Talk about good timing: The first Spanish language radio ad for Democrat Congressman Joe Garcia started to air this morning — same day newspapers arrived at homes with the front page headlines: “Lawmakers campaign aides called to testify,” it says in English. “FBI closes in on Joe Garcia’s aides,” reads the headline in Spanish.
The 60-second spot is apparently aimed to appeal to the coveted 55-and-over Cuban voter, with a story about Garcia’s grandmother valiantly “confronting” the Castro regime in Cuba.
“When Castro took power, Eulalia Garcia had the courage to confront the communists to protect her family,” it starts. “She taught her grandson, Joe Garcia, love and great values like always doing the right thing, no matter the consequences.”
But the English translation sent by the campaign in a press release is a little off. “When the Castro regime took over, Joe Garcia’s grandmother had the courage to leave Cuba to protect her family. She taught Joe Garcia to do what’s right, no matter what.”
While leaving was a courageous step that thousands of families took, it is not the English word for “enfrentar,” which is confront.
Asked what the alleged confrontation was — because Garcia’s Wikipedia page doesn’t mention his abuela, just that his parents fled Cuba — a campaign consultant told Ladra that Jose Antonio Garcia Mary, a Captain in Cuba’s Constitutional Army under Batista, was fired when the Castro regime took power and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life.
Oooooh. He was fired? And he couldn’t leave his house? But that is not really a confrontation, is it? A confrontation might have been if Jose and Eulalia refused to stay under house arrest. People were jailed and beaten and killed for speaking against the Castro Revolution, especially in the early years.
Maybe someone ought to tell the campaign that this is not a good idea for them to make a big deal out of this exaggerated confrontation. Ooops, too late.
“This message resonated deeply with our South Florida community,” campaign spokesman Miguel Salazar said in the press release. “Rep. Joe Garcia grew up hearing the stories of how his grandmother challenged communism in Cuba.”
Callenged? She left, like the rest of our parents. Was it brave? Yes. Did she confront or challenge the Castro regime? No.
The rest of the ad uses the looming fear of using Medicare as a driving force.
“When the president threatened to cut Medicare, Joe Garcia worked with both parties to protect our retirees. It was the right thing. It was the fair thing. It was the necessary thing to protect South Florida,” the ad states before the music starts to turn dark and the narrator focuses on Garcia’s opponent, Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos “Crybaby” Curbelo, who has had some difficult headlines of his own recently, but is appearing more and more like the Herald darling in the race.
“On the other hand, Carlos Curbelo does things only for his own benefit. Mr. Curbelo supports the Tea Party and wants to end the guarantee of Medicare, damaging our retirees. Now it comes out that Carlos Curbelo has a lobbying firm and he is hiding his client list,” the lady narrator said, then switching over to Garcia’s own voice for a unique disclaimer: “I am Joe Garcia and I approve this message because I support my community, not the political agendas.”
Ouch. And attaboy. Because that’s where Garcia has to go — for the jugular.
Ladra fully expects Curbelo to The spot has good timing because, while the air time was likely purchased days or weeks ago, the ad about ethics and integrity taught by family comes on the same day that new details emerge in the Miami herald on the FBI investigation into Garcia’s role in a 2010 plantidate ringer who Garcia allegedly helped finance to siphon votes from his longtime Republican rival, former U.S. Rep. David “Nine Lives” Rivera.
But this is also the first big media push Ladra has seen come out of Garcia’s camp and it’s about time. He’s acting too arrogant for a midterm election where his opponent has the numbers and the money to, arguably, make him a one-term Congressman.
But he’s going to have to step it up a bit. Because good timing is one thing. But perfect timing is better.
And that would have been yesterday.