They have both said the same exact words repeatedly (“I will not be VP”) — sometimes casually, sometimes forcefully. But Marco Rubio and Susana Martinez both realize they would be an ideal counterweight to Romney’s ticket.
As we all know, talk is cheap in the world of politics, and the weight of the upcoming election may just be enough to sway the mind of one of these GOP hopefuls. Why? Because the future of the Republican Party remains heavily at the whim of the Hispanic demographic.
Somehow, I can’t see Romney chanting “Sí, se puede” to crowds of Latino voters, even if he enjoys a chalupa from Taco Bell every now and then on the campaign trail.
The media knows it and has been buzzing about these two candidates for the past few months, probably in hopes that someone will soon dig up trash on them.
Latino candidates can relate to their minority demographic in a way that non-Latino candidates cannot. These two potential contenders would surely give Obama a run for his money (and trust me, the man has a lot of money). It’s not just about ethnicity; it’s about identity. From their backgrounds to their politics, these two potentials clearly identify with the Hispanic demographic.
Let’s start out with Rubio. Rubio is a Tea Party champion who has always stood behind his small-government principles, and yet, has not alienated any of his Hispanic constituents. Why? Because his stance on illegal immigration seems rational to just about everyone on the political spectrum.
While Rubio shot down the DREAM Act in its original form, he showed a willingness to solve this issue by producing his own version of the DREAM Act in April. In his compromise, young illegal immigrants who graduated from high school without a criminal record and are college bound or have military aspirations, would be granted non-immigration visas. With these visas, they’d be able to begin the process of citizenship.
Rubio knows the value of a dollar, and as the son of Cuban immigrants, he believes in an American dream uncorrupted by liberal myths. As he said, “Those of us of Hispanic descent don’t expect special treatment … only the same treatment and same opportunities afforded to all Americans.” I don’t think anyone can argue against that.
At the same time, Rubio is young (20-plus years younger than Romney), and he has more charm than Obama and Biden put together. Like Martinez, he can communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking voters in their own tongue. This connection alone is more profound than most gringos are willing to admit.
Likewise, Susana Martinez would be able to appeal to a widespread conservative base, and at the same time, could garner the votes of her fellow Hispanics.
Like Rubio, she is a practicing Catholic, and her values are in line with the social conservatism of Latino voters. Also, Martinez shares Rubio’s work ethic. She started out in her family’s small business, eventually becoming a prosecutor and district attorney. As governor of New Mexico, she believes in protecting our nation’s safety with secure borders. Politically speaking, she has not really done anything that could isolate her from her own ethnic group.
Both Rubio and Martinez would represent hope for Hispanic voters throughout America. Whereas Congress’ agenda has typically been too extreme to gain the votes of Republicans (and Republican plans would ultimately produce an automatic veto from President Obama), Hispanic influence in the executive branch would get stuff done for them.
Obama really has done nothing to change our flawed illegal immigration policy. And he stood behind a DREAM Act he knew would never pass.
Mis amigos, this is not political courage, nor is it change. Rather, it shows an overall lack of cojones. In fact, the closest connection Obama has to Hispanic voters is that he likes to go to sombrero festivals every now and then. And Biden just epitomizes the Spanish proverb, “En boca cerrada no entran moscas.” (Silence is golden.)
The best hope for Hispanics ultimately lies in the GOP ticket. And with the incentive of a huge demographic advantage, Romney would be foolish to pass over a Hispanic Veep prospect.