Scott Baugh and Los Amigos member Al Amezcua.

A few days ago, the OC Register published a story about Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh speaking to Los Amigos of Orange County, which meets weekly at the JaegerHaus in Anaheim.The surrounding context is the urgent need for the Republican Party to increase its share of the Latino vote, which went overwhelmingly Democratic this year (and as it does, in general). Los Amigos invited Scott to speak, and being a gracious man who is always willing to present the Republican case, Scott accepted.

The OC Register article recounts how one Los Amigos members took umbrage that Scott Baugh would even dare to speak to Los Amigos — never mind Los Amigos invited him.

And members trotted out ancient history like the 1988 poll guards incident and Proposition 187 from 1994 (never mind that 187 was not a Republican initiative and that it passed with the votes of Democrats and independents – and was put over the top when Chicano activists led mobs of high school and college students through the streets of Los Angeles waving Mexican flags — it’s much simpler just to blame the GOP).

The GOP needs to reach out to Latinos — not Latino pressure groups like Los Amigos, who will never, ever help the GOP improve its standing among Hispanic voters. Los Amigos’s leadership shares a world view frozen in the permafrost of late 1960s/early 1970s Chicano radicalism, and its message to Hispanics will always be “The Republican Party is racist and doesn’t care about you. It only cares about rich people making money at your expense.”

I agree on the urgency of Hispanic outreach and the necessity of re-building the party’s image among Latino voters. I have advocated for a change in the party’s tone and message for years, and this is a project that will take years. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am certain that engaging groups like Los Amigos is a waste of time.