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Mitt Romney needs to do more than change his tone to attract Latino voters

LatinaLista — What does it say when someone endorses a political candidate and then turns around and cautions that same candidate to tweak his message?

(L-R) Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush

It actually says a lot more than we think.

Two days ago, Jeb Bush — a GOP favorite to throw his hat into the presidential ring — made it clear he didn’t want to follow in his father’s or brother’s footsteps. Instead, he endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

Yet, the endorsement isn’t all that much of an endorsement. It’s more of a bugle call to fellow GOPers to pull behind one candidate and stop splintering themselves among all the different presidential wannabes.

It’s pretty easy to see that Bush’s endorsement is only a half-hearted attempt at party unity, since only days after endorsing him, Bush called on Romney to tone his anti-Latino rhetoric down.

“He’s embraced education reform, which to me is the most important, aspirational set of policies. If you advocate reform, you’re going to get more people a chance to be successful. He has a pro-family perspective that I think is important and has been embraced by Latino families across the country. He has an agenda to embrace small businesses and I think emphasizing that in terms of regulatory reform, tax reform, will help with Latino voters. His own life experience is one that I think can be helpful. But, he’s got to change the tone a bit, that’s all – and I think a lot of the things, the emphasis,” Bush said.

But telling Romney, or any candidate, to change their tone in the middle of campaigning, is in effect telling them to change their messaging. To his many critics, any change in tone will be seized upon as an example of his “etch-a-sketch” practices which makes it unlikely that he would be willing to risk that kind of criticism at this juncture.

It would also make him suspect not just with his party base but also among Latino voters.

If Romney tones down his rhetoric to appease his endorsers, it doesn’t mean he’s changed his positions on the issues — against the DREAM Act, stronger immigration enforcement measures and the belief in self-deportation, to name a few.

These stands are still highly unpopular among the majority of Latino voters and underscore the need for Romney to do more than just change his tone if he wants the Latino vote — he needs to change his mind.


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