Mormons are on a roll lately!
Last week I wrote about the minor kurfuffle caused by Utah Valley Magazine’s white “Women of Color.” Well yesterday, I came across this story on Huffington Post: “Craig Romney Touts Family’s Mexican Roots in Spanish-Language Ad.”
According to the Latino Decisions blog, Obama leads Romney among Latino voters by a wide margin (70% to only 22%), so I’m sure the Romney camp is praying that this ad can make a difference.
Here it is:
I’m Craig Romney. I want to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He really values that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For my family, the greatness of the US is that we all respect and help each other, no matter where we come from. As president, my father will work for a permanent solution for the immigration system, working with leaders of both political parties. I invite you listen to him.
My first thought: Wow, homeboy’s Spanish is pretty good! At least, it’s a lot better than his father’s stilted “I approve this message” addendum. Moreover, Craig’s clean-cut appearance neatly underscores the sweet, soft-focus scenes of inter-generational Latino heteronormativity.
On closer inspection, though, emerge the Republican party’s extremely facile assumptions about what will sway Latino voters. Among these wrong assumptions are:
- Apparently, one must speak Spanish to reach Latino voters. (In fact, the vast majority of US-born Latinos speak fluent English.)
- The idea that having an ancestor born in Mexico automatically translates into affinity for–over even basic familiarity with–that country’s history, cultures and traditions. Which it doesn’t.
- Finally, there’s the notion that merely stating a belief in the value of immigration is enough. Are Latinos not smart enough to ask, “Where’s the proof? What have you actually done to support immigrants and Latinos?”
Also among the “things that make you go ‘hmmm’” (shout out to the 1990s!) is what’s not stated: Romney’s forefathers were in Mexico because they wanted to continue their practice of polygamy , which had been outlawed in the US. How do you suppose this aspect of Romney history will go over with the 70% of Latinos who identify as Catholic? Funny how that wasn’t mentioned as part of their “Mexican” history.
This Craig Romney ad very much reminds me of when George P Bush, W’s nephew with Mexican ancestry, was conveniently trotted out to court the Latino vote for his uncle and sprinkle Spanish into campaign stops.
Do Republicans really think we Latinos are so monolithic and stupid as to be easily swayed by someone with brown skin or by someone who speaks decent Spanish? In light of the evidence, I’d say they sure do.