[Later this afternoon/early evening, Mitt Romney will be in Louisville for a fundraiser hosted by the Papa John's guy, and the Tea Party is rallying down the street... Sonka has a preview.]
Mitt Romney spoke at a private fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida over the weekend and most all of what he said was overheard by reporters. Romney explained that he was going to eliminate large swaths of the government — like the Department of Housing and Urban Development — but that he wasn’t going to reveal his true plans before taking office.
Romney did allow that he wouldn’t fully demolish the Department of Education but instead would leave just enough of it standing so that he could fight the teachers who teach your kids and keep them from getting to uppity or asking for a little more money to educate America’s children.
NBC News has a thorough report of all the above, but perhaps the best part comes toward the end in which Romney explains to the room full of Florida Republicans his Hispanic problem:
The former governor also addressed how he might make strides toward winning back Hispanic voters, another crucial voting bloc with whom he and other Republicans lag, according to recent polls.
Predicting that immigration would become a much larger issue in the fall campaign, Romney told his audience, “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” warning that recent polling showing Hispanics breaking in huge percentages for President Obama “spells doom for us.”
Romney said the GOP must offer its own policies to woo Hispanics, including a “Republican DREAM Act,” referring to the legislative proposal favored by Democrats that would offer illegal immigrants a limited path to citizenship, to give Hispanic voters a real choice between parties.
While Romney might be reading the set-up of the problem correctly, the idea that he’s going to lead a Republican DREAM Act to gain back Hispanic voters from the Obama campaign would be dumb enough on the surface even if you didn’t consider the wild-eyed reaction that plank in the Romney platform will inspire in the Tea Party controlling base of the Grand Ol’ Party.
Just days after the closed-door meeting with Florida fundraisers, Romney went on a conservative talk show and claimed there was a “vast left wing conspiracy” working to destroy him:
“There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me,” Romney said in response. “They’re going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That’s what people care about.”
Unfortunately for the directionally challenged Mitt Romney, his biggest problem clearly comes from the Right.
Romney’s “Republican DREAM Act” whisper-campaign to Florida fundraisers echoes Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s recent “Republican DREAM Act” bill… which alienates Hispanics and Republican voters alike (much more from the Right spectrum here).
Indeed, in the wake of Romney’s closed-door comments, his top immigration advisor told the Washington Post:
I just got off the phone with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an adviser to Romney on immigration. He stated flatly that he didn’t think Republicans — or Romney — should, or would, support any version of the DREAM Act that provides undocumented immigrants with any kind of path to legal status.
If Romney sticks to this — and Kobach said he would — there’s very little room for him to moderate his approach to immigration. In addition to advising Romney on immigration, Kobach is a national GOP voice on the issue, suggesting the right would not permit any move of this kind.
“I’d absolutely reject any proposal that would give a path to legal status for illegal aliens en masse,” Kobach said. “That is what amnesty is. I do not expect [Romney] to propose or embrace amnesty.”
This all sets up an interesting electoral math equation.
Could Mitt Romney pick up enough Hispanic votes to offset the wave of lost Tea Party votes and still break even?
Where do you move when what you’re moving from