Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« SIFF 2007: Monday Highlights | The Gay Bomb »

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Republican Base Speaks

posted by on June 11 at 12:08 PM

Andrew Sullivan posted this letter from a reader at his blog last week…

I am an occasional listener to talk radio on my drive to work and I have been listening in on the anger of conservative talks show hosts (Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity) and, oh my God, their callers. It’s unbelievable. You would think that [illegal immigrants], who are here because the primarily Republican business owners wanted and used cheap labor, would be treated with more sympathy. Or that their desperate attmepts to arrive in the land of the free and the brave would elicit at least some measure of admiration for their determination to seek a better life…. Yet, the hate spewed against them on radio was so intense I literally gagged.

I agree with you: if Hispanics were listening in on these shows, they are hardly likely to vote Republican for years to come. It wasn’t just about illegals, it was about what kind of illegals these were.

That letter reminded me of a piece I read in the New York Times recently about a couple of bigoted talk-radio hosts in New Jersey.

Craig Carton and Ray Rossi think mental illness is hilarious and Asian-Americans are best mocked with sing-song Chinese accents. The men, hosts of an afternoon radio show called “The Jersey Guys” that is heard here on WKXW (101.5 FM), favor adjectives for politicians that have to be bleeped out.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Carton and Mr. Rossi started “Operation Rat a Rat/La Cucha Gotcha,” a listener-participation game that encourages people to turn in friends, neighbors and “anyone suspicious” to immigration authorities. They introduced the segment with mariachi music and set the campaign to end on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), a well-known Mexican holiday.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the phrase “La Cucha Gotcha” is meant to evoke the Spanish word for cockroach.

What do you think the odds are that Carton and Rossi are Republicans? I’m thinkin’ the odds are high—and as the author of the letter to Andrew Sullivan pointed out about Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin’s shows, any Hispanic voters exposed to Carton and Rossi would be highly unlikely to vote Republican for years to come—hell, decades.

Democrats shouldn’t just hope that Hispanic voters hear or hear about these shows. Democrats should make sure Hispanic voters hear what’s being said about them by the Republican base, conservative talk-show hosts, and Republican elected officials. Hispanics are the largest growing segment of the population—and Democrats should be buying time on Spanish-language radio stations and running translated excerpts from Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Carton & Rossi, et all.

The Republican base is speaking, Dems. Make sure Hispanic voters are listening.

RSS icon Comments


It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people say "They (immigrants) are stealing our jobs." they are talking about jobs no one else wants to do. I know I don't want to pick apples, be a janitor, or work fast food. And I'm not smart enough to do I.T. work.

Posted by elswinger | June 11, 2007 12:33 PM

Given that in the mother country they've elected Fox and now Calderon, I wouldn't hold out much hope for the tex-mex voter voting in his or her best interest.
There must be some sort of bad-voting gene that runs through most mexican bloodlines.

Posted by kinaidos | June 11, 2007 12:38 PM

It's about time someone said it. When the Republican Base bloviates about immigration, they're not talking about that British sales rep or the German gal that runs the university's language lab. No, they're talking about Mexicans, aka brown people who terrify them.

The geniuses at took this on big time:

President Bush Rigorously Defends Immigration Bill to His Rapidly Imploding Base of Xenophobic Crackers

BUSH: "Folks, we've been together through a lot. And you've stood by me through it all. Through the illegitimate election of 2000. Through the double-dip recession. Through the terror attacks of 9/11(TM). Through Enron. Through the botched war in Afghanistan and failed hunt for Osama bin Laden. Through the clusterfuck kickoff to the Iraq war in 2003. Through the Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping of innocent Americans. Through "Mission Accomplished." Through Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and a policy of torture. Through Katrina. Through failed Social Security reform. Through Armstrong Williams & Jeff Gannon. Through Terri Schaivo. Through Tom Delay. Through Mark Foley. Through Scooter Libby. Through $3.00 gas. Through Walter Reed. Through "the Surge". Through Alberto Gonzales. And now even through 3500 US troops killed in Vietraq.

