The week where we were all just sayin’ NALEO, all wondering if the Citrus Bowl was going to save our lives, and all coughing at the idea of smokeless bars
Published: June 28, 2012
Sometimes watching the barbs and distorted truths of presidential campaign politics on your living room television is enough to send you into convulsive fits of channel surfing, in hope of at least landing on something like a telenovela stair-falling scene replete with shattered vases and inscrutable exclamations. Well, last week – just as we were starting to get used to the soft, vindictive voices of "regular" folk warning us that President Obama would most certainly bring on the apocalypse should he be re-elected – the whole chugging train of political suggestion showed up right in our backyards in real time, and we couldn't even turn it off!
The point of the layover hangover was the highly coveted Latino vote in the Sunshine State. Obama and his presumed presidential competition were the lead speakers at this year's National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials out at Disney. "NALEO!" is all anybody on TV could say for two days.
As you surely know by now, Mitt the magic Romney hasn't been polling too well among Hispanics; a poll last week showed him 16 points behind (53-37 percent) his incumbent rival. Pundits wondered (and wondered, and wondered) whether Romney would take his eyes off the idea of selling you the country like it was a used car and actually address what everybody in the room really wanted to hear: "So, Mr. Anti-immigration, how do you feel about immigration now that you're in a room full of Latinos?"
The answer to that question was a resounding "awkward." On June 21, Romney puffed out line after line of amorphous nonsense, almost forcefully skirting the issue. "Liberty's torch can shine just as brightly for immigrants as it did for immigrants in the past," he said. How's that? You know, with high-tech fences and "strong families; moms, dads and kids all living together under the same roof." Also, "I'd staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced digital degree in America." Plus, soldiers would get a "path to legal status." What about everybody in between? Oh, that's right, there is no in between. Tepid applause peppered with boos followed as Romney's forehead drenched itself in emergency coolant. He bombed.
So by the time Obama strutted onto the stage on Friday – with every punctuated second seeming to receive a standing ovation – it was pretty clear that Romney hadn't made much of a dent in Obama's commanding lead. Mostly he just stated the obvious: That his recent executive order offering a path to citizenship for good kids was more than Congress had been able to do in the past six years, that the nefarious "patchwork" of Arizona-style laws was at best counterproductive, that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (a bipartisan effort) is still an option as far as he's concerned. "The bill hasn't changed, the need hasn't changed; the only thing that changed was politics!" he shot, then scored. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, he got the cheer-line of the whole event when he pointed out that Romney had, just a day earlier, said he was a man who keeps his promises.
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