UK's The Guardian Publishes Worst Story on Santa Ana's Political and Demographic Transformation EVER

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I make it a point to read any articles about Orange County written by the national and international press, mostly for the shits and giggles that happen when they're woefully uninformed. So you can imagine the gut-laugh fest I had this morning when reading a piece about SanTana by the usually excellent British paper The Guardian in their series written by grad students from USC about the Latino electorate in the United States, the most-cliched subject in politics imaginable and one that has mystified gabachos since the days of Viva Kennedy!

Written by one Reut R. Cohen (and if that name sounds familiar, it's because Reut was a notorious Muslim-basher while a student at UC Irvine), the piece reeks of Los Angeles' eternal cluelessness about us OC country cousins, the mainstream media's utter lack of knowledge about Mexicans, and commits multiple errors of omission, fact, and hyperbole.

Let's start with the first sentence:

Cohen: Once a Republican citadel which welcomed presidential candidates from Goldwater to Bush, the southern Californian city of Santa Ana is no longer a bastion of conservatism.

Fact: SanTana hasn't been a bastion for the Republicans for decades. Shit, former mayor Jerry Patterson became the county's first Democrat congressman back in the 1970s, a position he held for over a decade. And SanTana was the power base for the Democratic machine via SanTana physician Louis Cella during that same time period. And way back in the day, SanTana was ruled by Democrats in the days when Democrats were officially bigots. If anything, the GOP rule over SanTana from the 1930s through the 1970s was an anomaly, and anomalies don't citadels make. Also? Mentioning Bush is ridiculous--Bill Clinton came here in 1996, so why not mention that?

Cohen: Street vendors hawking soccer T-shirts in their native Spanish outside packed taquerias and panaderias show the diverse face of the city and the size of the challenge to California's declining Republican Party in the heart of its ideological cradle, Orange County.

Fact: Where? The only place in SanTana with legally sanctioned street vendors is Fourth Street--and they're not selling soccer jerseys. Trust me: I was there yesterday. And there's only one real taqueria and panaderia in the district--and they're rarely, if ever packed. This is sheer fantasy created for an audience that doesn't know any better and won't question a scene setter.

Cohen: The city's Republican party is locked in a struggle with the statewide California Republican group, over how it can win back a burgeoning Latino population that has turned the state bright blue.

Fact: SanTana has a city Republican party? It does, but Cohen is overstating the fact and making drama out of nothing. Fact is, the city's Republican Party HATES Latino voters--there is no "struggle" to convince the bigger party to win Latino votes. Their outreach effort was having Meg Whitman set up a campaign office for her disastrous 2010 California gubernatorial campaign...which Latinos protested like crazy. Why isn't that fact in the story? That's right: because it doesn't mesh with Cohen's narrative.

Cohen: The city has shifted from having been the domain of fiery Republican Congressman "B-1" Bob Dornan to being represented by Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

Fact: That story's over 15 years old--time to pull out a new example. And Dornan was based in Garden Grove.

Cohen: The Lincoln Club of Orange County has long been a haven for relatively moderate Republicans.

Fact: HAHAHAHAHAHA! It's never been a club of moderation. This is the club created specifically to ensure the craziest of conservatives were elected--and if you don't believe me, ask the New Majority, which was the PAC created specifically to hew to a more-moderate route than the Lincoln Club.

Cohen: "Republicans and a vast majority of Latinos agree that border security must be the first order of business. It's how Republicans propose to deal (or not deal) with the illegal immigrants who are already here that will either correct or exacerbate the perception that Republicans are racist," wrote Lincoln Club Executive Director Clare Venegas on Red County, a widely-read conservative website.

Fact: I'm not even going to challenge Venegas' ridiculous assertion (she ain't Mexi, by the way, but Filipina) on Latinos and border security. Oh, as for Red County being a "widely-read conservative website"? Maybe five years ago, but definitely not anymore, as it ceased operation this summer and is now offline. OOPS!

Cohen: It was [former President George W. Bush], not the Democrats, who put comprehensive immigration reform back on the national agenda, via his 2004 State of the Union speech.

Fact: Not true. Democrats have been trying to get the DREAM Act passed since 2002.

Cohen: "It's a difficult challenge to the degree that demographics is destiny and to the extent that segments of society increasingly look to government for free stuff," said former Orange County State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, now a senior visiting scholar at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, giving voice to the prevailing party position on the issue.

Fact: And here's the biggest problem with Cohen's story. For a story on SanTana and its political and demographic transformation, how many santaneros does she interview? NONE. Not a single one. Instead, she interviews a bunch of non-OC folks and Chuck pinche Devore, who's no longer in OC and is as much an expert on Mexican-American voting patterns as he is on writing best-sellers.

This point is lazy journalism at its best, and latent bigotry at its worst. Really, Reut: you couldn't find ONE Mexican, whether liberal or conservative, to talk to for your piece? That alone condemns your story to irrelevancy--and then, you actually read it. Parachute journalism at its worst--and that Cohen lived in Orange County just shows how clueless the county is about itself.

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18 comments
GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@jstrevino Started by Dems, who signed up GOP. Reverse with Dubya's push. I just don't like inaccurate histories for sake of ideology!

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

You know what Klavito's dirty little secret ...no, not that one, the other one.

