A few observations on the debate:
* I really wish politicians would treat Americans of Hispanic origin as citizens, in all their heterogeneity, rather than simply ascribe to them their own political leanings. McCain, for instance, started off with this: “Hispanics are pro-small business, they are pro-life, they are pro-religion, they are pro-less regulation, pro-less spending, pro-military, they’re serving in incredible numbers in Iraq as we speak today.” First, of course, is the simply falsity of some of these claims; for instance, chart 18 of this Pew poll shows that Hispanic Republicans are more supportive of big government than white Democrats (“Would you rather pay higher taxes to support a larger government that provides more services or pay lower taxes and have a smaller government that provides fewer services?”). But ignorance is what I expect of politicians — it’s the objectification of Hispanics strikes me as morally worse. The gold standard for that is Bill Richardson, who told a Mexican delegation (one of whose members related the incident in a 2006 Backgrounder I published), “What do Hispanics want? Fully funded government programs!” That’s actually a more accurate claim than McCain’s but they share the perspective of Hispanics as a kind of Rorschach test where politicians see what they want to see.
* Huckabee still hasn’t figured this issue out. McCain and Giuliani are openly calling for amnesty, but Huckabee’s new immigration plan says that “Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.” Yet in Sunday’s debate he responded to “what to do with the 12 million of undocumented that already live in the United States?” by echoing the Pence “touchback” amnesty scheme: “If you can get an American Express card in two weeks, it shouldn’t take seven years to get a work permit to come to this country in order to work on a farm.” He’d said the same thing earlier in the day, on Fox News: “But that pathway to get back here legally doesn’t take years. It would take days, maybe weeks, and then people could come back in the workforce.”
* What right does Jorge Ramos, one of Univision’s anchors, have to moderate a debate for American citizens about the American presidential election? The man is a foreigner — I don’t mean foreign-born, I mean a foreign citizen. As this profile explains, Ramos “maintains Mexican citizenship in order to have the option to return there one day.” Ramos (a “minority” champion who’s one of the whitest men I have ever seen) has written, among other books, No Borders: A Journalist’s Search for Home and is an explicit cultural separatist; from a 2002 column (original here, Allan Wall’s translation here):
“The famous and stereotypical idea of the melting pot is a myth. The European immigrants — Italians, Germans and Poles, that preceded the Latinos assimilated rapidly to the American culture. But the Latinos have achieved the feat of integrating economically to the United States without losing their culture. Such a phenomenon has never occurred before.”
As Allan asks, “Would Mexico allow Lou Dobbs to moderate a debate for Mexican presidential candidates? Of course not.”
* I’m no RonPaulista, but you’ve got to admire a guy who tells a Cuban audience in Miami that “Actually, I believe we’re at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba.” He was booed, which was predictable, but it’s good to have politicians who are at least occasionally willing to say things that will get them booed.