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Meg Whitman Habla Español

Laura Cueva |
July 27, 2010 | 4:36 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Meg Whitman. Creative Commons
Meg Whitman. Creative Commons
Oh, Meg Whitman. Here we go again.

During the primaries, you were “tough as nails” on illegal immigration. You made your stance perfectly clear: No amnesty – No exceptions. (Just look at this four-page mailer she sent out during the election. It doesn’t get more serious than that.)

But, let’s face it. You want to win. Even if that means speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

Just a few months ago, Meg Whitman campaigned completely against immigrant rights, promising to secure the borders, get rid of “illegals” and punish employers who hired undocumented workers.

Now, she’s advertising on Spanish television and Spanish radio, and she’s even plastered Spanish billboards in areas heavily populated by Latinos, letting us know that she was against Prop 187 and is against Arizona’s new controversial law SB1070.

As a Latino voter, I could not be more disgusted.

It’s one thing to be against illegal immigration and against amnesty. Conservatives have made their arguments against it, so let’s call the whole thing a difference of opinion.

But to be so totally against it and then turn around and conveniently befriend Latinos in order to win votes is a slap in the face to Latinos everywhere and I hope you, Meg Whitman, fail miserably come November. 

Well that’s what I hope, but the reality is a bit different.

For a lot of Latinos, this is the first they have heard from Whitman. Her first Spanish ad debuted during the Mexico-France game of the World Cup and Latinos were struck by it and by her stance on the Arizona law. They hadn’t heard anything about her position on immigration and securing the border during the primaries because those ads didn’t air on Spanish TV.

To be fair, Whitman never said she supported the discriminatory law in Arizona, but she didn’t outright oppose it either. Her Republican rival Steve Poizner was extremely conservative and he pushed her toward a more conservative stance during the primaries.

Now, Meg Whitman is amping up her game. She knows that Latinos are a major part of the electorate in California, which is home to a quarter of the country’s illegal immigrant population. Latinos living here, then, are bound to be affected by immigration reform in some way. And since she’s no longer running against a stone-cold conservative, she needs to work for that liberal Latino vote.

And so you have these Spanish ads.

Though Whitman has seen a 14-point gain among Latinos due to her slew of Spanish advertising, Democrat Jerry Brown still holds an 11-point lead among Latino voters, according to a Field Poll released in July.

If Brown begins going after the Latino constituency more aggressively, he’s sure to win back a majority of the votes he’s lost.

Still, I don’t know what I find more insulting: the ease with which Whitman flip flops on a major policy issue or her belief that we're just too naïve to know any better.

To reach staff reporter Laura Cueva, click here.




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