Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mel Martinez debate intensifying

On Tuesday, we posed the question, "Is the Martinez RNC chairmanship in Jeopardy?" Just two days later the debate has intensified and the rhetoric is soaring from both sides.

From the WaTimes:

Texas RNC member Denise McNamara said the attempt by Mr. Bush's supporters in the national committee to name Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as general chairman "is like pouring gas on an already smoldering electorate," citing Mr. Martinez's role in promoting last year's "comprehensive" immigration bill in the Senate.

"Choosing an RNC chairman who supports amnesty [for illegal aliens] is tantamount to telling the conservative majority of Americans that they do not matter."
One of Mr. Martinez's supporters, Florida RNC member Paul Senft Jr., told the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper: "With some people, the issue of amnesty is a litmus test and anything short of a concentration camp is amnesty."
The vote is scheduled to take place today, and Republican leaders are bracing for rebellion:
"The question is whether the Martinez fight will be a skirmish or a full-scale rebellion," said New Jersey RNC member David Norcross, a former RNC general counsel who oversaw the 2004 Republican presidential nominating convention in New York. "I think it will be a skirmish, but I am preparing for a full-scale rebellion."
We gave our opinion here on Tuesday. In the interest of the party, during these critical times, we think it best to move beyond this by removing Martinez from consideration. We also expressed a bit of regret, as we feel a Martinez chairmanship would be good for Florida. Now the day has come and we too are bracing for the fallout.

Unfortunately, the situation is not lost on the other side. Daily Kos is relishing the fight:

The proudly bilingual Latino in me cringes at the English First attacks and the embrace of Tom Tancredo-style xenphobia. But the partisan Democrat in me applauds their efforts. Unlike their covert "Southern Strategy", which kept the Dixiecrats' racism hidden from plain view, the anti-brown people hysteria is out in the open and hard to miss.

So I hope they keep it up. I liked winning the 2006 elections. I want to win more. And mass alienation of the largest growing demographic in the country is a fantastic way to making that happen.

Let's hope his optimism is misplaced.