LatinaLista — With each passing day that Congress and the Obama administration do nothing to advance immigration reform, passage of the DREAM Act or address the current level of enforcement and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a department of Homeland Security, Latino pundits hit the airwaves delivering doomsday predictions of how Democrats can no longer assume that Latinos will follow their Pied Piper lead.
From a certain angle, that is correct. As columnist Ruben Navarrette recently wrote in his column “Latino support for Obama plunging“:
…Meanwhile, most of the Latinos I hear from no longer think Obama is entitled to their support. They aren’t particularly proud of the administration’s record on immigration, and they won’t defend it. In fact, many of them are concerned. Some are angry. They say they would prefer that Obama concentrate his efforts on fashioning an immigration reform plan that allows hardworking illegal immigrants to stay in the United States instead of trying to remove as many of them as possible.
Yet, a recent poll conducted by ImpreMedia and Latino Decisions gauging Latino opinion on Obama and Congress would, at first glance, indicate that Latino pundits, yours truly included, don’t have a clue when we say that Latinos aren’t as supportive of Obama these days, especially when a majority of Latinos are recorded as saying they “somewhat approve” of the job he and Congress are doing.
It would seem that the Latino community sees two Obamas — the President and political candidate and The Man.
The negative Latino opinion that does exist regarding Obama comes when he is judged against his own words. Promises, whether they’re made on the campaign trail or in the Oval Office, are unofficial personal contracts that people expect to be fulfilled by the person making the promise.
However, there is more leeway given to Obama the President. It’s understood that he and Congress have a list of duties and responsibilities respective to their offices. Since the White House and Democrats worked tirelessly in the last weeks leading up to the DREAM Act stand-off in Congress, it was understood (by the Latino community) that something was being done. A concern of the Latino community was addressed. Maybe as an afterthought or with a Hail Mary strategy, whichever way it is spun, it was clear that the Obama administration and the Democrats responded to Latino demands.
On the other hand, the insulting way Republicans treated DREAM students during this time and their continued silence on racist rhetoric directed to Latinos as voiced by some elements of their party, have done and continue to do nothing to endear the GOP to the Latino community.
In this regard, even if there was a charismatic GOP leader speaking on behalf of all Republicans, the unified behavior against Latinos from the party leadership doesn’t allow Latinos to see these party members as individuals. But rather, the arms and legs of an entity, that for all practical purposes, is dismissed by the Latino community.
Even Sarah Palin — who, for some reason, was included in the poll — couldn’t escape a negative opinion from the Latino community. But in her case, the negative opinion stems less from what she has said or done; and really, at this point, she is more guilty by association with the Tea Party than anything, but more because of a very simple observation that underscores the growing political savviness of Latino constituents — just because someone says they want to be president doesn’t mean they should be.