Conservatives should consider this a warning sign. The Republican National Committee’s former Hispanic outreach director for Florida has left the GOP and registered as a Democrat, citing a “culture of intolerance.”
Pablo Pantoja is a decorated Iraq war vet who began his brief career with the GOP by volunteering for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and serving as field director for Marco Rubio’s triumphant 2010 senate campaign. He says he was originally drawn to the GOP “because of my business-minded mentality. Fiscal issues are important for all families—Hispanics and non-Hispanics.”
But a recent anti-immigration report from the right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation sent the Puerto Rican–born Pantoja heading for bluer pastures this week. Not only did the paper tally the cost of immigration form at an absurdly high $6.3 trillion, but its author, Jason Richwine, was found to have written an overtly racist dissertation in 2009 that labeled American immigrants as having lower IQs than those of white natives.
Welcome to The Big Three — a CNN Radio podcast on the big three stories of the week, featuring three contributors who write for CNN Opinion — myself, my bride, Margaret Hoover, and political comedian Dean Obeidallah, who is of no relation (as far as we know).
We each come to the conversation from a different perspective — center, right and left — but we all share a commitment to smart, funny, civil conversation. And we’re all big Yalta buffs. Read More…
There’s no place where the paranoid style in American politics mixes with presidential aspirants quite like CPAC.
At this year’s conservative conclave, held at the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland, there is a mood of grim resignation after their rejection in the 2012 election, a determination to look for restoration along even stricter ideological lines.
What was once a decidedly fringe festival that Main Street Republicans have derided as a “Star Wars bar scene” has become a mandatory stop on the GOP presidential circuit, with Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan all making speeches this year. For conservative activists, it serves as an annual tribal gathering, selling special knowledge to those who feel at war with much of modern America and all of the Obama administration. And the media happily feed the beast because CPAC offers a one-stop shop for portraying the uneasy coexistence between constitutionalists and conspiracy theorists inside the conservative movement. Read More…
Allen West might have been kicked out of Congress in 2012, but he’s still treated like a rising rock star at CPAC. While his fellow black Tea Party congressman, Tim Scott, is now a senator from South Carolina, West is now a host on PJTV’s online channel and is raising money for his Guardian Fund to support veterans and minority conservatives running for office.
West was controversial in Congress, with a propensity toward accusing Democrats of being communists. But he saved his friendly fire this CPAC for Republicans’ failure to reach out to minorities, with special blame set aside for Mitt Romney. Read More…
With the “Star Wars bar” of the Conservative Political Action Conference (in other words, a bunch of aliens) kicking off Thursday morning, it was no coincidence that among the first speakers were Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, both known for their impulse to unleash hyper-partisan howlers that alienate anyone who isn’t a strident social conservative.
CPAC is useful because it clarifies the dividing lines of the GOP civil war. In the CPAC camp are co-sponsoring organizations like the Family Research Council, whose senior scholar recently stated that individuals who indulge in premarital sex should be “punished” by society.
On the other side of the GOP divide are figures with a demonstrated ability and determination to reach beyond the base and govern in a way that’s both effective and inclusive. Read More…