Watch CBS News

Opinion: Romney Can't Even Lead From Behind

The Buck Starts Here

"Leading from behind" is a charge Mitt Romney has hurled at the President on numerous occasions. Given Mitt Romney's response to the Administration on immigration, it is a phrase that is in Romney's best interest to drop. Permanently.

After three plus years of Congressional negotiations on immigration policy, the Administration chose to act on behalf of hundreds of thousands of individuals that were brought into this country as children.

They did nothing wrong. Children are not in a place to make immigration decisions independently from their families. The only home they have known is the United States. The Obama Administration is, in effect, implementing the DREAM Act, a proposal to put young illegal immigrants on the path to U.S. citizenship.

As President Obama said when announcing the new policy: "It makes no sense to expel talented young people who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans."

The reaction from the people that will benefit from the policy change was immediate and it was joyous.

One of the cultural icons of the Hispanic community, Christina Saralegui, also known as the Latino Oprah, has endorsed President Obama for re-election. It is her first such endorsement.

Romney's reaction? Crickets. Literally. He refuses to answer questions about what he would do as President.

On Sunday, he would not answer Bob Schieffer's question on Face the Nation. Three times. On Tuesday he punted again in a national television interview.

Perhaps the staff briefing memo on the issue isn't final yet. Maybe there is still a poll in the field to inform Romney of the best response to get him to fifty point one percent.

That isn't leadership. It isn't even followership. It's worse. It is literally nothing.

Mitt Romney was a huge champion of something he called self-deportation – a fanciful belief that millions of people will get on planes and just leave. Tearing apart communities, congregations and families.

Throughout the Republican Presidential nominating process, Romney vowed to defy Congress and veto the DREAM Act as President if it were passed.

But now that process is over. He has the nomination in hand. And he has nothing to say about the Administration's implementation of the DREAM Act.

The guy who passed health care reform in Massachusetts and vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act – federal legislation that passed both Houses of Congress – can’t take a policy position on Obama's executive order on immigration enforcement?

A politician with such soft positions is in no place to accuse anyone of leading from behind. And while Romney waits to respond he faces a harsh truth: without Hispanic voters, Mitt Romney will have a tough time getting to his goal of fifty point one percent of the vote.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.