For those outside of California thatÂ are not familiarÂ with the “Steve Poisoner effect”,Â here’s a quick summary. Steve Poizner wasÂ the candidateÂ for Governor of California that poisoned the 2010Â Republican primaries with vile anti-immigrant rhetoric. In the end he did not only lose the nomination of his party, but arguably he ended up costing Republicans the governorship in California because Latinos lashed out at the GOP at theÂ ballot box. Are we witnessing the same dynamic play out in the national Republican primary fieldÂ with Mitt Romney?Â Has Romney become the new Steve Poizner?Â Romney hasÂ gone theÂ “Poisoner” route andÂ has startedÂ to attack immigrants and Governor Perry on immigration reform legislation like in-state tuition forÂ young students that have grown up here in the U.S. but happen to be undocumented.
For the record,Â while Perry has said that heÂ supports in-state tuition forÂ youth that haveÂ grown up in TexasÂ but lack the proper documentation, he has actually said that he opposesÂ the Dream Act.Â which is a topic charged with emotions among Latinos because we’re talking about Latino youth.Â After all,Â Latino voters still remember watchingÂ these heartbreaking images ofÂ their community’s youth crying afterÂ conservatives in both partiesÂ blocked passage of the Dream Act:
Romney not only has an ad out attacking Perry trying to link him to former President Fox on immigration, butÂ supporters of Romney’s position are now going racistÂ full force “protesting” Perry. Via ThinkProgress:
Conservative activists protested Rick Perryâ€™s support for allowing children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state university tuition outside a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire this evening. In order to underscore their point, one woman wore a poncho and sombrero while holding a sign that read â€œThanks for the in-state tuitionâ€.
As mentioned previously, Perry hasÂ NOT been aÂ friend of immigrants as Romney would lead the general public to believe. Not only does Perry oppose the DREAM Act, but he has been reportedly courting the endorsement of infamous Sheriff Arpaio. Arizona Sheriff Arpaio has been caught in the past as “pal’ing around” with neo-nazis in the past and has more recently been quoted as saying of Perry “I kind of like the guy”. IfÂ both Romney and Perry make the assumption that spewing hate mongering rhetoricÂ against immigrants during the Republican primaries will not come back to bite them in the general election against President Obama, they are both in for an “October surprise”. As the advocacy organization America’s Voice put it:
Among the leaders for the GOP nomination, there are no immigration moderates.Â None of them support the DREAM Act. None of them. The DREAM Act is a common sense proposal that would enable some of the Latino communityâ€™s best and brightest to attend college, serve in the military and earn citizenship.Â None of them support comprehensive immigration reform, a centrist solution to the nationâ€™s immigration mess.Â And none of them have the guts to stand up the hardcore nativists in the party the way Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did [click here to view video of both Reagan & Bush Sr. discussing immigration].
If GOP strategists hope that Rick Perry and/or Marco Rubio will win the hearts of Latino voters with their support of in-state tuition, they are in for a rude awakening.Â When it comes to in-state tuition and the DREAM Act, you canâ€™t split the baby — or the student, as the case may be.