December 12, 2007
Hispanics are the new gays: Obama
Posted by: Chris
In a private meeting with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry activists, Barack Obama apparently offered his assessment that Republicans are now using immigration as the wedge issue that gay marriage was in the last several election cycles. "You guys have been supplanted by the Hispanics" as the new evil group, Obama is paraphrased as having said.
He's probably right about that, given Tom Tancredo's presidential candidacy and how Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee compete with each other to see who can be more xenophobic. Still, the backlash for writing off the much larger Latino voter bloc is much riskier for the GOP than demonizing the gays. Not a strategy Karl Rove ever would have signed off on; not because of it's divisiveness or immorality, of course, but because it's politically stupid.
Perhaps that's why the only federal gay rights issue that gives Obama and Hillary Clinton pause isn't marriage -- since that's a state issue and both back repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. It's immigration rights for same-sex couples.
It's still worth noting that on this, as on so many other issues, Obama is slightly better than Clinton, committing to a full (not half) repeal of DOMA, which would allow gay Americans to seek fiance or marriage visas for their (er... our) non-American partners.
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