This past Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) railed against Democrats for using the lame duck session simply to make Republicans “look bad.” More specifically, Graham announced on CBS’ Face the Nation that Democrats pushed the DREAM Act simply to hurt the GOP’s reputation amongst Latinos:
The last two weeks have been an absolutely excruciating exercise — Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — a controversial topic. Some say the civil rights issue of our generation, others say battlefield effectiveness was passed in the lame-duck session without one amendment being offered. The DREAM Act we’ve had two votes on the DREAM Act. Controversial immigration, there was no efforts to find a common ground there, passed without the ability to amend to try to make Republicans look bad with Hispanics.
It’s impossible to deny that some sort of political calculation was made by Democratic leadership when the DREAM Act was brought up for a vote. However, when it comes to Republicans looking bad with Latinos, that is largely the GOP’s own doing.
“I want to hear Republican leaders stand up and say, ‘The Republican Party absolutely loves the Hispanic-American community; we resonate with your values; we are the party for you,’” the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, recently told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Instead, I’m just hearing xenophobia and racism. If they keep it up, all I can say is good luck in an increasingly diverse, multicultural America.”
Meg Whitman’s former lead spokesman Rob Stutzman similarly told the Los Angeles Times, “They [Republicans] sit around at cocktail parties and they [Latinos] listen on talk shows and hear their parents referred to as ‘illegals.’ And we wonder why these people [Latinos] don’t want to register as Republicans.”
Even if Democrats were out to merely tarnish the GOP’s reputation by bringing up the DREAM Act (which it doesn’t appear they were), Republicans eagerly took the bait. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) called the bill a “nightmare for the American people.” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) claimed it contained loopholes for terrorists. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) stated that it was “sacrilegious” and “disrespectful” to ask the Senate to vote on anything so close to Christmas.
Perhaps the most stinging remarks came from Graham himself. Minutes before the DREAM Act failed, Graham took the senate floor to tell all the young undocumented immigrants who visited his office that they were “wasting their time.”
When Senator Harry Reid mentioned that not a single Hispanic should vote for the Republican Party, he did it for political reasons. And though Reid said that out of convenience, today, all Hispanics that hope for our community to become a vibrant element of American society should consider this possibility. [...]
Where is “compassionate conservatism,” where are the “family values?”