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McCain’s Memorial Day “Hispanic ad” delivers mixed message

LatinaLista — Lately, there has been an inordinate amount of articles written about the Republican presidential nominee John McCain and his chances with the Hispanic electorate.
It seems McCain must be reading these articles because yesterday, for Memorial Day, his campaign released a new web ad supposedly honoring Hispanic soldiers and hitting at the heart of what Latinos hold dear — patriotism.

The online book Hispanic Recipients of the Medal of Honor features recipients from the Civil War to Vietnam.
The ad should be a slam dunk for McCain. It has all the right elements: mention of our sons and daughters, our sacrifices in the current war but then it kind of goes south (pun intended).
And it leaves us Latinos scratching our heads and wondering, does John McCain REALLY know Hispanics?

As hard as we tried, we couldn’t find the McCain “Memorial Day” web ad. Mysteriously, it wasn’t on YouTube when we checked (and we had been directed that way) nor was it even on McCain’s campaign site though they did have the press release still up and the following script:

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, I want you, the next time you’re down in Washington, D.C., to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names.
When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today, you’re going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background.
You’re even going to meet some of the few thousand that are still green card holders who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they’re willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation.
So let’s, from time to time, remember that these are God’s children. They must come into country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them.
Thank you.
I’m John McCain and I approve this message.

For one thing, not sure who the intended audience is for this ad. Is it Latinos who are fully aware of the military sacrifices families have endured since before The Alamo? Or is to newly arrived Hispanic immigrants? Or is to the extreme factions of the Republican Party who naturally associate undocumented immigrants with the term “Hispanic”?
In an ad that is supposed to appeal to HISPANIC VOTERS, why does it have to be said that “from time to time, remember these are God’s children?”
Yes, he’s talking about the immigrant soldiers and their sacrifices and he’s also scolding them for not coming into the country legally BUT what does that have to do with the greater message of recognizing the role Latinos have played in serving this country?
Clearly, this ad is intended to show his Republican peers that he can be both a taskmaster and slap those Hispanic immigrants on the wrists for not complying by the rules when it comes to crossing our borders but compassionate by slapping them on the back for a job well done in putting their lives at greater risk in serving this country.
The only problem is where does this ad leave the rest of the Latino population who have been in the US for generations and have a family history of military service beyond Iraq and Afghanistan?
If any of these presidential candidates want the Hispanic vote, they need to first determine which Hispanics they’re talking to.
(On another note, please check today’s Mediacast’s page for a story that also deserves attention.)

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  • Dee
    May 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    You are right. These ads make no sense.
    Latinos know that the number 1 US ethnicity on the front lines of Iraq are Latinos. We are loyal. We are patriotic. We are pro-military.
    Most ANTIs dont care about these facts. They dont even advocate sanctioning employers. All they spout is Mass Deportation.
    If John McCain wants to speak to us, he should speak to us clearly and address the issues. No broad brush.
    Why not bring him on as a Guest Voz on your blog. I will also invite him to my blog. We will ask him to answer the questions of the responders. He has to answer them directly himself.
    We both have vast Latino audiences.
    Let him speak to the people himself! Let the people decide!

  • Frank
    May 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    First of all, politicians shouldn’t be playing ethnic politics. We are all Americans, period. Ethhnicity, race or skin color should never enter into the political arena.
    IMO, no one but a U.S. citizen should serve in our military. How can a politician be pandering for votes from someone who isn’t a citizen? They can’t vote if they are not a citizen. So why was the question brought up about WHO McCain was trying to reach?

  • Marisa Treviño
    May 28, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Dee, I’ve invited John McCain three different times and each time I get as far as his press spokeswoman and then nada. I read that he routinely holds blogger conference calls but I’ve never heard of them, nor, unsurprisingly, have been invited to them either.
    Please invite him to guest blog on your site. I wish you suerte!

  • Frank
    May 28, 2008 at 8:47 am

    More lies by the illegal alien sympathizers. Americans DO want the employers punished and DO want them to be stopped from hiring illegal aliens. Most Americans want the Save Act passed so that they have to use the e-verify system for hiring employees and to check that database against those already on their payroll. That isn’t akin to mass deportations. It would result in self-deportations.

  • Alex
    May 31, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Actually, most polls reflect that the majority agrees that there should be a comprehensive immigration reform and those millions of undoccumented workers should be given a path to legalization after a thorough background check.

  • Frank
    May 31, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Alex, how about providing proof of your assertions. My sources say the opposite.

  • Horace
    June 1, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    “Actually, most polls reflect that the majority agrees that there should be a comprehensive immigration reform and those millions of undocumented workers should be given a path to legalization after a thorough background check.”
    That’s why state after state is denying driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and enacting laws to ensure that they don’t receive benefits. And their legislatures only opposition comes from the small minority of advocates. The assertion that polls indicate support for amnesties isn’t backed up by voter actions. As Marisa points out, there has been little objection to the workplace arrests. This is far more telling than some ginned up poll. This tells me that ICE has a green light to enforcing our immigration laws and the support of the American people. Actions speak louder than words.

  • Horace
    June 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    The fact that the representatives of the people of South Carolina have implemented their own policies against illegal immigrants speaks volumes about their feelings, the outcome of questionable polls notwithstanding. Illegal alien advocates will still be citing such polls after every state in the union has done the same. It will be politically difficult for any president to overrule the democratic will of the people as expressed by their state legislatures. McCain or Obamma will have to do a lot of backtracking on their current positions. Dream on you amnistas.
    Governor Sanford Expected to Sign Tough Immigration Bill posted 5:48 pm Sun June 01, 2008 – Mount Pleasant, SC reporter: Renee Williams posted by: Renee Williams
    The much debated immigration reform bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for approval and supporters say illegal immigrants will start fleeing the state. Immigrants disagree and say the state’s economy will suffer. Months of fiery debate between legislators is finally coming to an end. As that battle winds down, another one is brewing. “Have you considered the American children that these undocumented have in the state of South Carolina,” Immigrant advocate Diana Salazar questions the Governor’s decision to sign the controversial bill. Immigrants are concerned the bill will split families and crumble the economy. Once signed, the bill will be among the toughest in the nation. “It’s simply about having a set of laws that say if you come here legally you get these rights and privileges and if you don’t you can’t stay here,” Governor Mark Sanford says. The bill requires people to prove their legal status to get public benefits, fines employers for not verifying the legal status of a worker, outlaws sanctuary cities and stops illegal immigrants from going to state universities and getting state funded scholarships. Salazar says not allowing immigrants to work will rid the state of cheap labor. “You and I are not going to be on top of a roof with this 90 degree temperature or picking tomatoes of cucumbers,” she says. Salazar also says the bill is aimed at Hispanics and not at immigrants from other countries. “I’m sure they’re going not going to go to the white Canadian first. They’ll go out to the Latino construction company first. Anything that profiles Latinos is where they’ll hit first. The Governor disagrees. “For us it’s a question of not aiming at a particular group, but aiming at the larger notion of do we have laws that work and do we have a consequence of coming here and working illegally.” Sanford says the bill is modeled after a similar, very successful law in Arizona. He says it has worked there and hasn’t negatively affected businesses. He is expected to sign the bill Tuesday or Wednesday. Sanford says the biggest sticking point with the bill was the issue of e-verify, the free and quick way employers can verify the legal status of their employees. E-verify will be included in the bill that is headed to his desk. Salazar says illegal immigrants will not leave the state once the bill becomes law. She expects many of them to still work, but get paid under the table.

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