El Pandering


Newt Gingrich has come a long way since criticizing Latinos a few years ago for continuing to speak “the language of living in a ghetto.” He’s taking Spanish lessons, reaching out to Hispanic community leaders, and supports “finding a way for residency” for some illegal immigrants.

But mounting a successful presidential bid means winning over GOP primary activists — many of whom favor a hard-line immigration crackdown — and that means Gingrich’s moderate positions could spell big trouble for him in the early-voting states, strategists say.

He recently attended a Texas conference on strengthening Latino and Jewish dialogue, and regularly publishes op-eds in Spanish.

Pander much?


Gingrich launched “The Americano,” a bilingual news website for Latino conservatives, and in December hosted a two-day forum featuring prominent Latino politicians, religious figures and business leaders. There he declared, “We are not going to deport 11 million people. There has to be some zone between deportation and amnesty.”

And in February he sparred with Howard Dean over the DREAM Act. “Residency is very different than citizenship,” Gingrich stressed, proposing that it should be available to people who serve in the military or entered the country as children.


The immigration-reduction group NumbersUSA, which waged war on John McCain in 2008, has already set its sights on Gingrich. The group, which advocates stricter controls on both legal and illegal immigration, has given his immigration agenda a D- grade — the worst of its ranking of the GOP presidential contenders.


Other 2012 Republican candidates haven’t gone as far as Gingrich.

Tim Pawlenty has pushed for the increased use of E-Verify, an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine if their employees are eligible to work. Haley Barbour, when confronted about his lobbying firm’s promotion of a path to citizenship for Mexican illegal immigrants, denied his own involvement. Mike Huckabee has said there’s zero chance of passing comprehensive immigration reform that includes such a citizenship pathway. Michele Bachmann told an Iowa audience that she whole-heartedly agrees with Republican Rep. Steve King, an immigration hard-line. And Mitch Daniels recently said he expects Indiana’s immigration bill to focus more on employers than law enforcement.


Of all the potential 2012 candidates, it’s Gingrich who has been floating new ideas, such as tasking credit card companies with creating guest worker ID cards that track workers’ legal status with a simple swipe.

“He’s doing something very smart — he’s doing it early,” said Ana Navarro, who served as national co-chair of McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council. “All of these guys need to understand you can’t show up and ask for the Hispanic vote three months before [the general] election. It’s got to start now.”


But Gingrich’s views won’t help him with the tea party, which is expected to be influential in some of the early states.

The largest coalition of tea party advocates, Tea Party Patriots, recently chose Arizona as the site of its first policy conference in a show of support for the state’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. And many activists are dead set against allowing illegals to have any type of a legal status in the U.S.


Aides to Gingrich are hoping what they describe as the former Speaker’s nuanced views on the issue will aid his presidential bid.

He’s advocated a multi-step approach that first addresses border security problems and employers hiring illegal workers. And he has been quick to recognize the complexities of deporting people who are married with children, or a student who, say, was smuggled over the border at age 3, but has since graduated from a Texas high school and doesn’t speak Spanish.

Yet that hasn’t stopped right-wing bloggers and talk radio from tearing Gingrich apart, claiming that he has backed amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegals.

“Newt has never laid a pathway to citizenship and he has not offered a definitive policy on legality either,” said his spokesman Rick Tyler, who also noted that Gingrich plans to focus on economic issues, not immigration, during the primary contests.

Hispanic groups are banking that Gingrich will stand behind his principles and not pander to his party’s conservative base during the primary season.


When his “ghetto” comment sparked a firestorm in 2007, Gingrich made amends with a three-minute apology on YouTube — in Spanish. It’s that kind of respect that’s enabled him to make inroads among Latinos since his days in public office, said Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist who worked with Gingrich during his time in Congress.

To recap, just as Newtie is a newly religious Catholic, devoted family man, and faithful husband, and he now loves and respects Hispanics and Jews. Color me convinced!  Now, when does he show up with the Afro?


Filed under 2008 election, humor, Immigration, Iowa, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, parody, politics, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, snark, Texas, Wordpress Political Blogs

40 responses to “El Pandering

  1. What’s really scary in this is that people think that Gingrich is too far left to be a serious GOP candidate.

    Seriously … Gingrich. Is. Too. Far. Left.

    • i wonder how long it will last before he flip-flops. he’s definitely looking down the road to a general election, but he also knows that he won’t be able to win in the southern states with a moderate stand on immigration.

