Because it’s never too early, Romano is already handicapping the GOP contenders for 2012. This weeks entry: Luis Fortuño, governor of Puerto Rico, whom Grover Norquist recently touted to us here at Nwk HQ. Here’s Romano:
The most important thing about Fortuño may be that Norquist & Co. are mentioning his name at all—at least for now. Do I think a Puerto Rican will win the 2012 Republican nomination? Not really. And neither, I’m guessing, does Norquist. A party whose base is animated in part by its opposition to illegal immigration is probably not going to “import” someone, as it were, for the biggest job in the land. But in the age of Obama, the GOP is suffering from a serious dearth of credible minority leaders—people who can speak with authority to an increasingly multiethnic electorate. And the shortfall is especially glaring in regard to Latinos, who are the country’s fastest-growing minority group (they represented 7.4 percent of the electorate in 2008, up from 6 percent in 2004 and 5.4 percent in 2000) but are trending heavily Democratic, despite their religious, family-first leanings (George W. Bush took 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 versus only 31 percent for John McCain in 2008).
This is where Fortuño comes in. For Republicans, using Fortuño to fuel the eternal flame of 2012 speculation serves to make the GOP seem, at least, like a more welcoming place for Latinos—however whimsical his chances of reaching the White House currently are.