Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Commentary in El Nuevo Herald points to defeat for Republicans in Congress

Thanks to the Joe Garcia campaign for finding and translating this opinion piece from El Nuevo Herald this past weekend. It concentrates on Joe Garcia's strong chances in the FL-25 race against Mario Diaz-Balart but is just as relevant to Annette Taddeo in FL-18 and Raul Martinez in FL-21: Florida "will not be an island" in the ocean of change coming on election day.

The entire piece is quoted hereunder, and this link goes back to the original Spanish.

It's not hard to guess why Mario Diaz-Balart prefers to avoid Joe
Garcia these days. He doesn't want to bump into him at social gatherings at the
Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, much less on the radio, television or
here in the Herald. Things happen when, after so many years of a family holding
political power, all of a sudden, there is fatigue of the repeated speeches, the
passing of days, generational shifts or the moment of political realignment in
the country sounds several alarms that warn that the trendy word, change, is not
only coming to the White House, but to the Congress as well. And this is going
to happen to good ol' Joe.

Let's go piece by piece. Nepotism, regardless how nice the brothers of a
dynasty may be, creates antipathy, whether it be in Florida,California, Texas,
China or Vietnam. You also have to add that the same anti-Castro focus of the
‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, no longer resonates in 2008. On the contrary, there
is a boomerang effect, and you can no longer duck your head or use the same old
story that generated votes in the past. Cuban-American voters clearly want
change in their homeland, along with liberty and democracy, so they can once
again breathe the breeze that stayed behind in Havana's piers. There is no
disagreement on this issue, but alongside this exiled voting bloc, there is now
a new voter. There is the young Cuban American that was born in the United
States, and despite the love he may have for the grandparents and uncles he may
or may not have met, he has a different vision of the problem. His origins may
be in Cuba, but his school, university, wife, kids and future are in the United
States. His first language is English, and he almost doesn't understand the
rhetoric that dates back four decades of exiles talking about the death of the
tyrant or the fall of the regime.

These young Cuban Americans are affected by the drama of their peers, and
the nostalgia less than 90 miles from Florida, but what they're more interested
in is that a young politician, that speaks their language, is ready to solve
their daily problems here in the United States. This has been the focus of Mr.
Garcia's campaign. Aside from this generational dilemma, the Diaz-Balarts' and
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen's problem, is that their Democratic opponents for Congress have
surfaced while the country has been inspired by the optimistic change that
Barack Obama signifies. During such a political climate, the standard-bearers of
exile politics represent the exact opposite.

Some things happen when a candidate arrives that was born on Miami Beach;
has longer hair; is known for being a good guy; is linked to the University of
Miami; is well prepared; and close to various groups of Cuban Americans, prefers
to speak less about the 'Cuba libre' we all want, and focuses more on speaking
to voters, whose lives are committed to the country we live in, about
pocket-book issues and their daily lives.

I'm not sure if there will be a electoral dethroning of the congressional
Republicans, but what is felt in forums, letters to the media and in polls is
that change is not only a perception, but rather a real possibility, with a
candidate that shows personal respect toward his opponents and thinks they are
not efficient and that the time for another option is now. Certain things happen
when a veteran politician that follows the line of Diaz-Balart begins to
understand that we find ourselves in a year where China changes, and that
Florida will not be an island in this cry for change, and that's why he'll find
every possible excuse not to be in the same place where he may have to debate,
confront or analyze his rival. Joe Garcia is here to win.