This is a topic we have covered extensively on this blog, the GOP's anti-immigrant platform and what that means for the party's future. The rhetoric being spawned in talk radio and blogs as a result of the immigration debate is explicitly anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic
Nothing however, better exemplifies the compulsive irrationality that has taken over the Republican Party than its handling of the Hispanic electorate.
Latino voters, as Bush demonstrated in 2004, are by no means locked into the Democratic fold. On top of that, Republican strategists have been pounding for a decade the theme that Hispanics are crucial to the GOP future.
Ken Mehlman, who ran both Bush's 2004 campaign and the RNC, declared in a July 2006 speech (one of many on the subject) that as party chair,
"I know...that a Republican Party that does not reach out to Hispanics cannot win ... and a Republican Party that does not reach out to Hispanics does not deserve to win."
Similarly, Ed Gillespie, who ran the RNC before Mehlman, and who is now counselor to the president, laid it on the line in an April 2006 Wall Street Journal op-ed:
"The Republican Party cannot become an anti-immigration party. Our majority already rests too heavily on white voters, given that current demographic voting percentages will not allow us to hold our majority in the future. Between 2000 and 2004, President Bush increased his support in the Hispanic community by nine percentage points. Had he not, John Kerry would be president today.... Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren song, and Republicans must resist its lure by lashing ourselves to our party's twin masts of freedom and growth -- or our majority will crash on the shoals."
House and Senate Republicans have not only led the charge in killing immigration reform legislation, however, but their rhetoric has served to legitimize explicitly anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic calls to action in city councils, on numerous web sites, on talk radio, and in public discourse generally.