There was some hope among Republican strategists, especially Karl Rove, that this formula might also work with the rapidly growing Latino vote and guarantee a g.o.p. majority in perpetuity. "Rove had a point. My people are very conservative on social values," says Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat. "We're family oriented, a lot of small-business owners. But the Republicans have blown that opportunity now. Even the Pentecostals are sending busloads to the protests. Spanish-language radio is announcing the vote on every amendment to the Senate immigration bill. You've got a generation of young Latino citizens whose first political impression is that Republicans are people who want to deport their parents."If this is the impression they have of Republicans, are they likely to vote that way? Keep in mind that this is a voting block that went 44% for President Bush in 2004, and is largely up for grabs still. But now, the rhetoric of people like Tom Tancredo, James Sensenbrenner, Michelle Malkin, and others has placed that in jeopardy.
As Shakespeare once put it:
[W]hen lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.Republicans have almost blown a chance to show they could handle a major crisis involving people - and do so by considering people. Instead, they seem determined to enforce the letter of the current law, without any consideration as to whether the current law was working. As such they are going to end up hated. Sooner or later, it will hurt the GOP at polls. Not just only with Hispanic voters, but it will also hurt them with moderates, who now wonder just who they can trust now that both Democrats and Republicans are showing themselves to have some serious inadequacies.