A series of videos were released on Monday that were secretly recorded at a Romney fundraiser on May 17, 2012. Among the many things Romney said to donors include taking stabs at Obama supporters for being dependents who mooch off of government programs, saying that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and talking about a visit to a Chinese factory among other things.
One thing Romney did highlight was his father being born in Mexico. He told the donors this:
“My dad, as you probably, know was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico … and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. … I mean I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”
By now, many know that Romney’s dad was born in Mexico because the family had moved there to escape prosecution for polygamy, which was then a common practice in the Mormon faith. Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, returned to the US as a young child when the Mexican Revolution began.
But the irony here is that Latinos do not vote for other Latinos just because of ethnic identification. We have seen this with data on the likelihood of Latinos supporting the GOP ticket with a candidate like Marco Rubio and the reality that Susana Martinez did not capture the majority of the Latino vote in 2010 in her race for governor in New Mexico. And just a few days ago here on Politic365, Rep. Raul Grijalva wrote, “Latino voters are not impressed by window dressing any more than other voters. They know the difference between style and substance.”
Pundits were quick to pick up on Romney’s statement and point out the absurdity. Paul Begala, CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, tweeted, “To be fair to Romney, it would help if he were Latino. From Jorge Washington to Barack Javier Obama, Latinos have dominated the presidency.”
It’s one thing to joke about being Latino, yet it’s another to live as a Latino in places where one’s loyalty, sense of belonging, and even citizenship are questioned because of that identity. Mitt Romney unwittingly proved again how little he knows of the Latinos that his campaign is attempting to court.