Journal Fails to Keep Martinez Relevant Nationally

Fox News contributor Michael Coleman has a column in the Albuquerque Journal today suggesting the GOP “might want to check in with a couple of prominent New Mexico Republicans” about its problem with turning out Hispanics to vote. 

Only someone lost deep inside the Conservative bubble could see the results of the last election and think Susana Martinez has the cure for Hispanic disaffection with the Republican Party. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanic voters in New Mexico went for Barrack Obama. He crushed here. This is not mentioned in Coleman’s piece. 

There are enlightening quotes like this from Martinez, though: 

“We have to be part of the solution and also be very mindful of the rhetoric,” Martinez said. “We’re not mindful of how damaging that rhetoric – such as self-deport – is. We need to earn the respect and support of Hispanics, and that doesn’t do it.” 

Got that? It’s really about feelings, not policy. Rhetoric. 

Coleman also asked Steve Pearce for his expert opinion on why Hispanics vote in huge numbers against Republicans. “It’s not about patronizing or giving ground; it’s about relationships,” Pearce said. 

That’s wrong. What it’s about – and Coleman should know this – is the economy. Polls demonstrated clearly that jobs and the economy were the No. 1 issue, by far, on Hispanic voters’ minds when they vote. They’re just like the rest of us. But because we’re talking about Hispanics, Coleman has to focus on the immigration issue above whether government in New Mexico is working to help people. 

(Just a guess since I’m a whitey, but Hispanics might also be mad that that politicians and the newspaper keep saying their big issue is immigration, even as they’re unable to find work and their kids’ cash-strapped school districts are cutting budgets further.)

The drivers’-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants issue doesn’t come up in Coleman’s column, either, but I wonder whether that may have hurt New Mexico Republicans as well. It was a nasty move when you break it down: Martinez said she wanted the law undone because it leads to fraud, so Democrats offered a compromise to crack down on fraud in numerous ways, which the governor rejected. Then, she turned around and used out-of-state Super PAC money for ads attacking Democrats as being on the side of illegal immigrants. Hard to be for helping a group of people when they’re your best card to play against political opponents, right?

Incidentally, New Mexico has reportedly become the No. 1 state in the entire country for income inequality. And while most states have been growing economically, New Mexico lost thousands of jobs in several industries between October 2011 and October 2012. 

If the governor has any ideas about improving the New Mexico economy, we haven’t heard them from her. Instead of asking about that, Coleman predictably gets into the obnoxious, meaningless comments of the man who lost the presidential election and likely won’t be heard from again: 

Martinez was baffled by Romney’s post-election comments in which he blamed his loss on “gifts” that Obama promised certain voting blocs, such as citizenship for children who were brought into the country illegally. 

Republicans have been loving when reporters ask about Mitt Romney’s “gifts” sound bite. Instead of addressing actual, key economic issues like tax reform or job growth, they’ve been able to just adamantly deny that they think middle-class Americans want “gifts” from the government. Martinez and her GOP buddies should thank Romney – he helped them look friendly and dodge tough issues. Though if Romney hadn’t made that dumb remark, bubble-encased reporters like Coleman would have found some other way to get them quoted in the paper without actually saying anything.

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