In 2012 Latino voters are going to be critical to races across the country, yet it seems that even as candidates woo these voters with their targeted messages, the actual policies and rhetoric have not changed. Which is to say, many Latino voters are frustrated by the double-talk from politicos who at once say they have Latinos’ best interests in mind, yet have no intention of guarding against nasty verbiage or legislation that says the contrary.
Enter an entirely different sort of double-talk: Mexican Mitt Romney.
Since his debut two weeks ago, @MexicanMitt — a Twitter feed that mocks Romney’s Latino pandering and policies — has grown to almost 3,000 followers and dozens of media outlets have covered the sensation. With declarations such as, “I AM THE JUAN PERCENT” or “I AM A YOB CREATOR,” @MexicanMitt is at once lampooning Romney as a politician, but giving this satire a particular flavor — one aimed squarely at the stereotypical ways in which politicos often court the Latino electorate (from either side of the aisle).
ABC wrote a piece about @MexicanMitt, noting that his emergence came right after Romney tried to use his father’s Mexican heritage (he was born there) to woo Latino voters. However, Romney’s attempts to engage Latinos with his Mexican heritage fall flat against his economic, educational and immigration positions that brusquely clash with what Latino voters have said is important to them.
In another piece, Esther J. Cepeda wrote that @MexicanMitt as a “stereotype-spewing lampoon” has hit an important note with folks precisely because politicos have failed to authentically engage with Latino voters. Just by talking to folks, or reading Facebook or Twitter comments, you hear that no one is buying the sudden interest in speaking Spanish, or the unexpected pitch about “common values” or the too-late wakeup call that many politicians are making to Latino voters.
The fact is that, whoever @MexicanMitt is, s/he understands that 2012 is going to be a pivotal year for the power of Latino voters. And because this is so, it’s of the utmost importance that politicians like Romney cut back on the traditional doublespeak and get real with voters.
You can’t say you identify with Latinos, hardest hit in the recession, when you say that your $370,000-plus speaking fees was “not very much.” Why release an ad in Spanish that includes Latino lawmakers speaking Spanish if you think the country should only speak English? How can you say you will veto the DREAM Act no matter what, when you don’t really understand the complexity of the immigration system?
If Romney himself doesn’t have the answer to the questions, no doubt @MexicanMitt can come up with something.