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December 09, 2007

There’s A Republican Debate Tonight…In Spanish

This was originally supposed to happen in September but only McCain agreed to show up. For some reason they all caved, except Tancredo.

So if you speak Spanish, you may want to check out Univision. If you don’t, you’re out of luck.

UPDATE (DrewM.)
The debate is over. The AP has a quick round up, mostly focusing on immigration.

No word of any real surprises or clashes.

It would have been nice if some of the candidates had taken issue with the premise that pro-enforcement supporters were fueling anti-Hispanic sentiment. Maybe some did but it's not in this story.

More [Gabe]: In case you were interested, here is Tancredo's letter explaining why he won't do the Spanish debate. A snippet:

The debate is being sponsored by Univisión, the country's largest Spanish-language network, and the candidates' answers will be translated into Spanish. Spanish-language news broadcasts and public-affairs programming is an expression of our First Amendment freedoms. I have given many interviews to Univisión as well as local Spanish-language stations. However, a Spanish-language presidential debate is a different animal altogether.

The question of bilingualism is not new to American politics. A former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, once spoke about the importance of new immigrants giving up their old languages and allegiances in order to become equal partners in American democracy:

"We freely extend the hand of welcome and of good fellowship to every man, no matter what his creed or birthplace, who comes here honestly intent on becoming a good United States citizen like the rest of us. . . . Americanism is a question of spirit, conviction and purpose, not of creed or birthplace. The politician who bids for the Irish or German vote, or the Irishman or German who votes as an Irishman or German, is despicable, for all citizens of this commonwealth should vote solely as Americans.''

By implication, he is calling the other candidates "despicable" for attempting to speak to and solicit votes from Spanish-speaking voters in their own language. Apparently, solicitation of votes in any language other than English is "pandering."

UPDATE: JACK M.: Actually, Tancredo is correct in slamming the GOP candidates for participating in this debate.

Participating in debates like this do nothing to foster "goodwill" or "unity" or any of the other diverse, touchy-feely, multiculti, kumbayah ends that appear to be so important to at least one main page poster.

Instead, they send the signal that those who demand to remain self-excluded from full participation in the American experience will see their poor decision ratified by the powers that be. Responsible leadership realizes that the goal is to foster assimilation; not lend support to those who wish to force America to conform to them on their own terms.

Tancredo is right on this one. I won't be voting for the guy, but I will give him his due for calling the others out.


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posted by DrewM. at 08:24 PM

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