Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tancredo Strikes at Latinos Again: The GOP Must Renounce the Tea Party

This past weekend the Tea Party again showed its true colors as its first convention speaker was former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.). Tancredo should be a major embarrassment to the GOP, which Eidberto Roman highlighted in the inaugural post on this blog. He opened up the convention with controversial remarks about Obama voters: "People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House." He also advocated a civics test and literacy test for voters. A founder of the Tea Party said: "Tom Tancredo gave a fantastic speech last night."

Well, consider these facts. First, Obama carried voters with postgraduate degrees by 64 to 36, or 28 percentage points over McCain. Second, Obama gained eight points among college graduates relative to John Kerry in 2004. Third, the only group where Obama did not out poll Kerry is among the least educated--those with no college. Thus, the highly educated keyed Obama's victory, and Obama attracted more educated voters to the Democratic cause than John Kerry.

Next, consider the educational attainment of the states McCain carried versus those Obama carried. What do Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana have in common? First, they are lowest states in the union in terms of high school graduation. Second they are each deep red states that voted for McCain. What do Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have in common? First, they have the highest educational attainment in terms of advanced degrees. Second, each state is a deep blue state that voted for Obama.

More facts? Let's consider Tancredo's statement that Obama is an "avowed" socialist. Sarah Palin explicitly supported the greatest act of socialism in the history of the US when she supported the bailout of Wall Street. Moreover, it is obvious from this clip that she is utterly clueless about the bail out and has zero economic understanding:

Anyone viewing that video must conclude that Sarah Palin is an economic ignoramus. And, she is the keynote speaker at the Tea Party; in fact, reports put her speaking fee at $100,000. A central part of her speech was opposition to the bailouts. Is the Tea Party really ignorant of her strong (even if clueless) support of the bailout when she was on top of the GOP national ticket?

The Tea Party ought to be careful what it wishes for because they may not score very high on a fair test of current events or being well-informed regarding the positions of the candidates.

Which brings me back to Tancredo: All educated persons know that the reference to literacy tests harkens back to Jim Crow. Thus, commentators such as Rachel Maddow can be forgiven for terming Tancredo's rant a "big loud racist bang."

Tancredo's not so subtle slap at Latino voters (nonsensically claiming that there were voters who could not say the word "vote") who voted 2 to 1 in favor of Obama is not likely to endear the Tea Party to this growing voting block. The very fact they would pick Tancredo to open their first convention shows that the Tea Party is a whites only organization, hostile to people of all other colors.

So the GOP faces a stark choice. They either renounce the hateful message of Tancredo and the Tea Party. Or, they run the risk of further alienating voters of color and losing the Latino and African American vote permanently.

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