Newt Gingrich: Hasta la victoria siempre

The former House speaker launches a bilingual Web site, despite a history of support for English-only measures

By Alex Koppelman
Published September 22, 2009 10:10PM (EDT)

Back in 1995, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that "allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous." In 2007, he said, "We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto."

In 2009, though, Gingrich founded a bilingual Web site, The Americano, aimed at Hispanics. The site, Gingrich aide Sylvia Garcia told Time's Michael Scherer, is "not about Newt .... It's really a site about conservatism."

Granted, such a site is actually a pretty good idea. Indeed, any outreach by the right to the Hispanic community is a good idea -- and one conservatives are way behind on. The demographic is the fastest-growing in the U.S., and if Hispanics continue voting solidly Democratic, the future of the Republican Party looks very dim.

The problem is that, under the leadership of former President Bush and Karl Rove, the GOP had been making progress in winning over Hispanics -- but that progress was turned back by a sudden nativist fervor before the 2006 midterm elections. As Steve Benen points out, given Gingrich's history, he hardly seems like someone who can turn the tide.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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