If you don’t know what this is about, Univision’s Tumblr will catch you up more quickly than I can explain. Like Ace, I wonder what the breakdown is percentage-wise between people who are genuinely offended by what Messina said, people who are ginning up indignation because they want to watch a ruthless Democratic partisan hack squirm (this is the guy who promised the White House would “punch back twice as hard” during the 2009 health-care townhall uproar), and people who calculate that if we rub liberals’ faces in a pile of shinola every time one of them says something that’s insensitive, they’ll be more circumspect in demagoging conservatives when one of us does. If you’re in group three, you’re kidding yourself: This line of attack is essential to the left’s core argument that conservative impulses not only produce ineffective or damaging policies but are always, always malignant in origin. It’s one thing to do it as payback, but don’t expect anything to change. Ever.
The Hispanic Leadership Network is in group one.
“The fact that the campaign manager of President Obama’s reelection campaign thinks it’s appropriate to disseminate insulting jokes about the Hispanic community is a perfect example of the kind of empty rhetoric that characterizes this White House’s so-called outreach to Latinos. We demand that Mr. Messina immediately apologize and we ask that President Obama disavow his campaign manager’s ridiculous statement. Liberals are always trying to put Hispanics in a box. In typical fashion, when liberals cannot speak substantively to the top issues facing our community, they resort to name calling…
“The facts remain the same, and they are no laughing matter. President Obama broke his campaign promises to the Hispanic community on jobs and immigration. Our community is suffering from over 11% unemployment rate. In addition, President Obama has deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president in history. When confronted with his record, this President has no standing with Hispanic voters across our country.”
I understand the objection to ethnic stereotypes that involve food — they pigeonhole complex people as provincial and narrow-minded — but Ace’s point about the double standard in the reaction to Messina’s tweet is better. How come this guy making a dumb joke associating Latinos with tacos is a scandal while the captain of the good ship Hopenchange circulating a dumb joke associating Latinos with chimichangas is good clean liberal fun? Is there some sort of spectrum of Latino cuisine in which tacos are offensive but chimichangas are “tolerant”? Does it have to do with the condiments involved in each dish? Both sides should hash this out now, because eventually some dopey pol’s going to make a crack about burritos and none of us will know how to react.