New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is the latest prominent Republican who, after months of having to throw support behind a less-than-ideal candidate during the 2012 election is no longer holding back when it comes to blunt criticism of Mitt Romney — though Martinez stopped short of attacking the ideas in favor of the wording in some respects.
Gov. Susana Martinez was a hot property stumping for Mitt Romney at the RNC, firing up the base with her speech about American gumption and her rise to the top from being a security guard for her family’s small business with a gun she described as bigger than she was.
But whether it’s the orchestrated start of a makeover or just genuine dissent in the ranks bubbling up, Gov. Susana Martinez, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Chris Christie and other younger, more dynamic party members have indicated that they’re not letting the GOP go the way of the Whigs. (Although with the party’s current state, it almost seems more apt to compare it to the Know Nothing faction.)
Martinez spoke plainly about her feelings on Romney’s candidacy and legacy after a recent meeting of Republican governors, saying:
“We have to start electing people who look like their communities all the way from city council to county commissioners to county clerks all the way through the state and up into national politics … We need to embrace them not just at election time.”
“We visit them, and they don’t appreciate that. And I don’t blame them for not appreciating that. We should not visit them when we need their vote and then walk away. And then four years go by and we go visit them again. We have to make them part of the solution, and the way you do that is by listening to them.”
But when it came to Mitt Romney’s post-election assertion that President Obama bested him by giving “gifts” to minority voters, Martinez fell back on the semantics of the statement rather than outright attacking the ideas behind it, at first:
“That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party — our comments that are not thought through carefully.”
She did, however, lambast Romney for openly eschewing nearly half of all voters in his damaging “47 percent” remarks:
“It’s a ridiculous statement to make … You want to earn the vote of every single person you can … It doesn’t matter whether individuals are in need of assistance of the government or individuals who are in college, it doesn’t matter. Why would you ever write off 47 percent?”
Ultimately, Gov. Susana Martinez says, the key to earning a larger share of the minority vote is in asking, not telling voters about their communities and challenges.