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Articles filed under Navarrette, Rueben

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  • Cruz finds redemption May 22, 2013 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarette: A couple of weeks ago, in a partisan jab, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (a Democrat) accused Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (a Republican) of being “anti-immigration.” This was an odd accusation to level at someone whose personal hero is his father, Rafael, who immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1957.

     
  • Tequila, with love May 2, 2013 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr.: For Cinco de Mayo this year, I recommend a tequila that lets you savor a son's love for his father. The liquor will fill your glass. But the story behind it will fill your soul.

     
  • Testing the will of the people Apr 1, 2013 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: When I listen to conservatives and liberals stake out their respective positions on gay marriage, I have to wonder if they're listening to themselves talk.

     
  • Hispanic Republicans walk a fine line Jan 24, 2013 9:14 AM
    When you’re a Hispanic Republican, the immigration debate comes with both obstacles and opportunities. This is true with two lawmakers who are among the most important people to watch in the debate that is about to play out in Congress: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. These rising superstars in the GOP need to find the sweet spot on immigration, where they could get something done without getting done in. First, there are the obstacles. The media will often play “gotcha” and try to trap Rubio and Cruz between reaching out to Latinos and toeing a party line on immigration that so far has repelled Latinos. Both the right and the left will view them with suspicion. Latinos will see them as trying to please Republicans, while Republicans will suspect that their true allegiance lies with other Latinos. Both sides will wait for them to disappoint, and they will immediately pounce when that happens. Just ask Rubio. Last year, when President Obama offered deferred action to undocumented students brought here by their parents, Rubio called it a good first step. A conservative radio talk show host in San Diego who is known for anti-immigrant rants declared: “That’s it, I’m done with Rubio.” But Rubio isn’t done with immigration. He plans to introduce a bill that gives illegal immigrants a path to legal status without citizenship — and perhaps offer the citizenship option to undocumented students. Still, for Hispanic Republicans, being targeted comes with the territory. And since they’ve been put on the defensive, it’s hard for them to find a nuanced and thoughtful approach to immigration. And there is the opportunity. At the moment, the newly sworn-in Cruz is doing what Rubio did in his first two years in the Senate — trying to keep immigration at arm’s length. It didn’t work for Rubio, and it won’t work for Cruz. The Republican Party is counting on both these leaders to help it mend fences with Latino voters, and that road goes right through the immigration debate. There is no detour. In a recent interview, Cruz told me that — for him and his family — the issue is personal. His father, Rafael, left Cuba before Fidel Castro came to power. “We need to remain a nation that doesn’t just welcome but that celebrates legal immigrants who come here seeking to pursue the American dream,” he said. “All across the state of Texas, I have told my father’s story thousands of times. My dad has been my hero my entire life. But what I find most extraordinary about his story is how commonplace it is. Every one of us — whether it’s us, or our parents, or our grandparents, or our great-grandparents — we all are the children of those who fled oppression seeking freedom. I think that’s the most fundamental DNA of what it means to be an American — to value freedom and opportunity above everything else.” For Cruz, step one is “securing the border,” but he thinks that both parties are too busy trying to demagogue the issue to get even this done. Still, he seems to understand the curious paradox of America — a country of immigrants that, truth be told, has often been hostile to newer immigrants. “Resistance to immigrants is not a new phenomenon,” Cruz said. “It’s been present in the United States, and present everywhere really, for centuries. You go back 100 years, and go to the New York City, and you’d see signs in restaurants that said: ‘No Irish and No Dogs.’ Then you had a big immigration wave from Ireland, and there was the same sense of fear that we sometimes see manifested here.” Indeed, it’s all about fear. We don’t just need new laws. We also need a new mindset. Americans can’t fix the immigration system until they overcome their fear of immigrants. On the left, organized labor has an economic fear that immigrants take jobs and lower wages. On the right, nativists have a cultural fear that immigrants don’t assimilate and expect Americans to lose their language and national identity. That’s the power of immigrants — bridging the political divide one scary story at a time. Rubio and Cruz have their work cut out for them. But, I suspect, they also have a lot to offer. Let’s see it. Ruben Navarrette’s email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com. © 2013, The Washington Post Writers Group

     
  • The balancing act of parenting Jan 14, 2013 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: I often describe it as my most important job. It’s the one that is the most difficult, and yet the most fulfilling. The job is being a parent to my three young children — ages 3, 5 and 7. And in 2013, my resolution is to do it better.