      • Oh, between that and his pro-environment comments, I’m sure he’ll have to do some spinning.

        But, seriously, I can’t get my head around the idea that Gingrich is considered a moderate these days.

  2. Tal vez el Señor Gingrich hace su “Kill Medicare” sombrero en este mismo segundo. 😯

    I think Rep. Paul Ryan has pretty much insured the President’s second term. It’s weird how the rest of the GOP pack make Newt seem normal.

  3. John Erickson

    Wow – I’m not sure what hurt my head worse, the most flexible Newt that ever crawled on a rock, or Nonnie’s picture. I felt like I was looking for Waldo!
    Um.. by the by, Nonnie, any chance you could reconsider the word you use in between … bits of text you copy? Sorry, as a guy, and having just gotten my 2nd favourite cat (male) back from the vet for being fixed, the word “SNIP” just makes me cringe! 😀

    • How about “vivisected testicles”? Does that have a willies factor? 😈

    • John Erickson

      Oddly enough, no. It takes so much work to get all those syllables out, I forget halfway through what we’re talking about! (Hey, it’s been a long day, and a lot of meds. I’m lucky I still remember how to breathe!)

      • John Erickson

        You two are gonna cost me my 20th anniversary! All my wife knows, is I’m sitting in a different room from her, with a bunch of gorgeous ladies who keep making me laugh! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!!! 😉
        Seriously, I’m amazed she hasn’t come in her and whacked me upside my head. (See? Whack IS okay. :p) There’s a great story from the sci-fi show Farscape. Claudia Black, an Aussie, was trying to learn American slang from her co-star, Yank Ben Browder. They used one of her screw-ups in the show, where she proclaims “That is giving me a woodie!” Ben looks at her and says “It’s ‘the willies!’ ‘It gives me THE WILLIES!’ ” 😀
        (Okay, maybe it’s just funny to us sci-fi freaks! Or us STONED sci-fi freaks….) 😉

        • she had a case of old station wagons? 😛

          • First car I ever had was an old Ford Country Squire station wagon, with the fake wood sides. I remember it was huge, and got about two miles a gallon.

            • John Erickson

              2 whole mpg? Wow – the economy model! My folks’ long-termer had a 350 c.i. V-8 that got about 2 gallons per mile! Although, just like my Vega, it did get better mileage every year, as we replaced the rust with Bondo or fibreglass. (When my dad traded it in in 1989, the Vega had NO body steel left below the wheel wells. Hang an outboard off the trunk, it would’ve been a great boat!)

            • when my son was little, i had this big ugly olive green station wagon with a hole in the floor. i don’t remember what kind it was, but it was huge.

        • John Erickson

          She could only WISH!! Remember, I’m a gearhead. And I’m weird in that as I am in everything else – I ADORE station wagons! Since 1968, there has only been 17 months when I didn’t have a wagon in my life – when Tamy and I moved into our first house in 1989. I bought her a used Cavalier to drive instead of her Pinto, and that was a HUGE mistake, ’cause the Cav literally started falling apart. Traded it in on a 1990 Subaru wagon, traded that on the Buick wagon we still have. From 1968 until I moved out, my folks had a Chevy wagon, from 1970 a HUGE mother with the tail-gunner seat and a TRUE tailgate. What a monster – no power assist on the brakes. You could stand on the brake pedal with both feet, butt off the seat cushion, and the car would reluctantly, kinda-sorta start to slow. My dad sold it to somebody else in 1991 without telling me, otherwise I would’ve hot-rodded it and still have it today! I will NEVER forgive him for that! 😉

          • station wagons are cool. i remember when i was a little kid, my mother would go shopping, and my sisters and brother and i would sit in the back of the station wagon playing games.

            by the way, i had a pinto and a cavalier, and the cavalier was a piece of crap. everything was wrong with it. it got stolen (i never locked the doors, because i didn’t care if someone took it), and when the cop asked me if it was in good shape, i said (with tears in my eyes) it only had 19,000 miles on it!, which was the truth. he wrote down that it was in excellent condition, but i had never said that. 🙂

