Frank Rich (How Hispanics became the New Gays) says Bush's gay-marriage rhetoric showed "a desperate president at rock bottom in the polls [who] went through the motions of a cynical and transparent charade to rally his base in an election year" and laments "the rise of a juicier target: Hispanics. They are the new gays, the foremost political piñata in the election year of 2006."
More: "Bush has taken a humane view of immigration reform throughout his political career. Some of this is self-interest; he wants to cater to his business backers' hunger for cheap labor and Karl Rove's hunger for Hispanic voters...Now Congress has acted without him, turning immigration reform into a deadlocked culture war not unlike the marriage amendment. A draconian federal law is unlikely, but the damage has been done: the ugly debate has in itself generated a backlash against a vulnerable minority."
And: "Most Americans who are in favor of stricter border enforcement are not bigots. Far from it. But some politicians and other public figures see an opportunity to foment hate and hysteria for their own profit." Among those Rich singles out for demonizing both gays and immigrants: Vernon Robinson.