The Spectacle Blog

What Election Results Was Martinez Watching?

By on 11.15.06 | 9:12AM

President Bush's choice to head the Republican National Committee, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is sounding more like a Democrat:

Speaking to reporters after the Oval Office announcement, Mr. Martinez said he was "not going to do a post-mortem on the election here today." Moments later, though, he did a post-mortem on immigration, saying he saw a clear message on that issue.

"I think we have to understand that the election did speak to one issue, and that was that -- it's not about bashing people, it's about presenting a hopeful face," said Mr. Martinez, who won his seat in 2004.

He was one of the authors of the Senate compromise that would have allowed most illegal aliens to remain in the United States and pay small fines in return for a path to citizenship.

"Border security only, enforcement only, harshness only is not the message that I believe America wants to convey," Mr. Martinez said.

In election post-mortems I have heard corruption, Iraq, and spending were among the major issues that cost the GOP, yet Martinez says voters spoke "to one issue" -- immigration. The Democrats aren't even attributing much of their success to that. And this guy is going to lead the Republicans into 2008?

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