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Catcalls for Cardenas at Tea Party luncheon

The lineup of conservative speakers at a Heritage Foundation luncheon in Tampa Monday was well-received by a crowd of about 200 Tea Party activists -- until one of them said something the audience didn't agree with.

The topic was illegal immigration. The speaker: Al Cardenas, a long-time member of Florida's Republican elite, former state GOP chairman, lawyer, lobbyist and current chairman of the American Conservative Union. After making obligatory comments about securing the nation's borders, Cardenas began to talk about the economic pragmatism of immigration.

He said it makes no sense for foreigners to get educated at America's best universities such as M.I.T. and then return to their homes to compete with America. "We'd rather figure out a way for you to work for Microsoft, here," Cardenas said, as the cavernous room turned silent.

Then Cardenas spoke of menial, low-paying jobs "working in chicken coops or washing dishes," and he questioned "whether enough Americans are willing to do those jobs," and the crowd turned on Cardenas, booing him and shouting "No! No!"

Speaking to reporters afterward, Cardenas said the crowd misunderstood him. "What I was saying was actually true," he said. "If you talk to people in the hospitality industry or the ag industry, they talk about all the efforts they undertake to go to our most needy communities to get workers, and they can't."

-- Steve Bousquet


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a doubter

If you are going to speak in front of neonazis, you have to sound like a neonazi.


Oops! Looks like Cardenas spoke off the talking points! The truth hasn't so far gotten in the way of a good Tea Party line.


Citizens certainly will not work for illegal alien pay. Maybe that is what he meant. He and others like him want semi slave labor. Prior to figuring out that they could hire illegals to wash dishes, bus tables and make beds there were plenty of citizens who wanted those jobs. Now they are unemployed citizens.

west coast guy

The Tea Party people are not interested in anything anyone says that is not the Tea Party party line.


Sorry to disappoint...I'm not a neo nazi. Nobody in the Tea Party is. Easy to flame us...hard to listen. Illegal immigration is...well...illegal. Demonize all you want, but you can't get around this fact without changing the law. If you have the votes...do it at the ballot box. When you don't, it becomes tempting to play with amnesty plans. The Republicans and Democrats have both played that game. Some of us are becoming tired of being the fund raisers for these political influence dodge-ball matches. Let's go back to the law.


Only a neo-Nazi would deny being a neo-Nazi! Just like only a witch would put out a commercial saying she's not a witch. If you're tired of BEING a fundraiser for politicians, run for office yourself. You couldn't possibly do any worse than most of these people.


No thanks, FLip! I edit myself too much!

I truly believe our government is making more problems than it helps...and I believe much of the problem is the constant flow of impossible-to-fulfill promises handed out like candy to us every election season.

It takes a lot of political energy away when people talk like this. It's frightening to them. That's why they are attacking with words like; barbarian, hate mongers, Nazis, KKK, bigots, SOB's...not just the Democrats either.

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