Hispanic Caucus chairman rips New York Times columnist

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President Obama took 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, surpassing his 2008 margin among the nation’s largest and fastest growing minority group. The failure of the GOP to attract Hispanic voters in recent elections has provoked some conservatives to argue the party needs to alter its stance or soften its tone on immigration policy.

But in his Nov. 17 column titled “The Liberal Gloat,” Douthat argued that the emerging Democratic Hispanic coalition was “created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.”

“Consider the Hispanic vote,” Douthat wrote. “Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates.”

Douthat argued that the “Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.”

Gonzalez, though, said data doesn’t support the idea that Latinos are having trouble assimilating.

“To say that Latinos are assimilating downward is to ignore the obvious facts,” he wrote. “According to the Pew Hispanic Center, last year Hispanics became the largest minority group on American college campuses. In 2011, there were more than 2 million young Latinos enrolled in college, making up 16.5% of all college enrollments.”

While Gonzalez didn’t address Mitt Romney by name, his statement also seemed to point at comments the GOP nominee made in a phone call with donors last week, in which he said he lost the election because Obama gave “gifts” to minority groups.

“Immigrants do not come to this country out of laziness,” Gonzalez continued. “They come to work toward a better life and no one can question the work ethic of Latinos.

“Latinos seek assimilation, which requires equality with and inclusion in the dominant and established American community,” he added. “The Republican agenda and policies offered neither and that's why Latinos voted for the Democratic candidates. The Latino story is the American story. It’s a simple lesson, but one that some conservatives, such as Mr. Douthat, are still learning.”

Douthat did not respond to a request for comment, but his column made a point to dismiss Romney's "gifts" argument.

“This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands,” he continued. “Casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking 'gifts' (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.”