Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Commentary in El Nuevo Herald hints at win for Joe Garcia

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.

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