Political Correction

Robert de Posada's History Of Using Race As A Wedge

October 21, 2010 2:59 pm ET - by Walid Zafar

Robert Garcia de Posada, the man behind Latinos for Reform, the shadowy 527 group that's produced a new ad encouraging Hispanics not to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, has a long record as a Republican operative.  De Posada has worked for the Republican National Committee, President George W. Bush's Social Security Commission, and Dick Armey's Americans for Border and Economic Security. In 2004, as head of the business-backed Latino Coalition, he even encouraged Latinos to vote for Bush because "Bush has a history with Latinos."

Disturbingly, de Posada has frequently used race as a wedge issue and driven the narrative that Democrats favor other minority groups over Latinos.  For instance, during the contentious confirmation process of Miguel Estrada, which Democrats filibustered because he was seen as "far beyond the mainstream," de Posada was quoted as asking, "Is the message here that the Democratic Party is sending that they have a favorite minority group?"  The Associated Press reported that de Posada was frustrated that Estrada's nomination was being held up but "that two black judges have been confirmed to the U.S. Appeals Court."  "Any opposition to [Estrada]" de Posada said, was "going to be taking it personally."

De Posada then claimed that the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund was against Estrada, a Honduran, solely because he wasn't Mexican.  As Salon's Dahlia Lithwick wrote, "De Posada also had some choice words for Robert Menendez, one of the congressional Democrats who opposes Estrada. 'Menendez' he said, 'is a Cuban-American who looks completely white. I wonder: Has he faced the racism and isolation that other Hispanics have faced?'"

During the 2008 presidential elections, de Posada's group insinuated that then-Senator Obama put the needs and interest of African Americans ahead of Latinos and suggested that if a white politician treated the community as Obama had, "the mainstream media would, without a doubt, label that candidate a bigot."  As the Huffington Post highlights, Latinos for Reform "cropped up in Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Mexico with an ad campaign that sought to drive racial divisions using a supposed allegiance of then candidate-Obama to African-Americans over Latinos."  That ad conspiratorially and falsely asked, "Did you know that Obama has opposed trade with Mexico, Central America and Colombia, yet supports free trade with Africa?"

Check out our full fact check on de Posada here.

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