Tuesday, September 2, 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.

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.