Saturday, February 13, 2010

When is a Latino candidate legit?

Republicans across our state plan to boast a lot this year about the fact that their ticket for statewide government posts is the one that includes a “Latino” candidate (Robert Enriquez of Aurora for Illinois secretary of state), compared to all those Chicago political hacks who populate the Democratic ticket.

Never mind the fact that Illinois comptroller candidate David Miller and state treasurer hopeful Robin Kelly are from suburban Lynwood and Matteson, respectively. The GOP is going to want credit for putting on their slate a man who was born in Honduras and who also lived in Panama before moving to the United States when he was 13.

BUT ALL THIS means is that Enriquez is the guy who gets to be beaten up upon by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who is running for his fourth term in the post. Even the most hard-core of Republicans I hear from expect White to be one of the few Dems “safe” from a serious Election Day challenge. I believe that if they thought they could beat White, they never would have let Enriquez near the ticket.

So excuse me for thinking that Enriquez’ purpose is to help deflect the criticism the GOP will receive when their candidates start engaging in their most blatant anti-Latino rhetoric to sway the mindsets of rural Illinoisans. Check out the commentary at the Argus’ sister weblog The South Chicagoan ( for more details.

I’m sure Enriquez is an intelligent guy who will continue to do a wonderful job on the Illinois Human Rights Commission, which he has served on since 2005 when he was picked by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

I just don’t expect his name on my driver’s license any time soon.


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