Perry looks even sillier when he accuses Romney of "hiring" illegal immigrants when he used a landscaping service that had illegal aliens in its employ. He who has never eaten a tomato or leaf of lettuce picked by an illegal immigrant; who has never worked in an office cleaned by one; who has never slept in a hotel or been served in a restaurant with illegal immigrants on the payroll -- he may cast the first stone.
And Herman Cain's position that he will electrify the border fence with the warning, posted in Spanish and English, that "it will kill you," is positively ugly. He later said he was joking, but threatening to electrocute people or shoot them "with real guns and real bullets" is no more funny than displaying a noose -- something one would think Cain might be more sensitive to.
If conservatives would just lay off an issue that most voters care little about, we might actually begin to win back some of those Hispanics who have voted Republican in previous presidential elections.
The GOP will not likely win a majority of Hispanic votes anytime soon, but it doesn't have to. Republicans need about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to remain competitive in key states. The platform of smaller government, lower taxes and strong family values is still their best guarantee of winning more Hispanic votes.
Republicans don't need a Hispanic on the ticket; they need to quit stirring the anti-immigrant pot.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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