|Thomas E. Perez and his boss Eric Holder|
This morning the Republican National Committee released a report that purports to examine everything that’s wrong with the GOP, one that has a heavy emphasis on repairing relations with Latinos. “By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29 percent, up from 17 percent now,” the report laments, adding that unless Republicans “get serious” about tackling their minority outreach problem, “we will lose future elections.”
Only a few hours later, it is now clear thatsome Republicans will do all they can to block Obama’s first Latino pick for his second-term cabinet — and the right is gearing up for a campaign against him that will make the effort to block Chuck Hagel look like a knitting seminar. Given Thomas Perez’s background as the son of Dominican immigrants, plus his role running the Justice Department’s civil rights division, this isn’t going to make the RNC’s “outreach” to Latinos any easier.
Senator David Vitter announced today that he will put a “hold” on Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez as labor secretary, partly on the grounds of his work on … the New Black Panther case. Other Republican Senators plan to paint Perez as a “radical legal activist” who has “tried to help illegal immigrants avoid detection,” as the New York Times puts it.
To be clear, it is fair game for Republicans to use the nomination process to ask legitimate questions about a nominee, and to raise substantive objections to that nominee. But if the attacks on Perez veer into the lurid and racially charged, it will be very interesting to see how Republicans who agree with the RNC’s analysis of the GOP’s problems handle it.