LatinaLista — There has been (g)rumbling throughout the Latino blogosphere as to what is taking the Obama campaign so long to reach out to the rest of the Latino electorate that aren’t yet completely sold on his candidacy — and to those who are.
With news that McCain held a Town Hall meeting with some Latinos who were bussed into Chicago last night — though the meeting was held behind closed doors and with carefully screened participants — it seems even McCain is getting a headstart in reaching out to Latinos.
So, where is Obama?
News that some Latina leadership was “displeased” with Obama surfaced after he had been declared the official Democratic nominee and still had not made an effort to contact those Latina congresswomen who had supported Clinton but were ready to meet with Obama.
To these congresswomen waiting for a call that never came was pretty much like being stood up for a date — and one thing no one does is stand up a Latina!
Unfortunately, Obama is learning this the hard way.
Yesterday, it was reported that Obama finally got together with some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Only one of the six Latina Congresswomen attended the gathering.
Though Obama’s office called the other Congresswomen to invite them to the gathering, sigh, Latina grudges don’t easily go away, especially with just a phone call.
It probably also didn’t help that this week the Obama campaign announced they had hired Clinton’s former campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, as Chief of Staff for the VP candidate. Since Clinton and Solis Doyle haven’t even spoken to one another since Solis Doyle was fired from the campaign, it sends (maybe) the unintentional message that Clinton isn’t in the running for the VP spot which is bound to be a sore point among the Latina leadership waiting for personal outreach from Obama.
On top of his problem outreaching to some Latina congressional leaders, the campaign has been strangely silent with the Latino blogosphere.
Sure, we all get the daily mass emails but by this time in the Clinton campaign, designated staff was reaching out to us bloggers and keeping us updated on Clinton’s agenda. So far, nada from Obama.
Now, of course, the usual critical response would be that we’re all a bunch of whiney babies who want our hands held and our noses wiped by the Obama campaign.
And I admit that on the surface, it certainly looks like that but there’s a difference between having your hand held and being cool enough to be in the “in-group.”
For too long, including Latinos on campaigns or putting us in-the-know just never happened because we were never “cool enough.”
Clinton’s campaign knew how to make us feel cool, and once you experience what everyone else has always had, you don’t want to go back not being appreciated nor unacknowledged.
Obama’s campaign hasn’t done nearly the kind of outreach to the Latino electorate as it needs to secure a win over McCain.
They need to:
1. Make a personal visit to those Latina congresswomen who were ready to get behind him but made to feel like their support didn’t matter.
2. Reach out to the Latino blogosphere and understand that our patience too at being ignored is growing thin. A simple email acknowledging the fact that you know we’re here would be great. As it stands now, we don’t even know if the Obama campaign wants Latino bloggers’ support.
3. Understand that as childish or tiresome our behavior must seem, it’s where Hispanic culture and our mutual upbringing kicks in: Personal contact is a must-have, not a we’ll-see kind of thing. It’s how we interact with one another and regardless of whether or not we’re Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, etc., it’s that handshake or kiss on the cheek or hug that serves as an integral part of our communication with one another.
It’s what makes our relationships more solid, as well as, our support.