Victor Landa, journalist and Central Regional Director for Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP), has a great article in today’s Express-News:
Web Posted: 07/25/2005 12:00 AM CDT
San Antonio Express-News
Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman sparred last week, which isn’t news in and of itself. They went at each other after Dean made a prediction about Republican politics in the coming years. Mehlman was incensed, he retorted. Dean stuck to his words and re-attacked. So? Business as usual, no?
I would have agreed, were it not for the date on the calendar.
Dean and Mehlman, the respective chairs of the Democratic and Republican national parties, jousted at an event of the National Council of La Raza. It’s mid-2005, what are they thinking? Latinos aren’t supposed to get political party attention until at least another two years. I know there are mid-term elections coming up next year, but that’s never lit a Latino fire under the political party chiefs. It kind of makes you suspicious, doesn’t it?
¿Qué quieren? Dean was his usual adrenaline soaked self. Mehlman came back at him as expected. Dean said that Republicans are going to turn immigrants into a wedge issue in the near future. Mehlman said Dean was nuts.
What is it that they say about being careful what you ask for? Nine years ago I wouldn’t have been writing about party leaders sparring at a Latino convention in July of an off-election year. Nine years ago I would have lamented the lack of attention, I would have railed against the way the national parties ignored us (actually, nine years ago the complaint would have been against one party, not two, because Republicans had not “discovered” us yet).
It used to be that parties and candidates came to the barrio once every four years, glad handed, stumped, made some promises and moved on. Now they’re coming in July of an off year, calling attention to themselves, making a scene, an escándalo. Da pena ajena, but what do you do? This seems to be the price of political clout. And I’ll tell you what’s worse, I’ll tell you what’ll be the end-all insult: Soon political commentators will be referring to the Latino community as the “soccer moms of 2008.” Can you stand it?