Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Romney risks Hispanic support

GOP strategist Mike Murphy warns Mitt Romney about his dangerous push to move to Rick Perry's right on immigration.

“In the short term, it’s a great wedge issue for Mitt Romney to beat up Rick Perry with in the primary.

.... In the longer term, it’s a great wedge issue for President Obama to beat up the Republican nominee with. So it’s one of these things where the short-term interest and the long-term interest are in conflict.”

Read the rest of Maggie Haberman's story. It's one with huge implications for the general election.

Romney's begun taking some heat for this. Last week, I noted just how much (tonally) Romney's attacks and defense of those attacks sounded like Pete Wilson's during the 1994 California gubernatorial race, when Wilson won the election but, essentially, lost California Hispanics for a generation.

Nationwide, Hispanics voted for Obama in 2008 by 36%, but with the depressed economy, Republicans have a chance of winning them back. Romney's incessant attacks on Perry over immigration (he tied Perry to Vicente Fox last week) make that look less likely.

The question is whether Romney even needed to attack Perry on this. Certainly, it's hurt Perry, but Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and the vetting blogosphere would probably have been loud enough to do the damage, without Romney having to ramp up the attacks and risk Hispanic support.