     
  • Democrats’ hypocrisy toward blacks Dec 31, 2012 6:10 PM
    African-American Republicans catch a lot of flak, but they can also be an illuminating force in the American political system. The reaction they often generate shows that liberals aren’t as progressive as they pretend to be. The left will not hesitate to come after anyone who threatens to weaken its hold on black voters. The reaction also shows that many African-American activists aren’t completely sincere about wanting the community to achieve political power and break barriers. In the end, the only people they want to see arrive at positions of influence are those beholden to the Democratic Party. The same is true with Hispanics, where most of the activists on the left are Democrats first and Hispanics second. They tend to put their party before their community, often with disastrous results. In the African-American community, black Republicans are regarded with suspicion. The few African-Americans who aren’t Democrats are considered unrepresentative and out of step. In this year’s presidential election, President Obama got 93 percent of the African-American vote. It’s tempting to treat the 6 percent of black voters who supported Romney as an anomaly. As evidence, consider the nasty treatment that Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is receiving after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced recently that she would name him to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving to run the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The appointment is a big deal. Scott will become the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction and, at present, the only African-American in the Senate from either party. Not bad for someone raised in poverty by a single mother. This is an American success story. It’s what progress looks like. So are those on the left celebrating? Of course not. If Scott were a Democrat, they would be raising champagne glasses. The activists would label his arrival in the Senate a historic event, and the media would run stories about how African-Americans in the South are gaining political prominence. But since Scott is a Republican, the left sees nothing positive in this appointment. In fact, Scott becomes a target — just like Hispanic Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and GOP Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas. The goal will be to discredit Scott as an intellectual lightweight, a religious zealot, a right-wing extremist or all of the above. The offensive — and that is the right word for it — has already started. In a snarky op-ed in The New York Times, Adolph L. Reed Jr., a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, dismissed Scott as a “token” put up by the Republican Party to camouflage its hostility to African-Americans and other minorities. “I suspect that appointments like Mr. Scott’s are directed less at blacks — whom they know they aren’t going to win in any significant numbers — than at whites who are inclined to vote Republican but don’t want to have to think of themselves, or be thought of by others, as racist,” Reed wrote. “Just as white Southern Democrats once used cynical manipulations — poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tests — to get around the 15th Amendment, so modern-day Republicans have deployed blacks to undermine black interests.” Really? Isn’t it clear to just about everyone by now that what undermines “black interests” -- in the realm of politics — is the fact that African-Americans are taken for granted by Democrats and written off by Republicans? It’s undeniable that Obama inspires pride within that community. But even he has come under fire from some on the left, who are upset over his lack of attention to issues such as urban violence, neglected neighborhoods, and an unemployment rate among African-American youth that hovers around 30 percent. Besides, the GOP has broken its share of racial barriers. The only two African-Americans to serve as secretary of state — Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — were nominated by a Republican, George W. Bush. Why didn’t Democratic presidents break that barrier when they had the chance? That raises a broader question. Why haven’t Democrats done more in recent years to improve the condition of African-Americans and other minorities? It’s not enough to attack black Republicans as inauthentic or inadequate. Democrats have to show that they still merit the backing of some of their most loyal constituencies. If they can’t do that, then they no longer deserve the support. Ruben Navarrette’s email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com. © 2012, The Washington Post Writers Group

     
  • Scholarships for illegal immigrants Dec 31, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr.: When it comes to how California handles illegal immigrants, the state is all over the map. Not unlike the rest of the country, the Golden State can't decide whether it wants to make life comfortable for the undocumented or make them so unhappy that it runs them off.

     
  • Whiner in chief Nov 26, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: We mustn't confuse those "gifts" with the giveaways that Republicans hand out after they win elections — from farm subsidies to tax cuts to increases in defense spending. This is totally different.

     
  • Mexico’s own immigration debate Nov 20, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: The immigration debate in Mexico is also dishonest and hypocritical and filled with people who would rather pursue their own interests than solve the problem. And it all revolves around a broken system that stays broken because important and powerful interests want it that way.

     
  • Give back to Mexico — for what? Nov 16, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: Mexican officials want to enlist Mexican-Americans to help give Mexico a makeover. The relationship is still an open wound, and yet they expect us — the children and grandchildren of the throwaways — to open our wallets. That's not going to happen, amigos.

     
  • Preaching to the choir Sep 21, 2012 5:32 PM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: You'll never hear any criticism of the deferred-action policy from so-called immigrant advocates. They tell only half the story: the part that makes Democrats look good and Republicans look bad. But, in reality, on immigration, both parties look awful.

     
  • Ambivalent in Charlotte Sep 7, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: What's a liberal to do when the person you voted for has taken up policies that you've railed against or been leery about? It's no wonder that the Democratic base — union members in particular — are less than enthusiastic about Obama's re-election.

     
  • Emanuel’s about-face on immigration Jul 19, 2012 5:00 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: If Chicago follows Cook County's lead and puts more restraints on local law enforcement, it could wind up facing punishment of its own by the Obama administration. That would be awkward, to say the least.

