CommunityPam's House Blend

Bush losing the Hispanic Evangelicals

“There’s an old saying in Texas, I think they have it in Mexico, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, too. ‘Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me… uh… you can’t get fooled again!'”

Looks like the Jeebus-lovin’ Hispanic population is worried more about deportation and prison than married fags or dying womb babies:

Evangelical Hispanics turning away from GOP
Once-promising alliance fractures over immigration crackdown

WASHINGTON – House Republicans knew that leaders of liberal Hispanic organizations would castigate them for passing hard-edged legislation last December calling for 700 miles of new fencing on the U.S.-Mexican border and for elevating illegal immigration to a felony and making it a permanent disqualifier for American citizenship. What they didn’t foresee was that the Rev. Luis Cortes Jr., one of the most prominent Hispanic evangelicals to support President Bush’s re-election, would turn against their party.

The 48-year-old Baptist minister heads Esperanza USA, which bills itself as the nation’s largest Hispanic faith-based community- development organization. It controls Nueva Esperanza (Spanish for “new hope”), a Philadelphia-based network of social services, including a charter high school, a community college, and a $28 million economic development program.

After the 2000 election, Bush’s political team was determined to boost the president’s support among Latino voters and correctly saw evangelical Hispanics — nearly one-fifth of the Hispanic population — as especially promising. Cortes became a focus of that strategy.

In 2004, the Bush administration’s courtship paid off. Cortes, who had backed Ralph Nader in 2000, endorsed Bush. And on Election Day, Bush’s share of the Hispanic vote rose from 31 percent to at least 40 — with virtually all of the increase coming not from Catholics but from Protestant evangelicals like Cortes. After the election, Cortes told The New York Times, “I’m not red, and I’m not blue. I’m brown. You want an endorsement? Give us a check, and you can take a picture of us accepting it. Because then you’ve done something for brown.”

But now, House Republicans’ hard-line stands on immigration are clearly jeopardizing their party’s gains among Hispanic evangelicals. Over the past year, in a shift frightening to GOP operatives, Cortes has become an outspoken critic of the House Republican leadership, warning of a massive exodus of Latinos from the GOP. “The Far Right is using rhetoric to frame [immigration] in a manner that convinces the majority of Americans that the only alternative is to hunt down and punish these ‘drug-dealing people,’ ” Cortes told National Journal. Republican House leaders “have gone too far, a sign that they are desperate and have no true agenda for our country. They should be ashamed, and as a person of faith I have to believe that this will backfire, as it is clearly an act of cowardice.”

Tsk, tsk. No amor para el presidenté de Estados Unidos.

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