Bill Richardson: I don't think Ted Cruz should be defined as a Hispanic

Via Breitbart, deep thoughts from BR on (a) how insulting our politics has become, and also (b) how Ted Cruz is a phony Latino. Skip to 2:15 for the key bit. Actually, I think Ramesh Ponnuru’s right that the question is arguably more revealing than the answer:

If you strain hard, you can read Richardson’s comment as simply challenging the premise. I.e. “No, he doesn’t represent Hispanics well, but he’s not supposed to. Texas elected him, not ‘Hispanics.'” Whatever he meant, though, this clip demonstrates what the left would call a Larger Truth: If Cruz ends up on the ticket in 2016, the media will spend lots of time (at Democrats’ urging) exploring his racial authenticity, specifically in terms of whether someone who opposes a path to citizenship for illegals can “really” qualify as Latino. That’s the obvious counter to the threat that Cruz, by becoming the first Latino presidential or VP nominee, might complicate the left’s “Republicans hate Latinos” narrative. (Which will, rest assured, exist in some form in 2016 whether or not immigration reform passes with bipartisan support.) Rubio’s candidacy is harder because he’s taken the pro-amnesty position that the media thinks Latino pols are “supposed” to take. How do you challenge his authenticity? One possible answer: Accuse him, surreally, of being too hawkish about border enforcement. It’s already happening:

Rubio is also taking criticism from the other end of the political spectrum, with Hispanic advocacy groups singling him out for being overly punitive.

“We see Rubio as increasingly representing all that is wrong with comprehensive immigration reform as it’s currently proposed, and we see him as a politician that has big aspirations, but still no pull with Latinos outside of the very small right-wing groups” in the Miami-based Cuban exile community, said Arturo Carmona, executive director of, a Latino advocacy group.

Another possible answer: Don’t challenge his authenticity. Instead, concern-troll him and the GOP about conservatives maybe possibly conceivably staying home in the general election due to outrage at his work on the Gang of Eight bill. (They won’t, but you’ll hear a lot about it before election day.) Cruz will be treated as not Latino enough, in other words, and Rubio will be treated as “too Latino” in order to sustain the “racist Republicans” narrative somehow. Politicians come and go but media filters are forever.

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