     
  • Harry Reid and the race card Jul 18, 2012 10:55 AM
    Let’s peek into the kindergarten classroom known as the U.S. Senate, where mischievous Harry Reid is playing with his colors again. What if everything that Americans thought we knew about race and politics was upside down? Republicans spend a lot of time and effort trying to prove they’re not racist. It’s a hard sell, particularly when running against the first African-American president. It doesn’t help that the GOP has dirty hands. The party benefited from Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” which had the effect over 30 years of courting white Southern voters by exploiting their fears of African-Americans. More recently, the party has hitched its wagon to a Southwest strategy where some Republicans use anti-Hispanic sentiment and anxiety over immigrants to scare up support from white voters in states such as Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. But what if some of those who exploit racial fears are still in the same place that many of them were just 60 years ago during the civil rights movement — the Democratic Party? And what if the Democratic brand of racism is better camouflaged because it shows itself not so much as a tendency to mistreat minorities but a desire to manipulate them? What if some Democrats think so little of African-Americans and Latinos that, at election time, they believe all they have to do is push certain buttons to get them to do their bidding? This sort of thing is hard to detect. Luckily, there is Harry Reid, who plays the race card out in the open. It happened again last week when the Senate majority leader made a not-so-subtle pitch to minorities by saying that wealthy businessmen are trying to buy the presidential election for Mitt Romney — except that Reid was more descriptive. “If this flood of outside money continues,” Reid warned on the Senate floor, “the day after the election, 17 angry old white men will wake up and realize they just bought the country.” That’s Harry. After a statement like that, you’d hope that — somewhere in Nevada — at least one old angry white man would wake up and realize he’s just helped divide the country. Reid has traveled this dirt road before. In 2009, during the health care debate, he accused Republicans of being on the wrong side — just as they were “when this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery.” (Not to ruin a perfectly good slander with inconvenient facts, but it was actually Southern Democrats who were on the wrong side of slavery and firmly advocated segregation for a century after the Civil War.) In 2010, a few years after he had helped scuttle comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate to please organized labor and keep Democrats from being called soft on illegal immigration, Reid tried to shift the blame by accusing Republicans of being hostile to Hispanics because “their skin’s a tone darker than ours” and then said he couldn’t imagine “how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.” Having to put up with Democrats who are presumptuous, dishonest and condescending would do the trick. Sometimes, when Reid goes racial, he insults fellow Democrats. According to the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Reid said privately during the 2008 election that Barack Obama could win the presidency because he is “light-skinned” and speaks “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” And once in a great while, Reid gets it right. In 2006, after the Republican-controlled Senate took a nativist detour and passed an amendment to an immigration bill that declared English the national language of the United States, Reid astutely called the amendment “racist” and said it was “directed basically to people who speak Spanish.” Still, the Senate majority leader’s fixation on race and racism is not good for Reid, Democrats or the country. The liberal media can ignore it, and Democrats can excuse it. But too many times, the senior senator from Nevada has shown an eagerness to advance his own agenda by dividing Americans along racial lines. It’s a disgusting habit. Never mind the 17 white men. When it comes to Reid and his race games, every American should be angry. Ruben Navarrette’s email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com. © 2012, The Washington Post Writers Group

     
  • Get used to stalemates Jul 26, 2011 5:00 AM
    Leading up to the 2012 election, both political parties have trouble with their bases. Republicans must contend with The Dissatisfied, and Democrats with The Disappointed.

     
  • No kids? No kidding Jul 18, 2011 3:00 AM
    In your private space, you can do what you want and ask anyone who comes into that space to do what you want as well: “Before you enter my home, please take off your shoes.” But when you step into a public space, you have to give up any expectation that you’ll be able to control the behavior of others to make yourself more comfortable.

     
  • Hollywood’s Latino snub Mar 9, 2011 9:30 AM
    Ask any of the small but growing number of Latino writers, directors, producers and actors who don’t get a fair shot at jobs in show business even though the industry is based in a city that is nearly 50 percent Latino. The latest insult was the casting of Depp to play Francisco “Pancho” Villa

     
  • In praise of leaders with backbone Mar 3, 2011 11:52 PM
    In politics, the norm is spineless politicians who avoid tough subjects that could jeopardize their jobs by stirring the masses.

     
  • Where are the Latino journalists going? Feb 24, 2011 12:53 PM
    What some critics call the media “brownout” is happening at a most inconvenient time. The big story outside the newsroom is the phenomenal growth of the Latino population in the United States over the last 10 years.

     
  • On immigration, actions louder than words Feb 14, 2011 11:27 AM
    And the problem is not just that Obama broke his promise to make immigration reform a top priority in his first term. From what I’m hearing, what really concerns many Latinos is that Obama is moving in the opposite direction.

     
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