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GOP shoves Latinos further away

Updated: November 7, 2013 6:41AM

While working on a column about struggling businesses in Little Village last year, I met a Latina restaurant owner who had little faith that the economy could improve under President Obama.

This was before the November election, and the restaurant owner quickly steered the topic to Obama’s challenger, Mitt Romney.

“He doesn’t want us,” she said of Romney.

That pretty well sums up the way a majority of Latinos perceive the Republican party.

They don’t want us.

It’s no wonder that 63 percent of Hispanics reported feeling closer then to the Democratic party than they had in the past, compared with 29 percent who said the same about Republicans, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Romney did himself no favors, and Republicans in the House of Representatives are widening the divide by balking on the Senate’s immigration bill.

Of course, it’s not just Latinos being alienated by conservative Republicans who are dooming their party with over-the-top antics. The hard-liners continue to anger wide swaths of Americans these days. To that end, it is a banner year for the GOP.

More than 800,000 furloughed workers and their families who became casualties of the partial federal government shutdown caused by Republicans in the House of the Representatives should exact revenge at the ballot box in next year’s elections. Congress will try to smooth things over with back pay, and those up for re-election will bank on time healing that wound.

Tourists in Washington, D.C., who wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial and instead bumped into barricades, as well as those who anxiously awaited word on Head Start programs, need to remember who is responsible for the mess.

That would be House members who bowed to hard-line Republicans that wanted the health care law repealed or delayed. It reeked of arrogance and futility, but we shouldn’t be surprised. These same people voted in vain more than three dozen times to repeal Obamacare.

No matter where you stand on Obamacare, and I have deep concerns of rising costs for the middle class, fighting it is moot at this point.

In full-blown self-destructive mode, Republicans have dismissed all those who stand to benefit from the law — not just the poor, but those who were denied coverage in the past based on pre-existing conditions and women who faced astronomical surcharges for pregnancy coverage or had to exclude it to make policies affordable.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) highlighted the benefits for women in an op-ed for Crain’s Chicago Business that read like a rallying cry for Democrats. “Until now, women have been paying up to 81 percent more for health insurance than men. Those days are over,” she wrote.

Put aside health care and look at another measure that makes Republicans look sour and callous: The House voted to sharply reduce the food-stamp program while millions of Americans barely recovering from the economic collapse of six years ago are still depending on it.

Republicans like pointing to the relative few who abuse the program as a reason for cuts. If only they showed the same kind of disgust for predatory loans made under fat-cat bank executives.

Awhile back, former Sen. Bob Dole said he could no longer recognize his own party.

He looks at the big picture and wonders why his party insists on alienating so many of us.


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