Answering the Call

Apr 11, 2014 By Skip Hollandsworth

How did Robert Jeffress turn Dallas’s once-declining First Baptist Church into a vibrant megachurch? Certainly not by pussyfooting around.

Required Reading for Republicans

Oct 9, 2009 By Paul Burka

Michael Gerson, the former Bush 43 speechwriter, has an op-ed piece in the Washington Post today on the subject of the Republican party's suicidal antipathy [my words, not his] toward Hispanics. Gerson uses the resignation of former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida in August as his entry point for the piece: ("[T]he departure of the Republican Party's most visible Hispanic leader crackles with political symbolism.") Some of Gerson's observations: * In ethnic politics, symbolism matters. And recent Republican signals to Hispanics have often been crudely unwelcoming. During the 2006 congressional debate on immigration reform, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) grabbed the Republican microphone to call Miami a "Third World country." The same year, Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) darkly warned of illegal immigrant murderers as a "slow motion nightmare" greater than Sept. 11. A provision of the House immigration reform bill would have made it illegal for priests, ministers and volunteers to "assist" illegal immigrants -- criminalizing a religious duty. Republican presidential candidates conspicuously avoided Hispanic forums during the 2008 primaries. Conservative shock radio, on its frightening fringes, can be overtly racist, referring to Mexican immigrants as "leeches," "the world's lowest primitives" and diseased carriers of the "fajita flu" who may "wipe their behinds with their hands." Pat Buchanan sells books with this title: State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. * Republican support among Latinos is collapsing. In Martinez's home state of Florida, for example, 56 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for George W. Bush in 2004. Four years later, 57 percent voted for Barack Obama. * [H]earings are beginning on another immigration reform bill, with a legislative debate likely to ripen in 2010. For Democrats -- pledged to comprehensive reform but weighing union opposition to a temporary-worker program -- the immigration debate will be difficult. For Republicans, it may be an invitation to political suicide.