With all the musings about how Mitt Romney’s defeat did-or-did-not set up the GOP for 2012, as well as the demographic problems the GOP may now be up against, I’ve had both possible ticket combinations of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s names running vague circles around the back of my mind — and both have now piped up about the Republican party’s future in the wake of the 2012 bloodbath. Gov. Jindal spoke up first, and Gov. Martinez echoed a few of his sentiments and added some thoughts about the immigration issue at the close of the Republican Governor Association’s meeting in Las Vegas yesterday. Via Politico:
“We have to start electing people who look like their communities all the way from city council to county commissioners to county clerks all the way through the state and up into national politics,” …
“We need to embrace them not just at election time,” she added. “We visit them, and they don’t appreciate that. And I don’t blame them for not appreciating that. We should not visit them when we need their vote and then walk away. And then four years go by and we go visit them again. We have to make them part of the solution, and the way you do that is by listening to them.”
She expressed disdain for Romney’s claim this week on a conference call that Obama won reelection because he offered “gifts” to minorities and younger voters.
“That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party—our comments that are not thought through carefully,” she said. …
“I offered early on—I think I was governor about a month when I met President Obama—and said, ‘I would like to visit with you in reference to border security, in reference to immigration. I’d like to be part of the discussion because I lived on the border all my life,’” she recounted just outside the casino at a resort owned by Steve Wynn. “I’ve never received a call.”
And on her own bid for the governorship, she recounted how she didn’t write off even areas that are consistently Democratic strongholds in her state:
“I wanted to earn that crossover vote,” she said. “And a lot of statewide Republican candidates in New Mexico don’t go there. They just check it off and say, ‘I’m going to have to win heavy in the more Republican areas and I’ll just never be able to earn that vote.’ I did. I lost four out of 33 counties.”
Martinez has consistently pulled in great approval ratings, and she’s running one of the several states that has a Republican governorship but just went blue for President Obama. Her brand of governing and ideas for outreach would probably be wise for the GOP to take into consideration — which also probably explains why President Obama was never interested in reaching out to her. As I lamented after President Obama presented his modified-Dream-ACT-through-executive-fiat plan early last summer (after conspicuously failing to do a thing about immigration in the first two unencumbered years of his presidency), Sen. Marco Rubio had been circulating a plan with many of the same goals; and as much as the president just loves to claim that he can reach across the aisle and bring the parties together, he never bothered to get Rubio involved in the process nor tried to mount an offensive that could potentially be worked through Congress with Rubio’s help. Obama just couldn’t afford to have it look like any big-name Republicans are ready and willing to work together on an attractive immigration solution — and I guess that strategy worked out pretty well for him (although the Romney campaign certainly helped him along with that).
Anyhow, Gov. Martinez also added that:
Mentioned on many lists as a potential running mate for Romney, she insisted here she will not run for president in 2016.
“No,” she said. “I’m focused on fixing the things we can in New Mexico.”
Yes, I’m sure she’s focused on New Mexico now, and she seems to be in great shape for reelection in 2014, but… we’ve all got four more exciting years of President Obama during which to mull things over.