[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Joe Garcia vs Diaz-Balart

Friday, April 11, 2008

Joe Garcia vs Diaz-Balart

I have a keen interest in the Florida District 25 Congress race between Mario Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia, mainly because I live in said district. Also, it involves two Cuban-Americans and is a seat that the Democratic Party and its supporters are desperately seeking.

I figured it would be interesting to analyze some key issues and where the candidates stand. In doing this, I primarily used the information provided at their respective web sites, with frequent links provided. Keep in mind that aside from a couple of issues, neither candidate has offered many specifics (we do have MDB's voting record, however), and as such it's hard to make any clear opinions at this early stage.

Consider this post a preliminary look of sorts.

Let's start.

- Iraq

Garcia offers some goals and ideas, such as a "safe and responsible end" to the Iraq war; not building any permanent bases in Iraq to avoid "fanning the flames of anti-American sentiment"; engaging in "vigorous diplomatic talks" with all sectors of Iraqi society; and engaging all of Iraq's neighbors in "extensive and principled diplomatic talks".

Diaz-Balart provides little detail other than "I voted for establishing the Department of Homeland Security and for military action against Iraq because I believe these were necessary steps to improve our national security." As a rank and file Republican in Congress, it's safe to assume that he's in line with the current strategy being employed in the region.

However, he does give what could be considered by some to be a somewhat moderate view of the Patriot Act: "While we must be proactive and diligent in the fight against terrorism, we must be careful to balance security concerns with civil liberties. Attempting to provide absolute security to law-abiding American citizens could undermine the freedoms that have made America the sole global superpower."

My analysis: a clear demarcation along party lines and ideologies, the best-defined difference between the two candidates.

- Economy:

Garcia offers nothing in the way of specific ideas, just general points such as lower taxes for working families, tax credits for small businesses, creating better jobs for South Florida and promoting investment in South Florida.

Diaz-Balart has his economic plan broken up into separate categories, making it hard to put together into a concise package. Regarding affordable housing, Diaz-Balart favors "down payment assistance" and recently voted in favor of the Section 8 Voucher Adjustment Act of 2007 sponsored by Democrat Maxine Waters of California (in fact, the Florida Republican contingent was split on this vote, with MDB voting in line with the Democrats). He did, however, vote against funding $70 million for the Section 8 program back in 2006.

MDB is more specific on taxes, such as favoring the elimination of the marriage penalty and death tax, and pledged for American for Tax Reform.

My analysis: We'll wait for Garcia to offer more specifics. In the meantime, Diaz-Balart's record doesn't offer any major surprises. Hopefully the debates will provide a clearer distinction.

- Healthcare:

This one's a bit more contentious, although at first glance the differences really aren't all that big. For example: both Garcia and Diaz-Balart state that affordable healthcare should be accessible to all. Diaz-Balart focuses on seniors and small businesses while Garcia specifically mentions those between jobs, working families and small businesses. Both advocate greater choice. Garcia, however, mentions that people should "always have healthcare". I'm not sure if this is an indication of support for universal health care, but it does sound like it.

The main disagreement lies with the vetoed S-CHIP bill. Garcia goes as far as illustrating the differences in his "factcheck" section. He criticizes the South Florida GOP contingent for voting against the S-CHIP bill, stating that it would have helped thousands of immigrant children. He mentions a comment by MDB which I myself was critical of back in October in response to the effect of a proposed tax increase on cigars that S-CHIP would have brought about. Mario stated that the cigar tax increase was an "attack" on the Cuban-American community. While I still believe that statement was a bit over the top and a poor choice of words, I agree with the general sentiment that taxing tobacco to fund S-CHIP is wrong, and President Bush was correct to veto the bill. Garcia also points out apparent contradictions in subsequent statements made by MDB

I'm sure this is something that will come out and become clearer as we get closer to the election.

- Education:

Garcia hits a lot of the right notes here, and is probably the issue that he's most specific and passionate about on the web site. I found it surprising that he favors No Child Left Behind, which puts him at odds with the traditional Democratic opinion.

Diaz-Balart is more general, although he clearly expresses favoring school vouchers, as well as parental involvement and local involvement in decisions on school funding, all good ideas in my book.

My analysis: again, no apparent big difference here. Too early, I guess.

