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GOP Hampered by Hard-Edged Image

January 05, 2002

Republican Party leaders certainly have a good chance of increasing their support from Latinos and moderate swing voters nationwide ("Wooing Latinos Tough for the GOP," Dec. 31), but they are misguided in thinking they only need to retool their message and shed the stigma of Prop. 187. Their problem in wooing moderate and low-income voters of all ethnicities comes from their adherence to dubious policy. The GOP is the party of the tax cut (90% for the rich) in good times and bad, and what middle-class person is going to swallow that? On social issues the GOP has abdicated good judgment to the religious right and its uncompromising positions, and what moderate person will accept that?

Getting moderates elected locally is not the answer, since the national party demands obedience. One Richard Riordan is not going to change the party's hard-edged image. While President Bush sought to portray a politics of compassion and bipartisanship, his policies and appointments have shown the same old stale ideas (not that the Democrats have anything new). There are great opportunities for the GOP in California and nationwide, but they will require a fundamental shift away from supply side economics and sanctimonious social policy.

Thomas McGovern

San Bernardino

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The article completely--though not surprisingly--disregards the fact that Prop. 187 enjoyed significant support from Democrats (like me) across the state. In the ensuing seven years since a clear majority passed Prop. 187, so-called Latino activists and the state's Democratic leadership have worked overtime to unfairly turn former Gov. Pete Wilson into an Anglo boogeyman and the Republican Party into a confederation of suburban racists.

Your story is yet additional evidence of just how well they have succeeded. As a Democrat who supported Prop. 187 but not Wilson, I find it is as disgusting as the Joe McCarthy/Roy Cohn/Richard Nixon smears of the 1950s.

Mark Cromer

Pomona

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