by Dr. Manny Alvarez
Editor’s note: The following November 7th article, originally titled “An open letter to the Republican Party,” is reposted from FoxNews.com. Dr. Alvarez is a frequent contributor to Fox News, writing on medical and political issues.
My dear fellow Republicans, we need to go back to basics. The result of the election yesterday, at least for me, was a wake-up call. And this wake-up call reflected three fundamental principles: One, my love for America; two, the principles that built the party of Lincoln; and three, my Latino heritage.
There is no way to avoid dealing with the fact that 16 percent of the American population, which represents over 50 million people, are of Latino descent. I can tell you as a Latino myself, we may love our salsa music and our spicy food, but many of us desire the same things that all immigrants who have come to this country also wanted – a strong work force, a good education for our children and a place to take our sick.
For many Latinos like my father, growing their own businesses was also a big dream, and as we see today, small business growth is still quite significant in Latino families that have settled in many states of this great country.
I know as a member of the party of Lincoln, that Republican founding principles are the best way to achieve this dream for many of my compatriots. So, I ask this question: Why are we failing in our message?
The answer is very simple. We’re not listening.
I’ll use a relevant example from medicine. Not so long ago, we needed to improve our patient satisfaction scores in my hospital, so we brought in a consultant, and we asked, ‘What are we doing wrong?’
After reviewing our data, the consultant said the following, ‘You’re practicing great medicine. You guys have great outcomes. But patients feel like you’re not listening.’
I was very surprised by that. But yet, the fact that our scores were not reflecting the quality of medicine we were practicing told me we had to make some changes.
One thing that we changed was when a doctor walks into a patient’s room to speak with them, he or she now sits down. In the past, most doctors would usually come in and out of the room, answer one or two questions, and then leave. But by sitting down, the patient feels the doctor is actually taking the time out of his or her busy schedule to share a moment.
Another practice we implemented is calling the patient for follow-up after he or she has left the hospital to see if things are going OK. Again, that keeps the patient connected to us, and the patient and the patient’s family are gratified.
I think that if the Republican Party wants to change, the way that we transmit our message has to be fundamentally recalculated. You literally have to go out and identify with the real problems of many Latino families. You have to alter their perceptions. And whenever possible, you have to execute solutions, which have measurable outcomes to them – and then follow it up. Further, you must take these steps not only during an election cycle, but at every single opportunity possible. Right now, we have three Latino senators and 17 Latino congressmen. We need to go back to basics. And I’ll bet that at the end of the day, many Latino families will choose the freedom of the Republican Party over any other.
The Romney campaign accused President Obama of taking the Hispanic community “for granted” after a previously off-record interview was published, showing the president predicting that if he wins it will be because Republicans “alienated” Latinos.
The president made the comment during a 30-minute conversation with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. The Obama campaign released the transcript after the editor complained the president’s team had “handcuffed” the newspaper by insisting it be kept off record.
In the interview, Obama made two pledges for a second term, saying he’s confident Washington can strike a “grand bargain” deal on deficit reduction and immigration reform next year. He went on to take a swing at Republicans on the latter issue. “And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon,” Obama said, likely in reference to the wave of illegal immigration enforcement laws at the state level.
The Romney campaign, in response, cast doubt on the president’s editorial board comments, pointing to Obama’s failure so far to pass comprehensive immigration reform despite pledges in 2008 to do so.
“It’s a fascinating glimpse into how President Obama has taken the Hispanic community for granted for the past four years,” spokesman Alberto Martinez said in a statement. “He’s caught making secret promises to an editorial board in Iowa, which also happens to be a promise he made in 2008, a promise he failed to keep, and a promise he doesn’t repeat publicly. The whole episode underscores why millions of Hispanics are deeply disappointed with President Obama.”
Much of the rest of the Des Moines Register interview was fairly policy-focused. Obama discussed his plans for the economy, education and energy development while vigorously defending his term to date.
At one point, Obama also told the editors he has “absolutely” no regrets that he didn’t more forcefully pursue measures focused on the economy at the time he was pushing for the health care overhaul.