          • John Erickson

            Cavaliers are binary – they’re great, or they’re crap. There’s no such thing as an OK Cav. I’ve had 3 – the first car I ever bought in 1987 (beautiful), the car I bought Tamy (also an 87, and crap), and the 87 we bought a few years ago from a NC dealer over the net (not perfect, but very good, too good to take apart for parts!). The most common model of car around here are Cavaliers – a couple late 80s/early 90s cars, and a half dozen from the last versions built (Chevys and Pontiacs, they’re all the same, called J-cars by GM). Their owners, like me, will not sell them for any price, but I couldn’t wait to get rid of that pile of crap I bought Tamy. It did only one good thing in its life. I needed some PVC pipe to fix a sump pump in our newly-bought house. I got a 12′ length, popped out the sunroof, and took the local route back to avoid low bridges! It looked like an old trolley car looking for overhead power lines, but I got that pipe home! Who says you need a pickup for building supplies? 😀

            • oops, i think i mixed up my chevys. i think my citation was the crappy one that got stolen, and the cavalier i had was pretty good. not great, but okay. in fact, i had 2 of them. if i’m recalling correctly, they had the coldest a/cs of any cars i’ve ever owned.

            • John Erickson

              Okay, now you’ve done it. As a life-long GM and Chevy fan, I’m gonna have to tell you something. You comment about Citations was absolutely, totally, and completely…..
              RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!! 😉
              The only worthwhile thing from the Citation was the V-6 engine, which powers both of my Cavaliers AND the wife’s wagon. Heck, that engine has powered most of GM’s lineup from 1982 until a couple years ago, in various forms.
              The beauty of the Cav’s A/C is they shared systems with the slightly larger Pontiac Grand Am, and the larger Celebrity. So the A/C is actually oversized for the car. But when you’re sitting in a jam on a Chicago freeway when it’s 90 degrees AND 90% humidity, it is SO sweet! 😀

    • i’m sorry, john. that was insensitive of me. how about chopor whack or thwack?

  4. i’ve been running back and forth between the computer and the kitchen (had to make dinner), so i didn’t get a chance to comment until now. just wanted to shout out a big congratulations to jeb and his lovely bride (a/k/a james and geraldine a/k/a eddie and gery). if you’d like to watch the ceremony, grab a hanky (yeah, i shed a tear or two, it’s in the female dna), and click here. to commemorate the joyous event, here’s their wedding song:

    we love you, eddie and geri! may you have many, many years of happiness together. mazel tov!

    • John Erickson

      And may I add my congratulations! Next year is our 20th, we’ve been to Hell and back (literally and figuratively), but we’re still here. May you, Eddie and Geri, enjoy at least as many years, and with far fewer bumps in your road! 😀

      • 20 years is quite an accomplishment, john. 🙂

      • John Erickson

        More so when you figure, I helped take care of Tamy from when we met (in 1988) until my health crashed in 2000. From then on, it’s been her taking care of me. I gotta get up to speed, my time’s running out! 😀

        • it’s that whole for better, for worse, in sickness and in health thing, huh?

        • John Erickson

          Don’t forget “for richer and for poorer”. We may not have been LOADED up in Illinois, but we were comfortable. Not no more! 🙂
          I’m just hoping that, since we’ve done BOTH better and worse, richer AND poorer, sickness AND health, that we’ve kinda cycled back around, so we can start on another round of richer, better, and health. Then again, maybe we should just go with the reverse, and get all the bull out of the way. That way, we should both be around 60 when the good times kick back in! (I don’t know – I can’t picture myself as anything but a crotchety old fart. You know, Clint Eastwood from “Gran Torino” – growling at kids with a shotgun in my hand. Beware the dog, hell – beware the old fart! :D)

  5. elizabeth3hersh

    ¡Baruch atah Newt, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu l’had’lik neir shel Dia de los Santos Innocentes!

    Wait a minute… I like Newt!

  6. What’s Newt doing–celebrating Cinco de Matzo?

    Hey, I’m an environmentalist, I recycle my jokes, too.

  7. Nice well rounded portrait of the well rounded Grinch. Going Roman from SB won’t make him any friends down south. This is probably his last gasp as his anal retention will take its toll soon. Wait, I thought I heard someone calling number four. My mistake, it was just your Florida rep Stearns telling all the fireman-cops-rescue people from NYC to fill out the forms so the info can be run by Homeland Security in the database to see if they are terrorists

    • i keep thinking he’s had his last gasp, but he keeps going on life support, because he has no other way of making a living. as soon as he stops running for prez, the speaking engagements dry up. as for cliff stearns, he’s an absolute asswipe, one of many from floriduhhh.

  8. El Torito means “Little bull” & that is what Gingrich is serving up here.
    he does not give a rip except for demographics & a successful strategy to win.

    I’m sure his ghetto remark was more aligned with his actual feelings about the Hispanic community.

    Mentiroso= Liar.