On one hand, you correctly accept that I'm practically Jesus. But on the other hand, you can't help but feel a surge of simple-minded, paranoid racist hatred every time you hear one of those dirty Spics yammering away in that nonsense gibberish of theirs."

Posted by Original Andrew | June 11, 2007 12:46 PM

For a very succinct and thought-provoking take on this issue, see South Park's 2004 episode titled "Goobacks," where immigrants from Mexico are replaced by immigrants from the future. Brilliant stuff.

Posted by Anthony Hecht | June 11, 2007 12:48 PM
Given that in the mother country they've elected Fox and now Calderon, I wouldn't hold out much hope for the tex-mex voter voting in his or her best interest. There must be some sort of bad-voting gene that runs through most mexican bloodlines.
Indeed, the last thing we need is to contaminate the pure American voting gene. If our electorate becomes too Mexicanized, were liable to let the Presidency fall to some dry-drunk frat boy. Next thing you know we'd be stuck in some stupid war God knows where.

We should be sending volunteers down to Mexico to teach them to vote smart like we do in the USA.

Posted by elenchos | June 11, 2007 12:51 PM

I'm one step ahead of you...I've never voted Republican. My dad used to joke that, if some nutjob like Pat Buchanan got elected President, we'd have to change to my mother's maiden name (Drake...oh so white-sounding). Oh, and kinaidos, I think American-born voters demonstrated in 2000 and 2004 that we are equally capable of voting against our own best interests.

Posted by Hernandez | June 11, 2007 1:02 PM

How does it feel to be a walking cliche' ?

Posted by tex-mex voter | June 11, 2007 1:18 PM

This is the low-hanging fruit Dems have ignored for, oh, 7 years now (if not longer). I wouldn't depend on the Dem Party *knowing* what to do in this case - you know - too busy talking about God to the erstwhile "moderates" that are disaffected by Bush, mildy fearful of immigrants, and wholly confused by foreign relations. But, hey, the Sopranos are over so maybe Middle America will pay attention. Or not.

Posted by chossback | June 11, 2007 1:18 PM

In the late '90's, California's Republican governor Pete Wilson, desperate for an issue to ignite his reelection campaign, got behind Prop 187, which would cut off state benefits for undocumented immigrants. The result: Prop 187 passed easily (but was mostly blocked by the courts), Wilson was reelected easily, and an entire generation of California Latinos has swung overwhelmingly Democratic due to the "brown menace" undertones of the whole campaign.

Hard to believe the Republicans could be this clueless about the long-term political implications, but apparently they are!

Posted by Erin | June 11, 2007 1:30 PM

Well thank the political humour gods that there are some who answer the republican based humour squads with some counter strikes of another funny point of view. That republicans are total squares.
This is even funnier in answer to those radio hosts Carton and Rossi,
not saying that what really happened was funny, but a sense of humour helps.

Posted by DreadLion | June 11, 2007 1:37 PM

This isn't funny.
what the eff is wrong with Lieberman?

Posted by DreadLion | June 11, 2007 1:45 PM

Well, the Dems could take advantage of this, but that would mean saying something bad about the other guys, and that would be mean. No dice.

Posted by Gitai | June 11, 2007 2:40 PM

I can't be the only person made extremely uneasy by some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric. Look, every sovereign nation has the right and the responsibility to control their own borders, but the way some of these assholes are talking sounds eerily similar to the Rwandan Hutus talking about the Tutsi "cockroaches" who must be exterminated.

Exterminationist rhetoric is scary shit.

Posted by Geni | June 11, 2007 3:00 PM

Geni @ 13,

Whenever Republicans are talking, I always hear the Daleks:

Aliens! Aliens! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Posted by Original Andrew | June 11, 2007 4:09 PM


Elswinger wrote:

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people say "They (immigrants) are stealing our jobs." they are talking about jobs no one else wants to do.

It never ceases to frustrate me when I hear people talk about "jobs no one else
wants to do" when what they mean is "jobs for which the employer is not offering
enough pay to make the job appealing to me".