- Cuba:

Neither candidate has a Cuba section on their web sites, but it's well known that the main differences between the two is that Garcia favors lifting travel restrictions by Cuban-Americans as well as allowing more remittances to go directly to dissidents. All in all, the differences really aren't as stark as Garcia and Diaz-Balart make them out to be, although what differences exist are important.

Garcia points out a comment MDB made on Maria Elvira Live about castro allies' interest in the defeat of MDB and the other GOPers Congress members from South Florida, insinuating that MDB accuses Garcia of being one of those castro allies/appeasers. I would have to see the full transcript of that interview, not just a select sound byte before passing judgment on that accusation.

Even if Diaz-Balart meant to say that Garcia is a castro appeaser, that doesn't exactly absolve Garcia from making equally ridiculous comments about his opponents. In this Washington Times editorial, Garcia is mentioned as berating MDB's brother Lincoln for helping nine disabled Ukranian kids obtain prosthetic limbs.

This is shaping up to be quite an interesting race, not necessarily because it MAY be a close one, but because of the obvious interest by Democrats to win the seat. Also, it's MDB's first serious challenge since he was first elected in 2002.

More on this in future posts, you can be sure of that!

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12 Comments:

Blogger Henry Louis Gomez said...

Whether he seeks their endorsement or not it's a fact that in addition to Rangel, others like Max Lesnik and Francisco Aruca are openly supporting Joe Garcia.

2:21 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger nonee moose said...

Henry, what's with you and Joe, dude? You don't like that he handed you your ass when you tried to debate him?

And now you go and send out a letter "as a fellow alumni" without even talking to him first, like a man?

Nevermind. I think I figured it out.

3:58 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger Henry Louis Gomez said...

Nonee,

I didn't have anything to do with that letter. I received it just like the Herald received it. I posted it and said I agreed with it. Later I sent to fellow alums and they have been responding saying that they agree with it.

But even if I had been the author of that letter I would have been under no obligation to talk with Joe first. Joe didn't talk to us before he arranged this fund raiser with Charles Rangel.

And if you think he handed me my ass that's fine. I thought he just acted like a punk who wouldn't let me talk on my own show and who couldn't answer simple questions straight up.

I guess that's the type of candidate that appeals to you.

5:18 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger Henry Louis Gomez said...

And questioning manhood behind the veil of anonymity, that's really courageous.

5:21 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger nonee moose said...

Yes, the veil of anonymity. But if I ever let you know who I am, kid, it's so we can have a conversation in person.

You are absolutely correct, Henry. You would be under no obligation to take it up with him personally. Understand, I have no quarrel with your opinion, other than to say you don't understand at all what's going on. Your choice or curse, whatever. But if you sign on to something, and you did explicitly, which asks something on the basis of some commonality of a more intimate nature than just sharing a city (y no te hagas el bobo), then that commonality, properly respected, should have compelled you to take it up with him personally before lighting that match. And that goes for every last one of your colleagues who undersigned that statement as well. You guys should be ashamed of that. Again, the concern is legitimate. But harkening back to the principles of dirty laundry, some respect was due. You all had the chance to do an honorable thing, even in disagreement, and failed.

I understand your point regarding his failure to discuss with you his campaign's decisions, to the extent this particular one was made by him. I disagree with it.

As I recall, it was you who couldn't keep your beautiful soprano in check enough to discuss matters like rational people. You're an amateur, and a rank one at that. I'm not sure you'll get much better.

There is no questioning your manhood. You answer that question time and time again.

6:53 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger Henry Louis Gomez said...

Joe knew what he was doing when he got into bed with Charlie Rangel. Now it's all damage control.

You couldn't even admit it the letter wasn't my doing. But you know what, Joe chose to get in this race. I assume he's a big boy. If he doesn't want his fellow alums to disapprove of him, then he should think about that before he makes such stupid decisions.

I don't owe Joe a thing and he doesn't owe me a thing. I support his opponent. Joe doesn't know about honor. He has been making partisan attacks on president Bush since before he resigned as E.D. of CANF. He is so honorable that half the membership left during his tenure.

And you are wrong about the radio show. Joe would not let me talk. Listen to it again. I had to yell because he wouldn't shut his piehole for 1 minute to let me refute what he was saying. You are being dishonest if you don't recognize that as one of his debating characteristics. As for how good I am as a radio show host, I'm just about as good as my salary for doing it would indicate.

Manhood is standing for what you believe even if it means maybe not getting elected or not getting some extra cash in your campaign, not backslapping with a friend of a sworn enemy.

