Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ethnic benefits w/out actually offering much? GOP strategy again in ‘14

Republican gubernatorial hopeful William Brady told us of his choice for lieutenant governor. It’s Maria Rodriguez, a former village president of suburban Long Beach.

RODRIGUEZ: How many think she's Latina
The “highlight,” so to speak, of her political career on anything other than a municipal level was back in 2010 when she ran for Congress – and lost to Joe Walsh in the GOP primary.

BUT BRADY, THE state senator from Bloomington whose 2010 bid for governor collapsed because he became too associated with rural Illinois, hopes that having a suburban person will make him a little more amenable to Chicago-area voters in the 2014 campaign cycle.

What I find intriguing about this is the fact that one of Brady’s challengers, Dan Rutherford of Pontiac, came up with suburban business executive Steve Kim to be his lieutenant governor running mate.

Political operatives openly admit that part of what Rutherford gains is a possible outreach to the growing Asian population (Kim is of Korean ethnic origins).

And now, Brady is giving us (as in potential voters) the Latina who isn’t. “Rodriguez” is her married name.

ALTHOUGH I’M SURE Brady won’t object if many voters don’t realize that fact and presume that she is. This appointment becomes his gesture (not much of one, to be honest) toward the Latino community.

Which I’m sure he will try to use in ways to deflect criticism of the fact that many of his policy thoughts and political alliances will be with people who would prefer to think of diverse ethnicity as a problem our nation must deal with – rather than just the reality that offers up so many advantages!

The Republicans will claim that criticism of them is wrong. After all, they’re trying to include all kinds of people. Actually, all kinds of people who are just like themselves – although that’s a thought for a future commentary.

Will Steve Kim really shift Asian votes to GOP?
For today, I have to note that it seems odd to me that these “gestures” of support toward varied ethnicity are being done by GOP candidates with regards to lieutenant governor candidates.

THAT’S THE POSITION that has oft been described by political observers as, “not being worth a bucket of warm spit.”

That is the political position Republican officials think is worthy of someone who isn’t quite WASP-y enough to fit an image? It isn’t quite the way that the party should be going after ethnic voters – not if they’re at all serious about achieving results.

Rutherford reaching out to Latinos?
The fact that those of us with differing ethnic origins will be able to see through this kind of blatant appeal will be the reason why Kim probably won’t be responsible for getting significant numbers of Asian voters to cast votes for GOP candidates.

And as for Rodriguez? It’s her name. I’m not denouncing her. But I’m expecting the ethnicity confusion to create quite a bit of humorous moments in coming months.

NOT THAT THIS strategy ought to be surprising. Because the very same Illinois Republican officials tried the same thing back in 2010.

Let’s not forget that Kim was the Republican nominee for Illinois attorney general, while Steve Enriquez was the GOP choice to serve as Illinois secretary of state.

Of course, they ran against Lisa Madigan and Jesse White, respectively. Those two turned out to be the biggest vote-getters of the 2010 election cycle in Illinois – and also the two who were never thought to have a serious chance at victory! Kim’s backers may boast that he got more than 1 million votes in the 2010 general election, but he still got his butt whupped by Lisa Madigan.

The day the GOP comes up with an electoral winner is the day the political party will be taken seriously amongst the growing ethnic populations. Until then, it just comes across as the kind of tokenism politics that Republicans often accuse Democrats of engaging in!


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