The destructive tax, spend, and borrow policies that have resulted in economic disaster across California are providing a new breed of leaders a chance to present a stark contrast rooted in job creation and opportunity to all voters, including Latinos, who are of course a key part of the electorate.
The current wisdom, however, is that when it comes to California Latinos, the party that once represented by Pete Wilson and his untoward and unproductive immigration stance will continue to keep voters from supporting right-of-center candidates.
Though liberal candidates have undeservingly profited from this narrative, many Latinos are finding that as their pocketbooks shrink, it is liberal career politicians that not only have been part of the problem, but who have actually hurt the community with regard to some of its greatest needs.
A noteworthy case is that of Sen. Barbara Boxer, who currently finds herself in the fight of her political life against businesswoman Carly Fiorina. As the polls in this race have tightened, Boxer and her allies have stepped up attacks on Fiorina, never mind Boxer's own record on Immigration and the Central Valley water crisis--two issues of critical importance to a large number of Latino voters.
Barbara Boxer's record on both of these issues demonstrates just how low a priority the Latino community is for her, and highlights how instead of standing up for Latinos, she chooses to use us as a political football.
In 2007--the last time major immigration reform was before Congress--Barbara Boxer pursued a number of amendments designed to torpedo the entire immigration reform process. In fact, Boxer co-sponsored a key "poison pill" amendment that got rid of the temporary worker program. The bipartisan authors of the bill, who struggled for weeks to hammer out a bipartisan compromise, knew how critical the worker program was to their efforts.
Boxer said she was "troubled by the inclusion" of a provision that might allow people to come to the US legally to work. The "poison pill" amendment passed 49-48 with Boxer's vote, which means that her vote gutted the entire immigration reform process.
Barbara Boxer's underhanded determination to sink immigration reform should surprise no one. Again in 2007, Boxer derided migrant friends and family of her Latino constituents as "a pool of cheap labor at the expense of the American worker."
Perhaps it is Barbara Boxer's disdain for Latino workers that also drives her hard line stance against turning on the water in California's Central Valley.
The Central Valley, currently a dustbowl, is home to over 1.8 million Hispanics, many of whom have worked in California's once vibrant agricultural sector. Now, because of radical environmental policies that place a higher value on a small quantity of tiny fish than on human beings, parts of the Central Valley's unemployment rate hovers at a catastrophic 40 percent.
Barbara Boxer chooses to protect bait over protecting the jobs and livelihood of farmers, workers, and families struggling to earn a piece of the American Dream.
In stark contrast is Carly Fiorina, a candidate who has placed water issues at the heart of her campaign pledging to get the water flowing again, and once again make California's Central Valley a vibrant and productive region.
On immigration, even as Boxer and her radical allies desperately try to depict Fiorina as Tom Tancredo in a skirt, the reality is that Carly Fiorina's statement that an Arizona-style immigration law is not right for California is hardly the position of an anti-immigrant demagogue.
Neither is Fiorina's insistence that we need "a temporary worker program that works"
And most importantly, Fiorina rightly alluded to the big-government morass that is our current immigration system when she pointed out that we should "make it easier . . . for legal immigrants of any kind to come to this country temporarily on a visa or permanently as legal immigrants."
California voters, whether Latino or not, would do well to assess the words and records of career politicians who have stood in the way of opportunity and have demonstrated hostility to job growth and prosperity. And Barbara Boxer's name is at the top of that list.
A native San Diegan, Mario H. Lopez is the President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, a nonpartisan 501(c)4 that advocates protecting and advancing free enterprise, limited government, and individual freedom.