Latino Groups Critical of Obama “Theatrics” in Wooing Hispanic Voters

President Obama’s support continues to decline, including among Latino voters. They are disillusioned with the Obama presidency that never was…

Earlier today one of the largest Latino organizations in the nation, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), criticized the President and asked for stronger leadership on key issues affecting Latinos. In a statement released earlier today NALEO asks:  “Given the current challenges facing the nation, including our fiscal crisis, now is the most  opportune time for President Obama to fulfill his commitment to the advancement of the Latino community…”

NALEO, like many other Latino organizations, are frustrated with the President’s lack of leadership – especially on issues he championed on the campaign, like immigration.

Thanks to Fausta’s Blog I saw an editorial by Alfonso Aguilar,  executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. The Politico editorial – “Theatrics won’t woo Latinos” – is critical of the White House political posturing. It calls the recent Hispanic Policy Conferenceyet another inconsequential Latino summit...” focused “more about politics than substance.”

Candidate Obama was an eloquent speaker and gifted communicator. Yet, President Obama has not been as successful putting those words into action. Aguilar summed up the feelings of many frustrated with Obama’s administration: “Latinos, like most Americans, are impressed with action, not words.”

President Obama has mostly ignored the Latino population for during his administration. Yet since the kick-off of his re-election campaign, he has hosted several well orchestrated efforts to connect with Latinos, using celebrities and high-level surrogates to spread the message of his efforts. Each event smartly generates large amounts of Spanish-media coverage (still a major vehicle to connect with both English and Spanish dominate Latinos, who prefer to get their news in Spanish).

From Poltico:

…The question remains: Can the administration’s Latino strategy work? Judging from the response from Latinos, I don’t think so. His trip to Puerto Rico was criticized for being too short and empty of substance. The most recent Gallup Poll shows Latino support for Obama plummeting to an average of 52 percent for June, down from 74 percent at the beginning of his term.

This isn’t surprising. Latinos, like most Americans, are impressed with action, not words.

The White House doesn’t understand that Latinos are upset with Obama for not advancing the immigration issue in Congress, after repeatedly promising during the 2008 campaign that he would press for reform in his first year in office. What exacerbates Latino resentment is that Obama seems to be using the issue for purely political purposes…

Latinos surely remember that President George W. Bush sent two top Cabinet members to the Hill in ’07 to negotiate an immigration reform plan with the Democratic leadership, not knowing if he had the necessary votes to pass it. Though Bush failed, they recognize he showed presidential leadership in trying to find a solution to this complex problem. Why can’t Obama do the same now?

With Puerto Rican voters in Florida, the strategy most likely won’t work either. They don’t care as much about immigration as other Latino groups. But like most Americans, Latinos are frustrated with the administration’s economic policies. They see unemployment stuck at about 9 percent, with Latino unemployment considerably higher, at roughly 12 percent. It’s going to take more than a trip to Puerto Rico to get their vote.

Obama had his chance. He raised the hopes of Latinos and then didn’t deliver.

This doesn’t mean that the majority of Latinos are going to vote Republican. But it does mean that many will consider voting for the Republican candidate. If the GOP nominee gets at least 40 percent of the Latino vote — and can win states like Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico — Obama could possibly be defeated in 2012.

Theatrics will not replace results with Latinos.”

In Fausta’s blog she questions if there is a “Latino vote” pointing to the diversity of American Hispanics, hailing from over two dozen counties and differences in race/ ethnicity/social/educational/cultural backgrounds .What are your thoughts??



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