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Perry the Only Credible Choice for Latino Conservatives

In gauging the 2012 election, I’m watching where Latino conservatives are headed.

Maybe it’s because I’ve given up on Latino liberals who -- faced with the uncomfortable but undeniable reality that a president they helped put in office has, in a desperate attempt to win favor with Anglo voters and independents, deported more than 1 million people in less than three years -- have opted to stand by their man at the expense of their principles. At this point, they’re more “Democrat” than they are “Latino.”

Or maybe it’s because I haven’t given up on that idea that -- despite the follies and foibles of Republican presidential hopefuls, and the ugly pandering to the right wing that goes on during the GOP primary -- a sizable number of Latinos would vote to put a Republican in the White House if it were the right Republican with the right message on immigration.

Either way, I’m convinced that Latino conservatives will help decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.

People like Lionel Sosa, a Latino advertising executive and Republican campaign strategist based in San Antonio. Sosa, who has advised George W. Bush and John McCain on how to appeal to Latino voters, recently told the New York Times that there is one person who has blown any chance he had at winning Latino support: Mitt Romney.

"(Romney) can make as many trips to Florida and New Mexico and Colorado and other swing states that have a large Latino population, but he can write off the Latino vote,” said Sosa. “He’s not going to gain it again."