law, she was careful to announce her opposition to the law was because she had a tougher plan in mind than Arizona's draconian law.
During her Republican primary against Poizner, Whitman talked plenty tough: “Let me be very clear: I am 100 percent against amnesty, no exceptions... My view is until we actually do secure the border and actually stop illegal immigration, we can't talk about any other solutions and I am 100 percent against amnesty."
It remains to be seen whether Whitman will adjust her English-language vitriol on immigration, or whether voters will be faced with "Meg Whitman vs. Meg Whitman: Which Version Should We Believe?" on election day.
Click to view image: 'RINO Meg'
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