Jill Biden’s comments comparing Latinos to tacos left a bad taste | RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR.

First lady Jill Biden speaks at the 125th Anniversary Convention of the National Parent Teacher ...

Having sampled the media coverage about first lady Jill Biden’s tempest in a taco, I didn’t find any of it very filling.

It’s going to take a Mexican American columnist in the center who grills both political parties, and doesn’t mind skewering other Latinos, to bite into what appears to be a silly story and explain why it’s actually quite meaty.

For anyone who missed it, thanks to Biden, Latinos should now think twice before blurting out at breakfast: “Gee, I feel like a taco.” They could end up doused in salsa and served in a combination plate. After all, for my primos in New Mexico, the civil war isn’t red vs. blue. It’s red vs. green.

Recently, while addressing the annual UnidosUS conference in South Texas, Biden tried to pander to a group that she couldn’t pick out of a lineup — even though they are, for the most part, a loyal Democratic constituency.

Latinos, she gushed, are “as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.”

Give Biden credit. It takes mad skills to try to compliment a group, only to wind up insulting it.

For starters, Biden mispronounced bodegas as “bow-ge-daws.” That was just the appetizer. Politicians butcher Spanish mucho. In May 2009, President Barack Obama welcomed Latinos to the White House to celebrate “cinco de cuatro.”

As for Jill Biden, it’s true what they say. You take on characteristics of your spouse. Marry a gaffe machine, and you’ll become one.

The first lady’s office quickly issued an apology that her words “conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community.” Admiration and love, with a side of rice and beans. It was the line about the tacos that really got Latinos worked up.

Three reasons.

First, in politics, Latinos are single-issue voters. That issue is respect. Or, as we call it, respeto. We’ll go to war over it.

A good way to show disrespect is to reduce an ethnic group of 62 million people — which represents roughly 1 in 5 Americans, and which has an annual GDP of more than $2.3 trillion, according to the Latino Donor Collaborative — to an item you find in a food truck.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists — an organization that pretends to advocate for Hispanic journalists against the giant media companies that help fund its annual conferences — found Biden’s remarks none too appetizing. “We are not tacos,” the NAHJ said in a tweet.

In other words, Latinos should be at the table. Not on the menu.

Second, another reason that Biden got into hot water has to do with the sensitive issue of diversity among U.S. Latinos. Most of the 62 million Latinos in this country are Mexican or Mexican American — nearly 38 million, or about 61.5 percent in 2019, according to the Pew Research Center. Another 20 origin groups make up the remaining 38.5 percent — from Argentinians to Venezuelans.

A lot of OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) resent being mistaken for Mexicans. They have their own culture and country of origin. They have their own food, and the cuisine doesn’t include tacos.

That’s why, in its tweet, the NAHJ said that the organization “encourages @FLOTUS &her communications team to take time to better understand the complexities of our people &communities. … Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by various diasporas, cultures &food traditions.”

Finally, the taco comment fell flat because of politics. It reminded Latinos of the generally poor service that they’ve been getting from Democrats over the past 60 years — despite the fact that they have loyally shown up for the party in 15 straight presidential elections.

Biden’s casual remark triggered something deeper in Latino Democrats. It reminded them of everything they resent about the political party that so many of them support. Resentments by Latinos include that Democrats don’t care enough to get to know them, assume they have the same agenda as African Americans, don’t separate them by nation of origin, ignore their issues, undermine their interests, refuse to court them and rely too much on the faults, failures and fearmongering of Republicans to pull them across the finish line.

Look at the big picture. You can understand why, when first lady Jill Biden compared Latinos to tacos, many found the comment hard to swallow. You can also see why Democrats are likely, in the coming years, to find themselves starving for the support of a group of voters that they now foolishly take for granted.

Ruben Navarrette’s email address is crimscribe@icloud.com. His podcast, “Ruben in the Center,” is available through every podcast app.