Monday, March 19, 2012



As I was driving to church this morning, I heard on Newsradio 78’s broadcast of the national CBS news a statement to the effect that Mitt Romney had won the Puerto Rico primary, and all its delegates (paraphrasing here because I neither write while I drive nor possess a photographic memory), and contended that his victory in Puerto Rico proved that a Republican can win among Hispanic voters.

Now, Mitt Romney was not quoted, nor was any of his people quoted, as saying specifically that the Romney victory in Puerto Rico proved that the GOP could win among Hispanic voters. I only heard the CBS new reader say that the Romney camp interpreted the victory that way. So I don’t know whom I am criticizing here: Mr. Romney, his staff, or CBS news. Further, I am not commenting on the substance of the statement in that I am not arguing that the GOP can, or cannot, win among Hispanic voters. I am commenting only on the contention that a victory in a GOP primary shows that the GOP can win among Hispanic voters, and to that contention I will write only that it was one of the most asinine statements of a political season that has been notable perhaps most saliently by its degree of asininity, which is a word I think I just made up.

What Mr. Romney’s victory in the Puerto Rico primary shows is that a GOP candidate can win a GOP primary, i.e., can win when he is running against other Republicans, or that he can beat other Republicans in a primary in which participation was limited, by definition, to Puerto Ricans, excluding, by the way, other Hispanics, but that is yet another area in which this argument comes across as silly. Beating other Republicans says nothing about whether Mr. Romney can attract Puerto Rican, let alone broader Hispanic, votes in substantial, or difference making, numbers when he is running against Democrats; it only says that the Puerto Ricans who voted in the GOP presidential primary found Mr. Romney preferable to his Republican alternatives. But I suppose that when one is grasping at straws, any straw will do.

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