Twitter is a tough place, especially when you try to tweet something in 140 characters. Take the case of Jim Messina, who is the campaign manager for Obama 2012. This is what he tweeted out this morning:
Messina was referring to a column by The Washington Post's Dana Milbank entitled "Does the GOP care about Latinos?" It was actually a very interesting column that show differences between certain factions of the GOP that are looking at the US Latino voter. In one camp, you have the Jeb Bushes of the world (with a new appearance by Marco Rubio), who are basically telling their colleagues to stop the anti-immigration rhetoric. In the other camp, you have the Rand Pauls of the world who seem to be on another planet.
Like we have always said, the GOP had its golden opportunity to capitalize on US Latinos' dissatisfaction with President Obama, whether it is with the economy, his Deporter-in-Chief status, or his failure to push the passing of the DREAM Act. But instead, the major GOP candidates talked about electric fences, deporting 14 million people and siding with the party's more nativist sector. The GOP is struggling to capture the Latino vote more than ever, but it is failing, and even their own people are saying it. (Bush, Rubio, etc.)
But that doesn't mean Messina and Obama 2012 get a free pass. Granted, Milbank's column line was in response to a line given by Senator John McCain who was touting how the chimichanga was one of Latino Arizona's greatest contributions to the US. McCain failed by missing the point, and Milbank played into it, but we can understand what he was doing as a column. Even though it was dumb.
Messina, however, just tweets out a tweet that from first glance is so out of touch with the complexities of the US Latino voters. Hell, we don't even know Mexicans who eat chimichangas, which is a Tex Mex food concoction and is about as Latino as say, a bad Los Lobos cover band that is headed up by some cowboys. (Granted, some who will see this tweet and who are Latino will find the tweet funny and witty, and that is a problem too.)
Silly tweet games won't win you votes and Messina just played into it and it was wrong and offensive. Stop the Panderfiesta, guys, and start waking up to the fact that the US Latino vote is not a given this election year. Just a little bit more respect would go a long way.
Messina's tweet is just as dumb as any other stereotypes we see, whether is comes to celebrating Jeremy Lin's Asian-ness or denouncing the comments from a Taco Mayor. Word of advice to Messina: when you tweet something out like that, just give it more context, link back to the original poster or column. And take a pause before you do it. You enter dangerous territory when you start pandering.
Maybe we should tweet this out to Messina:
In this case, we tend to side with the typical Washington reaction that is going to come out of this. Here is a post from The Hill:
"The fact that the campaign manager of President Obama's reelection campaign thinks it's appropriate to disseminate insulting jokes about the Hispanic community is a perfect example of the kind of empty rhetoric that characterizes this White House's so-called outreach to Latinos. We demand that Mr. Messina immediately apologize and we ask that President Obama disavow his campaign manager's ridiculous statement," said Jennifer Sevilla Korn, executive director of the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network, in a statement.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) also hammered Messina over the comments. The RNC's Latino Twitter account re-tweeted one user's comment telling Messina, "[N]ot to try and insult your intelligence or anything, but not all Hispanics are about chimichangas."