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GOP gets 'tonally sensitive' talking points on immigration

hispanicleadershipnetwork/Flickr

Now that Republicans have decided that all of their problems can be solved through better rhetoric, the next step is obvious: GOP policymakers and candidates have to learn what it is, exactly, they're supposed to say.

To that end, a leading GOP pollster told House Republicans two weeks ago to stop talking about rape altogether. The pollster, Kellyanne Conway, told the representatives to consider rape a "four-letter word."

And what about immigration? The a conservative Hispanic group has that covered, too.

The Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right group looking to woo Latinos to the GOP, sent Republican congressmen of all stripes a list of suggested "Dos and Don'ts of Immigration Reform" Monday afternoon. The memo was obtained by The Hill.

"Tone and rhetoric will be key in the days and weeks ahead as both liberals and conservatives lay out their perspectives. Please consider these tonally sensitive messaging points as you discuss immigration, regardless of your position," Hispanic Leadership Network Executive Director Jennifer Korn writes.

What counts as "tonally sensitive messaging points"? Some of the tips are obvious -- words like "illegals" and "aliens" are not well received, nor are phrases like "anchor babies."

But this tip was amazing: "Don't characterize all Hispanics as undocumented and all undocumented as Hispanics."

In 2013, it's apparently still necessary for Republicans to receive advice like this. Is it any wonder the party is struggling so badly to win support outside its older white base?

What's more, as Jed Lewison explained, "Before you even read word one from the memo, the fact that the group is more concerned about how congressional Republicans talk about the issue than how they vote on it is a pretty clear indication of just how backwards Republicans are on this topic. Usually in politics, advocacy groups try to achieve actual policy priorities. Here, they are just trying to stop their party from acting like a**holes -- and based on some of their advice, they must really think there's a lot of a**holes in their party."

Also note, the Hispanic Leadership Network's leaders clearly have their work cut out for them -- just this morning Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) said he opposes comprehensive immigration reform and doesn't think his party should bother reaching out to Latino voters.

Barletta went on to say that the GOP should have no interest in providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, claiming that most are uneducated, government-dependent individuals who wouldn't support the party.

"I hope politics is not at the root of why we're rushing to pass a bill. Anyone who believes that they're going to win over the Latino vote is grossly mistaken," Barletta said, according to the Morning Call. "The majority that are here illegally are low-skilled or may not even have a high school diploma. The Republican Party is not going to compete over who can give more social programs out. They will become Democrats because of the social programs they'll depend on."

Barletta probably hasn't seen the "tonally sensitive messaging points" just yet.