This is beyond bad for the GOP. From the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — President Bush's decision to back Sen. Mel Martinez to help lead the Republican Party, a move intended to appeal to disaffected Latino voters, drew sharp criticism Tuesday from some of the party's core conservatives, who disdain the Florida lawmaker's support for liberalized immigration laws.George W. Bush (or more likely Karl Rove) has realized that if the GOP becomes the 'white' party, it's going to drift towards irrelevence as minorities begin to make up more and more of the electorate. That's why before Martinez, the rumors were that Michael Steele would be the RNC chair. The US Census has predicted that Whites will be the slowest growing racial group in the United States for the next 20 years. Making that group your only voting block isn't going to get you very far.
The decision to name the Cuban-born Martinez as Republican National Committee general chairman served as an acknowledgment that the GOP had lost ground among Latinos; in last week's midterm election, the Republican share of the Latino vote dropped to 30% from more than 40% in 2004. Party leaders have said they need to build more support among Latinos for the GOP to regain its dominance.
Criticism of Martinez came Tuesday from several conservatives, including Curly Haugland, an RNC member from North Dakota, who said he believed the party was far too focused on pandering to minorities.
"We're losing our base in droves because they don't get campaigned to," he said, referring to GOP-leaning conservatives.
Randy Pullen of Arizona, another RNC member and an activist against illegal immigration, likened Martinez's selection to the episode last year in which Bush named his longtime friend and legal counsel to the Supreme Court, only to reverse himself after a furious conservative backlash.
"I'm hoping that it's not another Harriet Miers moment," Pullen said.
Another leading critic of Bush's stance on immigration, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, offered tepid support for Martinez.
Tancredo called the senator a "competent spokesman for our party," but added that if he "rejects the will of rank-and-file Republicans and uses the position to advocate for things like the president's amnesty proposal, then I believe the party could be headed for another shellacking at the polls in 2008."
But Rove doesn't seem to be able to get 'The Base' to see that - or at least he can't get them to accept that.
The more noise Republican 'send 'em all back' immigration hawks make, the less likely the GOP is to attract any support from people of Latino descent.
That said, it's important that the Democratic party be something other than the 'Not-Republicans.' As a party, we should have (or should at least be working on developing) an intelligent, meaningful, fair and successful immigration policy.
Immigration Democrats Republicans Mel Martinez