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The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta


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Chimichangas, Chop Suey, Blackface and Haagen Dazs: What Do They Have In Common?

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank used his column today to have his fun smacking Republicans around, deriding the GOP for not sufficiently pandering to the Latino community to buy their votes.

He titled his column “Does the GOP care about Latino voters?” But it seems he wanted to call it “Why does the GOP hate Latinos?”

He tsk-tsks that the GOP doesn’t want to give citizenship to illegals that go to college for a few semesters (squeezing out citizens for seats in classes and dollars to pay for them). Milbank, however, doesn’t mention the college portion of the so-called Dream Act. He phrases it that the GOP wants to deny citizenship to any illegal that serves in our military. Apparently Milbank doesn’t know that it is already US policy, supported by Republicans, to grant citizenship to foreign-born soldiers serving in our armed forces. What is not current policy is to permit illegal immigrants to join. (By the way, not all illegal immigrants are Mexican, or even Latino. Do we really want to encourage al-Qaeda members to cross over the border, join the Army and voila!?) Fair and balanced perspective is not Milbank’s point here. Smearing the GOP with bigoted stereotypes is his point.

He tosses a few other smoke bombs in: “Arizona-style” immigration laws, a ludicrous comment about electrifying the border fence by a defunct GOP presidential candidate who never had a chance of going anywhere, and “anti-immigrant” rhetoric (despite the fact that the GOP has spoken quite loudly about being PRO-immigrant, but anti-ILLEGAL-immigrant).

Milbank doesn’t let facts get in the way of his feelings. He claims the Senate GOP “roughed up” a Cuban-American nominee for the 11th circuit of the US Court of Appeals. In reality, Milbank is doing nothing more than carrying Democratic water. It’s their latest trumped-up talking points. As he notes in his column, Adalberto Jose Jordan will be confirmed today, but Sen. Rand Paul tried to stop $1.3 billion in foreign aid from going to Egypt while they hold our citizens hostage. So he put a hold on Jordan’s confirmation in an effort to force a vote on a potentially life-or-death matter. There is no “roughing up,” or anything bad being done to Jordan. He will be a judge, and just maybe, due to Paul’s efforts, Egypt will release our citizens and permit them to exit the country freely.

But the Senate Democrats put out their talking points, which Milbank so dutifully reprinted. Acording to Roll Call, in a story that quotes only liberal sources:

But if no agreement is reached, the vote would take place Wednesday morning, forcing the Senate to waste up to two days and halting progress on a surface transportation bill currently on the floor.

“What’s happened on the Senate floor tonight is just ridiculous,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We are supposed to be on a highway bill, a bill that will protect 1.8 million jobs and create” more.

Just before the Senate adjourned for the evening, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), in announcing the Senate’s business for Tuesday, said Democrats expect Jordan to be confirmed Tuesday.

There are about 20 Americans among 43 individuals who are accused by Egyptian authorities of illegally receiving foreign money in a case against nongovernmental organizations that have pushed for democratic reform in Egypt. The case has strained relations between the two nations.

Paul wants to use the $1.3 billion a year the United States provides to Egypt in aid as an incentive for the Egyptian authorities to release the Americans.

Attention, Senator Boxer. One of the people being detained in Egypt is the son of the US Secretary of Transportation. How ironic she thinks a 30-hour delay in a transportation bill is more important.

But the real doozy in Milbank’s column comes at the very end. He ridicules Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for promoting various things for which his state is known, such as lettuce and the invention of the chimichanga.

Milbank uses that chimichanga mention as a chance to end on a dig, to really stick it to the GOP. He concludes his column with the lines:

The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos.

That has stoked a firestorm in the twitter community of conservatives and Latinos. It’s being taken as a slur against Latinos, a perpetuation of low stereotypes.

But I would argue that it’s even lower than that. Apparently Milbank didn’t notice what he quoted. The chimichanga is not traditional Mexican food. It’s an American bastardization of the burrito. Folklore claims it was invented and named when a burrito fell into a fryer, and the cook began to cuss, but caught herself mid-exclamation and changed it to the Spanish word for “thingamajig.” Thus was born the “chimichanga.”

But to claim it is Latino is like serving up chop suey to Chinese Americans. Or trying to lure some mythical amalgamation of Scandinavians with cones of Haagen Dazs. Or saying blackface may be the only thing Republicans have to offer to black Americans.

Such a statement is a stereotype of a stereotype. Chimichangas, chop suey, blackface and Haagen Dazs. These are all things made to seem exotic and appealing for people that are afraid to enjoy the authentic cultural offerings of the communities they purport to represent. Only someone badly misinformed would equate chimichangas with the rich and hearty flavors of real Latino cooking. Someone who views Latinos through elitist eyes, who probably thinks Taco Bell and Sonic’s jalapeno poppers are the height of authentic Mexican cuisine, would write a line like that—and think it’s a funny little quip.

But who should then tweet that Milbank’s stinky slur was the “line of the day”? None other than Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina.


Birds of a feather, they are. Shows how little Milbank and Messina know about the Latino community or its food.

And it seems that Messina is feeling some heat, as he just tweeted that he was just “Tweeting someone else’s words”:


There’s a difference between tweeting someone else’s words and calling them “the line of the day.” Messina knows that, but he hopes his buddies in the media will go along with that angle, as he tweets a link to…an image page at… Of an Obama campaign memo touting their cherry-picked poll numbers of Latinos preferring Obama’s devastating mismanagement of America to the GOP’s attempts to keep us from drowning.

No wonder Messina can be so smug in his smears and slurs. He has a major political website storing images of his memos for him to tweet at will.

Update: Hat tip to SooperMexican for sinking his teeth into this story and alerting us all.

RB at the Right Sphere points out how other Obama supporters enjoyed the “line of the day” as well: Pasty White Dana Milbank Gets Obama Campaign Props.

Michelle Malkin says “Chimichanga Is the New Macaca.