I know I don't want to pick apples, be a janitor, or work fast food. And I'm not smart enough to do I.T. work.

I don't want to do IT work. I do it because I'm paid enough to make it
worth my while. Elswinger, I suspect that much like I would happily shovel
shit for $100/hour, you would happily pick fruit, sweep floors, or sling
hamburgers if the price was right.

If engineers made $20K/year, then that would be one of the "jobs no one else
wants to do". If fruit-pickers made $50K, there would be a line around the
block of people wanting to do the work.

We have been so effectively trained to think the the person purchasing labor
gets to set the price at which that labor will be provided, that we assume no
one wants the job if, at the price offered, no one (or people whose only other
option is going back to living in poverty) is willing to provide the labor, then
it must be the case that no one wants the job. Bullshit.

Consider this:

Our food prices stay relatively low because we import workers to do "the jobs
Americans don't want to do" (i.e., jobs that, given the slave labor wages
food-production businesses are willing to pay, people accustomed to our
standard of living find unworthy of their efforts) and thereby keep the price
of doing business lower. But our health care costs are rising. Why don't we
cap health care providers' salaries at what we're willing to pay, and when
those jobs become "the jobs Americans don't want to do", we'll just
bring in more immigrants who are willing to work for less?

Posted by Phil M | June 11, 2007 6:30 PM

Oops. Remove one of the two "no one wants the job"'s from that next-to-last paragraph.

Posted by Phil M | June 11, 2007 6:34 PM

@2. Mexican election results have nothing to do with how the Mexican people actual vote(those who still vote). Every election is rigged by party machines, even the left-progressive party, PRD, has one controlling it's few states. Mexico is a democracy only in American propaganda.

For Rove and Bush, Mexico has the ideal system. During elections cutting voters from rolls, favorable "mechanical difficulties"*, and intimidation at voting stations. Governing consists of kickbacks, no-bid contracts, special laws for donors, and incompetent hacks at every level serving only the party. Sound familiar?

*On election night 1994, with the leftist party ahead in the count, the entire country had an electrical blackout. When the power came back on, the ruling party PRI had won the final count. In spite of rigged computerized voting, power blackouts are still unusually frequent on election days.

Posted by Anne-Marie | June 11, 2007 7:33 PM

#17 I sum it like this remember Stock Market Money runners, Enron, California Energy Power grid. No more Enron, no more California blackouts, but the guys controlling the power grids with money and big money talk hustleing never got busted. Just the top dogs. Maybe perhaps they still do that crazy stuff with the blackouts.

Posted by DreadLion | June 11, 2007 9:50 PM

@18 - Agree. With all the privatizations of basic resources under Bush, I expect many politically convenient(for the Republicans) blackouts, oil and water shortages. Perhaps as well internet service cutoffs.
Nobody mentions how the California power "crisis" sort of resolved itself after Enron died. In the sense that CA didn't have to build dozens of new coal or nuclear powerplants in five years, as so many energy analysts/industry shills predicted.

Posted by Anne-Marie | June 12, 2007 9:49 AM

Carton and Rossi actually aren't as bad as this makes them look; among other fairly liberal pursuits, they've protested the firing of a lesbian schoolteacher because of said lesbianism.

They do seem to have a rather nasty streak of racism, though, which is enough to keep me from listening to their show. I don't know if they're Republicans or not.

Posted by ST in Jersey | June 13, 2007 2:31 AM

ebhou wbpgc eplnof blao kclqbxajh bjpq hekbymg

Posted by umdqpl hlkcjpiav | June 14, 2007 6:53 AM

igmh pjomglrcw pcrxfw yjbcuedgk xcpbunofd oxapnumi hlfw

Posted by ifkx nurxdbi | June 14, 2007 6:54 AM

igmh pjomglrcw pcrxfw yjbcuedgk xcpbunofd oxapnumi hlfw

Posted by ifkx nurxdbi | June 14, 2007 6:55 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).