“The suggestion somehow that if we hadn’t pursued ObamaCare, somehow we would have gotten additional stimulus out of the Republicans, for example, that we could have primed the pump more, that’s just not borne out by any of the evidence,” Obama said, noting Republican resistance at the time. The president also defended the health care bill as a measure aimed at treating the economy.
The transcript was turned over and published after editor Rick Green, in a column Tuesday afternoon, revealed that the White House had demanded the conversation be kept out of print. Green said Obama’s aides did not give a reason for the “unusual condition” of the call.
“It was a ‘personal call’ to the Register’s publisher and editor, we were told,” Green wrote. “The specifics of the conversation could not be shared because it was off the record.”
Following the complaint, campaign officials released a transcript to the newspaper, which it then published.
Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki offered a brief explanation for the move.
“This was a call that was meant to be a personal check in with a publisher and an editor, one of whom he hasn’t spoken with in four years — one of whom he’d never spoken with before. They expressed a desire to put this on the record, make it public, we said that’s fine,” she said.
Green had written that, after the off-record conditions were initially made, the newspaper “immediately lobbied his campaign staff in Des Moines for a formal, on-the-record call,” but was told the decision “came from the White House.”
“We relented and took the call. How could we not? It’s the leader of the free world on line one. And as we weigh with our editorial board this critical decision about who to endorse, it was necessary for us to discuss the challenges confronting our state, nation and world with the president — even when handcuffed by rules related to what could be shared,” Green said.
Green noted that Mitt Romney met with the editorial board “literally” in a barn in Iowa on Oct. 9, and the audio from that conversation was posted online.
Green said in Tuesday’s column that the initial snub, though, would not impact the newspaper’s decision on an endorsement.
“That would be petty and ridiculous. We take far too seriously what’s at stake this election and what our endorsement should say,” he wrote.
The Ted Cruz victory for Texas U.S. Senate is another “Hispanic Tea Party” victory. His support by the Tea Party may be confusing to liberals and some traditional Republicans. Many people are wondering why Hispanics, like Cruz and Marco Rubio, are being supported and elected with conservative support, when Hispanics are supposed to be traditionally Democrats.
The answer is simple. Hispanics are pro-family, religious, and patriotic; and the differences between Hispanic cultural values and the politics of liberal Democrats have never been more pronounced than now.
For example, conservatives and Hispanics support traditional families, while Democrats support gay marriage. Conservatives and Hispanics are patriotic, while Democrats want to weaken America’s military. Obama and liberals also do not take a strong stand against America’s foreign enemies. Conservatives and Hispanic are also religious, while Obama and liberal Democrats have attacked religion with the HHS contraceptive mandate. Hispanics have conservative values like the Tea Party.
Another issue that appeals to Hispanics is the bold honesty conservatives have toward political, social, and economic issues. Hispanics welcome the truth and dislike politicians pandering to them because of race and ethnicity. Democrats have led the “war on poverty” for 60 years, and Hispanic unemployment has only gotten worst.
Of course, there is the immigration issue that the mainstream media and the liberal establishment seem to harp on constantly. They feel all Hispanics are the same, and therefore all Hispanics are concerned about immigration. The truth is there are many kinds of Hispanics. There are Hispanics of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican. and other national decedent. There are African-American Hispanics, Native American Hispanics, and European Hispanics. There are also high-, low-, and middle-income Hispanics; and there are Hispanics that recently immigrated (legally and otherwise) and Hispanics whose ancestors have lived in the U.S. since before Jamestown. The bottom line is that Hispanics are NOT all the same.
Hispanics like Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Congressman “Quico” Canseco, and Texas state senator John Garza are part of a new breed of Hispanic politicians who have been elected with Tea Party support because they are conservative, NOT because they are Hispanic. Critics claim they are not “Hispanic enough,” but we should ask “what is Hispanic enough?” Is it someone with the last name Fisher or Van de Putte? Or is it someone who claims to be Hispanic but does not speak Spanish? Or is it someone who plays the race card to progress politically?
Hispanics want political leaders who are American first, and who support their values of family, God, and country. Hopefully the mainstream media and the Spanish language media are listening.