Losing Latino Votes
Raul A. Reyes
Paul Ryan at the Trough (Khalil Bendib)
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, received a rapturous welcome at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The audience cheered as he assailed President Barack Obama's record. Ryan seemed boisterous and full of energy. He could almost pass for one of Romney's sons.
As a Latino voter, I was surprised that Romney chose Ryan as his Veep, when he has struggled to connect with Hispanics. Until recently, I knew little about this Generation X lawmaker from Janesville, Wisconsin.
So, who is Paul Ryan? Democrats say he's the bogeyman who wants to end Medicare. Republicans say he's the new face of the GOP. Unfortunately, they're both right. Ryan has radical views about our country's future, and his ideas would have severe consequences for Latinos — the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group.
Like Romney, Ryan is an immigration hardliner. He opposes the DREAM Act, a measure that helps young people brought here without documents as children earn citizenship. In 2005, Ryan supported a bill that would've criminalized all undocumented immigrants. He once said that "anchor babies cost money," using an offensive term for children born in the United States to parents without papers. Instead of being inclusive, Ryan reinforces the Republican Party's negative image among Hispanics as hostile to immigrants.
Ryan is best known for his proposals to slash government spending. His budget would turn Medicare into a voucher system, drastically cut social services, and give tax breaks to the wealthy — all without actually reducing the deficit. Ryan is going to have a hard time selling Hispanics on this. According to the polling company Latino Decisions, 73 percent of Hispanics oppose cutting Medicare to balance the budget, while 83 percent favor raising taxes on the wealthy to do so.
Ryan's plan would disproportionately impact the most vulnerable Americans. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He wants to cut funding for Pell Grants and food stamps, and turn Medicaid over to the states. Again, these are ideas opposed by Hispanics. An April poll by the Pew Center found that 75 percent of Latinos, in these hard economic times, favor a bigger government with more services, not a smaller government offering less.
Millions of Latino families and seniors, in fact, depend on the safety net that Ryan wants to slash. The National Council of La Raza, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the National Association for the Hispanic Elderly all agree that the Ryan budget would be harmful to Latinos.
It's ironic that Ryan considers "big government" to be a problem because he has spent just about his entire adult life in the public sector. He's a seven-term congressman who has been in Washington since college, aside from a short stint with his family's business. He criticizes the deficit that he helped create by voting for the war in Iraq, the bank bailout, and the Bush tax cuts.
True, Ryan is a fresh face with a friendly persona. But looks can be deceiving. Ryan is a devout Catholic, yet his budget has been denounced by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops as "unjustified and wrong." His family's construction business was built upon public works projects such as highways, airports, and defense contracts — the type of government spending that Ryan now opposes. Ryan's budget itself is a rehash of failed Reagan-era policies. Ronald Reagan's former budget guru David Stockman recently called the Ryan budget "phony" and "devoid of credible math or hard policy choices."
Though Romney has lately tried to distance himself from Ryan's budget, he has not put forth one of his own. For all purposes, Ryan's plan is Romney's plan, one with deeply negative implications for Hispanics, the middle class, seniors, and the poor. And the more we know about Ryan, the more obvious it becomes that he and Romney aren't a winning combination for America.
Read the latest political news.
- Obama Leads Romney in Post-Conventions Poll
- Character, Policy and the Selection of Leaders
- The Politicization of Violence
- The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm
- Erasing W
- Losing Latino Votes
- The Party is Over: Longtime GOPer Dissects Modern Political Landscape
- Paul Ryan's Faux Populism
- Rise Up, Middle Class, Rise Up!
- A Modest Proposal: Three Weeks of Paid Vacation
- The Paul Ryan Choice
- Mitt Romney's Misguided Blue-Collar Voting Bloc
- What Mitt Romney Could Do to Connect with Hispanics
- Romney and the Republican Club
- Hurricane Isaac's Impact on the GOP
- Five Things Romney Needs from GOP convention
- The Goldwater Legacy
- Mitt Romney Risks 'Hispanic Debacle' in November
- Mitt Romney Runs Away from his Running Mate
- Paul Ryan's Magical Thinking
- Mitt Romney Finds Love in the GOP
- What Ryan Says About Romney
- Romney-Ryan: Real change
- Obama vs Romney: Meanest campaign ever?
- That's Joe Biden
- Mitt, More Gaffes Like This, Please
- Muzzle Mitt Romney on Taxes Now?
- A Debate About Debates
- Decoding Mitt Romney's Odd Humor
- After Romney Birth Certificate Joke, Dems Play the Race Card
- The 'Boring' 2012 Presidential Campaign
- Mitt Romney's 'Welfare Queen'
- Mitt Romney's Opportunity
- We're All Subsidizing Free Lunches for America's CEOs
- Washington, Are You Listening?
- Class Warfare
- Indefensible: The Truth About Pentagon Spending
- David Barton's Make-Believe Version of American History
- Onward Christian 'Teavangelicals'
- Campaigns Touch Briefly on the Wars
- 'Mad Dog' Harry Reid
- Republican Woes with Women
- Rape, Patriarchy and the Bomb
- Akin Offers Unflattering Glimpse of Widely Shared Republican Attitudes
- Todd Akin's 'Legitimate' Pain
- Todd Akin's Idiocy is Infectious
- Todd Akin's Ignorance Hardly Unique
- The Decline of Party Power
- Trapping Season
- Mitt Romney's 'Zero-Percenters'
- No More Boring White Guys for the GOP
- Eating America's Seed Corn
- Romney and Ryan Project Vague Foreign Policy
- A Storied Presidency
- There is No California
- The Koch Brothers' Moonshine
- No Need for a Witch Hunt Over Executive Pay
- US National Debate is a Disgrace
- Romney Lauds Israel's Socialized, Federally Controlled Health Care System
- A Solution to the Problem of Roaring Mouths Saying Nothing
- What Should Come First, Partisan Advantage or National Security?
- How Mitt Romney Got His
- Mitt Romney: Put up or Shut Up
- Is Obama's Best Hope The Inadequacy of His Rival?
- Mitt Romney's Foreign Folly
- Mitt Romney: An Innocent Abroad
- Mitt Romney: Showing off the GOP
Losing Latino Votes | Politics
Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)