McCain won the Florida Primary with the help of defecting Cuban American Giuliani supporters. The question is why these voters broke for McCain and not Romney. Or perhaps a better question would be why they supported Rudy in the first place.
On Tues, the Weekly Standard suggested that the initial support for Rudy came from his tenure as “America’s Mayor” and his harsh stance against castro when the latter was in NYC. Can you hear it now: “el tipo no tiene pelo en la lengua,” uttered in admiring accents? Faced with his probable loss, huge numbers of primary voters then switched their allegiance to McCain. So why McCain and not Romney or Huckabee or even Paul?
The standard credits McCain’s military experience. I have my own theory, which is it was “the hair,” not McCain’s bald pate or Romney’s luxuriant, seemingly numerically arranged mane, but rather the metaphorical hair on McCain’s chest. McCain, whether you support him or not, most definitely does not have hair on his tongue and comes across as an hombre de pelo en pecho.
When he says he will follow Osama to the gates of Hell, he thrills Cuban hearts. When he imagines a meeting with the Cuban torturers who instructed his own North Vietnamese captors and hints, ever so dryly, that he would take matters into his own hands, it is a sentiment, that thirst for justice, or even revenge, they share.
So, it’s not surprising to me that the majority of Cuban American voters went for McCain, conservative or not. Faced with two viable candidates, neither of who had impeccable conservative credentials, I am sure that many made a reasoned choice; but I suspect that for a substantial number, the choice came down to one sentence-“el tipo tiene cojones.” All of which begs the question, how much have we really learned…
Disclaimer: The preceding does not constitute an endorsement or condemnation of any kind.
Cross posted at Babalublog.