Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spanish Language Debate: Political Overkill Obscures Historic Importance

The Spanish language presidential debate snuck up with little advance fanfare, and receded quickly from the headlines. While newspapers and TV dutifully reported that it was "historic" and the first Spanish-language presidential debate, the story was not (at least in the New York Times) front page news. The media struck out here: this debate was truly a milestone, a crucial marker of the nation's demographic and political evolution.

I missed the debate and was annoyed and surprised when I couldn't find a transcript in the paper or anywhere on the web. Reading the coverage, a few things struck me as quite amusing.

Bill Richardson definitely scored with his quip about building a 12-foot "security" fence along the Mexican border -- the obvious consequence will be "A lot of 13 foot ladders."

Dennis Kucinich hit home with his statement that "There are no illegal human beings."

Hillary scored with her direct jibe at Lou Dobbs.

Obama wiffed again, sticking to platitudes and generic references to Martin Luther King. His statement that a president needs to "make sure that all workers are being tended to" is a fabulous Bushism.

And what about that shockingly idiotic decision by Univision (or whoever makes the rules) to forbid Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd to speak in Spanish? And the equally-shocking-idiotic rush by the candidates to make it clear that they did not support Spanish as the "second national language."

While of course the debate was characterized by political wishy washyism, the Democractic consensus evident there puts us on track for some kind of meaningful immigration reform in 2009.


Shelia said...

Missed this debate and oh so glad of it. A U.S. Presidential debate in Spanish! It's not bad enough the the media and the retailers are catering to the immigrants to the point of Spanish TV, radio stations and now magazines at every Wal-mat. Now our Presidential hopefuls are doing it too!

They may as well open the borders and say "Come on in. And no, you don't have to assimilate, we'll do it for you."

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