HELLO MEL... So Mel Martinez is taking the reins at the RNC. Reporters have been quick to point out that Martinez was the author of a much-publicized memo urging Republicans to seize the political advantage presented by Terri Schiavo, and that he has some questionable connections to Jack Abramoff, via Bob Ney. Itís not all that shocking that a few skeletons lurk in his closet (this year proficiency in some kind of political skullduggery practically seems to be a requirement for consideration for the RNC gig.) What Martinezís hire really signals is the growing alarm among some Republicans at just how badly their image among Latinos has been damaged. Martinez spent a good deal of time this year trying to persuade House Republicans not to cause a political train wreck by pushing for an excessively harsh immigration bill. Now he gets to fix up the train.
And Martinez is no slouch. Even though he wasnít up for re-election this year, he was a prodigious fundraiser and campaigner for his colleagues, including those in the toughest races, like Rick Santorum. In other words, he seems to have a lot of energy for lost causes, which is increasingly what the GOPís Hispanic outreach resembles these days.
—Rachel Morris 8:40 PM
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