 

He's CONSERVATIVE.

 

He doesn't like change (see his campaign bashing 'gentrification' of Santa Ana), he's mindlessly devoted to the 'culture' of his ancestors (Mexican that is), and he's territorial (no 'outsider' could possibly write about OC, let alone Santa Ana with insight, that's OUR turf).

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Did this budding journalist also re-name herself "Reut" so she could snare a job with Reuters?

chuckdevore
chuckdevore

So, Gustavo, how can you explain that Texas, with a population that is 50% Hispanic and African-American votes far more conservatively than does California, with a population that is 40% Hispanic and African-American? And, by your contention, does one have to be Hispanic to understand "Mexican-American voting patterns"? Just wondering, since, as a politician who won a few elections, I must know something about voting patterns, no?

 

Lastly, thanks for the plug for my novel, "China Attacks" (2000). I note that it still outsells, by a wide margin, both of Sen. Barbara Boxer's novels, "Blind Trust" (2009) and "A Time to Run: A Novel" (2006). I just got my monthly royalty check yesterday... ;-)

Keex714
Keex714

@GustavoArellano @guardian I used to think The Guardian had journalistic standards. Guess I was wrong.

jstrevino
jstrevino

@GustavoArellano You're right -- Gutierrez helmed it in the House before Hatch went with his Senate version. Mea culpa.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @chuckdevore  Because California GOP can barely get 50% of the white vote in statewide elections, while in Texas Republicans are probably polling about 65% at least among whites. Last guy that did that here was Pete Wilson (62% of the white vote, versus 50% for Whitman), because he was a good governor (and mayor) and because he recognized the harm illegal immigration was doing to the state

chuckdevore
chuckdevore

If you haven't had the chance, check out: http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_1_california-demographics.html re:

 

Hispanics’ reliance on the government safety net helps explain their ongoing support for the Democratic Party. Indeed, liberal spending policies are a more important consideration for Hispanic voters than ethnic identification or the so-called values issues that they are often said to favor. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” says John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in Southern California and a player in California Latino politics. “We are a very compassionate people; we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.” That Democratic allegiance was on display in the 2010 race for lieutenant governor, when Hispanics favored San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, the epitome of an elite tax-and-spend liberal, over the Hispanic Republican incumbent, Abel Maldonado, despite Newsom’s unilateral legalization of gay marriage in San Francisco in 2004. La Opinión, California’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, cited Newsom’s “good progressive platform” in endorsing him. In the 2010 race for state attorney general, Hispanic voters helped give the victory to liberal San Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris, who was running against Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, a law-and-order moderate—even in Cooley’s own backyard of L.A.

 

Republican political consultants routinely argue that California’s Hispanics were driven from their natural Republican home by a 1994 voter initiative—backed by then-governor Pete Wilson, a Republican—denying most government benefits to illegal aliens. But it would be almost impossible today to find a Hispanic immigrant who has even heard of Proposition 187. Jim Tolle, pastor of one of the largest Hispanic churches in Southern California, La Iglesia En El Camino, says that his congregation knows nothing about Prop. 187. The fact is that Hispanic skepticism toward the Republican Party derives as much from its perceived economic biases as from Republicans’ opposition to illegal immigration and amnesty. A March 2011 poll by Moore Information asked California’s Latino voters why they had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. The two top reasons were that the party favored only the rich and that Republicans were selfish and out for themselves; Republican positions on immigration law were cited less often.

 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @chuckdevore Chuck: Never said you have to be Mexi to talk Mexi politics (you don't see me attacking the choice of Tamar Jacoby and that other pundit), but, honestly: you? On a story about SanTana? You don't think she could've called the Hispanic 100 or someone who, you know, ACTUALLY STILL LIVES IN ORANGE COUNTY?!

 

As for Texas: you know and I know that that state is gloriously nuts...

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@Keex714 @guardian I don't fault the Guardian on this one; they're relying on USC for this...

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@jstrevino But I know as well as you that Dubya was the best presidential friend of Mexis since Reagan!!! And I've written that!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@chuckdevore City Journal is much better at New York politics than it is at California--their writings on the state come off as Lost Cause paeans to a California that never existed.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @GustavoArellano  @Mitchell_Young I don't mind the 'Bitchie' thing -- after all, I heard it in, what, First Grade.

 

But once again, to paraphrase  Iñigo Montoya, I don't think that word (gabacho) means what you think it means. It means French, capullo. 

 

Now sudaca -- that definitely applies to Mexicans.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @klooo  Aw, isn't that sweet? Bitchie has a new playmate!

klooo
klooo

@GustavoArellano @Mitchell_Young Actually Mitchell is right. Mexico is a third- world, corrupt shithole. And when 6 zillion illegal Mexicans moved to Santa Ana, they turned that place into a third- world, corrupt shithole. Don't need a USC degree to figure that one out.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @Mitchell_Young  Your convenient (gabacho) mythologies are always a pleasure to read, because they're so wrong and so indicative of what a miserable person you are. Stay stupid, Bitchie!

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @GustavoArellano  @chuckdevore Sure it did, we really did have top performing schools, virtually free community colleges and nearly free universities, great state and local parks, even an improving environment.

 

Then came the great Mexicanification. 

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