Clinton And Villaraigosa: The Downside Of Hispandering

[VDARE.com note: Hispandering is a term meaning "pandering to Hispanics." It was invented by Mickey Kaus in 2002, and we immediately adopted it in place of Hispano-Pander, which we'd been using previously. Hispano-Pander sounded too much like a classic automobile.]

When I watch immigration enthusiast politicians spouting nonsense from coast to coast, one question—with two variations—keeps rolling over in my mind:

  • Who advises them?

  • And why do they listen to the advice they get? Or why don't they seek out better counsel in the first place?

Here's a prominent example from this summer. As she has every year for as long as I can remember, Sen. Dianne Feinstein predicted that without an immigrant guest worker program, crops would rot in the field and California would suffer untold billions of dollars of losses.

Is there no one on Feinstein's staff to whisper in her ear: "Senator, we've used this one for over a decade. No one is listening because nothing is rotting"?

What's possible is that everyone has warned Feinstein but since she is old and crotchety, she doesn't listen…and since the people around her would like to keep their jobs, they've stopped bucking her.

Or there's presidential aspirant John McCain. Why would he risk further infuriating potential conservative Republican supporters by naming well-known reconquista Juan Hernandez as his "Hispanic Outreach Director"? No one performs the function of reaching out to Hispanics more slavishly than McCain himself, as his Senate voting record conclusively proves.

Finally, in the strangest case of all, we have Hillary Clinton's appointment of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as co-chairman of her national campaign.

That Clinton, a woman who suffered through the humiliation of her husband's tryst with Monica Lewinsky, could choose a man whose personal life makes Bill Clinton look like a saint defies all logic...desperate as she may be for the coveted Hispanic vote.

But, as we'll see when we examine the facts, there's no conceivable way that Villaraigosa could have been an asset to her.

Villaraigosa has been in the headlines these past few days as he hosted Mexican president Felipe Calderon who wound up his five-city tour in my now-unrecognizable hometown. [Mexican President Calderon Meets With LA Mayor Villaraigosa, By Greg Risling, Associated Press, February 14, 2008]

Maybe Villaraigosa caught a break in his personal life considering that Calderon's visit fell on St. Valentine's Day.

Since the women in his life aren't speaking to him —both wife Corina and former mistress Telemundo reporter Mirthala Salinas [Picture and video here] —how else would Villaraigosa spend the day traditionally reserved for lovers if not billing and cooing with Calderon?

La señora Villaraigosa filed for divorce after her husband's tawdry affair became public. And Telemundo transferred Salinas, after suspending her for two-months, to its Inland Empire bureau in the California hellhole known as Riverside. If you have been to Riverside lately, you know how cruel Salinas' punishment was. Not surprisingly, she is reported to have quit.

When it comes to extramarital philandering, Villaraigosa is a multiple offender.

In 1994, while combing California allegedly "researching" the viability of his political career, Villaraigosa and married family friend Marta Reyes were instead shacked up in a Silver Lake motel. To make the story even more distasteful, at the time his wife Corina was home recovering from cancer surgery.

Corina soon discovered Villaraigosa's affair—and foolishly forgave him, only to suffer another day. (All the dirt is dished here.)

Villaraigosa is whatever name you would give to someone whose ethical standards don't even reach the level of your garden-variety lounge lizard.

Okay, so this is Hollywood. Shameless sex…marital infidelity… phony names on registrations at cheap motels… lies compounded by bigger lies…what else is new?

But that's the most amazing thing: despite repeated open demonstrations of moral turpitude that should force him "into the shadows" forever, Villaraigosa became one of Clinton's prominent spokesmen.

How is it possible?

Any rational person would expect that, given Clinton's experiences with her cheating husband, the mere mention of Villaraigosa's name would make her vomit. Under no circumstances should Clinton want to be in the same room with the depraved Mechista.

That's not what happened. In Clinton's pandering effort to appeal to Hispanic voters, no cad is too unworthy to represent her.

With the wheels now apparently coming off of Clinton's campaign, might Villaraigosa's role in Iowa where she finished a distant third to Barack Obama have been the beginning of the end for her?

The political pros and cons of the Clinton-Villaraigosa connection never added up for Hillary.

In New Hampshire, where Villaraigosa first stumped for Clinton, he had no impact. The state, which Clinton won, has almost no Hispanics (about 2 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Therefore, Villaraigosa probably couldn't have helped her—especially when you factor in the prevailing statewide attitudes towards Californians.

As someone who has spent a good deal of time in New Hampshire, I can report that most Granite State residents view us as people with whom they have no connection. They're aware that Los Angeles exists but it is unlikely that, even if you put an airline ticket in their hands, they'd have much interest in visiting.

Who in New Hampshire then would take seriously anything a Mexican mayor from Los Angeles would have to say? Even though Clinton won the primary, she demonstrated poor judgment by letting Villaraigosa represent her.

On to Iowa, where Clinton's vulnerability first surfaced, and a different story played out. Illegal immigration in Iowa is important. In recent years, the state's alien population has risen rapidly.  And voters are angry about it.

Illegal immigrants took well paying jobs in the meat packing industry away from Iowans where, in many cases, several generations had worked in the factories before aliens were recruited at drastically lower pay.

Villaraigosa to the rescue? Not hardly.  Like New Hampshire, Iowans view Californians with suspicion…too much glitz and glamour.

To confirm Iowans apprehensions, Villaraigosa arrived on the Clinton campaign trail fresh off an Aspen, CO. skiing vacation.

Iowans don't associate snow with the high-life. To them, it's what they shovel off their driveways all too often on winter mornings.

Having a $400 haircut (Villaraigosa and John Edwards have the same stylist) is a negative in Iowa.

Clinton finished a distant third behind Barack Obama.

How much Villaraigosa's high profile appearances on her behalf set Clinton back can't be quantified. But, as in New Hampshire, Villaraigosa's endorsement provided no readily apparent upside.

One could argue that Villaraigosa, who made several supportive appearances on Clinton's behalf, was an asset in her successful California primary victory.  But—an important distinction—Villaraigosa lives in California. That's a lot different than traveling half way across the country to do Clinton's bidding.

Bad behavior does have its consequences, however. Two years ago, after Villaraigosa won the mayoral election, his name was bandied about as a likely candidate for governor in 2010 when Arnold Schwarzenegger terms out. Some speculated that he might pursue a U.S. Senate seat if and when Barbara Boxer or Feinstein mercifully retires.

All that talk is over. In fact, Villaraigosa may have trouble keeping his current job when he runs for re-election in 2009.

Walter Moore, a lawyer and Republican mayoral candidate in 2005, notes that Villaraigosa's out of state trips are an express violation of the Los Angeles City Charter that requires the mayor and each city council member to "devote their entire time to duties related to their offices…"

Moore, who will challenge Villaraigosa again, further observes that the charter forbids the mayor from accepting "compensation . . . for his services" other than city salary and benefits. Moore wonders who picked up the tab for Villaraigosa's expenses.

Summing up the strange and curious case of Villaraigosa and Clinton: the only logical conclusion is that thoughtless pursuit of the Hispanic vote doesn't pay off—and has the unintended negative consequence of damaging candidates with voters of all races.

Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.