GOP Take Note: New Immigrant Voters Don't Respond Well to Offensive Comments

| Tue Aug. 29, 2006 4:04 PM EDT

Try as they might, Republicans can't seem to make much headway with minorities.

One Republican senator described his house painter as a "little Guatemalan man." Another called an Indian man a "macaca," a type of monkey.

Just as the GOP is pushing for minority voters, the two recent gaffes have fed the perception among some blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans that Republicans are out of touch with the changing face of the nation.

"There is disconnect at some level," said Michael K. Fauntroy, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. "The country is becoming browner and new voters, particularly new immigrant voters, don't respond favorably to (offensive) comments."

(Whereas experienced voters take offensive comments in stride?) True, the piece offers a few examples of Democrats saying idiotic and racially insensitive things. But Republicans, of course, labor under the perception that this kind of thing is close to the norm for them--a little unfair, perhaps (stuff happens!), but not entirely unfounded. And calling such comments "misstatements," as does an RNC type quoted in this story, won't change that. Hence, the polls show minorities squarely, though to shifting degrees, in the Democratic camp.

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