7:22 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger nonee moose said...

Yes, Henry, your tradition lives. Konwing better without actually playing the game. Go ahead and keep thinking that MDB is what we need. The guy is the smarter of bookend hacks who trades on a name from long ago. And in terms of service to this community, a busbench would have been more effective. You can sit on a busbench. Have you seen their contribution lists? Will Mario give back the money from PACs belonging to companies with subs that trade with Cuba? No, it's legal he says. But is it moral?

Henry, I don't question your beliefs on the issue. I believe them to be pure. Naively pure. And your candidate likes it that way. He plays both sides against the middle, and you swallow it every time, like a good little boy. Deep down, they're all about themselves. Do you even know these people?

I couldn't even admit it wasn't your idea for the letter? The mastermind of BUCL and other mass media campaigns? Because you say so? Dude, you're full of crap and everybody knows it, and I'm supposed to believe your line? Funny.

Congratulations, man. You're older than your years. When the D-Bs grab your ass, make 'em blow in your ear first. It's the least they could do, no?

8:19 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger Henry Louis Gomez said...

I don't see what BUCL has to do with any of this. You and your buddies think it's dumb. So what? My point was that I did not think of the idea for the open letter to Joe. I only found out about it after the fact. But you were trying to say that it was somehow my doing. And I am telling you that it wasn't. I did agree with the letter and posted my agreement with it as is my right to do so. But you brought it up as if I had orchestrated it because of some personal problem I have with Joe. I told you the facts in this instance you didn't have the common courtesy to say, "I misunderstood I thought you were the one behind it."

Now on the Diaz-Balarts. Your argument that they are not effective leaders could be leveled on any incumbent legislator in the country by supporters of their opponents. Look at congressional approval ratings. Supporters of challenger A are always going to say that Incumbent A is a terrible person and does nothing for the district. That's just empty rhetoric.

Do I know the Diaz-Balarts? No. I met Lincoln once. But I'm a Republican, I'm conservative and on Cuba I'm intransigent. So what compelling reason would I have to give Joe the benefit of the doubt? It's fine if you are liberal, if you are a Democrat and if you disagree with me on Cuba. You're entitled to it. But I'm just as entitled to my opinions.

You call me naive. Fine that's your opinion. You don't know me. You may think you know me but you don't. I think it's naive to think that the federal government will solve all our problems. I think it's naive to think that the economy is better off with more taxes and regulations. I think it's naive to think Cuba will become a thriving democracy if we only remove the embargo and extent the murderers that run that country credit.

So we disagree. The problem for you and for Joe is that in November I suspect that we are going to find that more people in the 25th congressional district and the 18th and 21st agree with me than agree with you.

You keep bringing up manhood like some anonymous dope on the internet is going make me question it. The only people qualified to know about my manhood are my family and friends. Since I suspect you are neither I could give a rats ass.

9:23 PM, April 12, 2008  
Blogger nonee moose said...

Dude, you got friends? LOLLLL!

Hold on to that rat's ass.

12:46 PM, April 13, 2008  
Blogger nonee moose said...

PS- What happened to "Conductor"? You stop playing with trains, son?

1:58 PM, April 13, 2008  
Blogger R.T. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:17 PM, April 13, 2008  
Blogger MAYRA PALMA said...

I AM A REPUBLICAN, EXCUSE ME WAS A REPUBLICAN WHOSE FAMILY BHAS BEEN HERE SINCE 1966. I HAVE SUPPORTED THE REPUBLICAN AND THEIR ISSUES SINCE I WAS ABLE TO VOTE ALONG WITH MY PARENTS. I WOULD LIKE TO LET THEM KNOW THAT IN 2005 I VISITED THE ISLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME AND BOY WHAT A MIND BLOWER ALONG WITH SHOCK AND MANY OTHER EMOTIONS. ALL MY VIEWS AND ALL MY ISSUES DID A U-TURN WHEN I GOT BACK. IN CUBA THERE ARE MANY, MANY PEOPLE CRAVING THE A HUG AND A KISS FROM THEIR RELATIVES. I WENT AND MET AN OLDER SISTER FOR THE FIRST TIME ALONG WITH MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS. I VISITED MY FAVORITE UNCLE WHO IS 87 AND CRIED LIKE A BABY WHEN HE SAW ME. HIS FINAL GOODBYE WORDS WHEN I LEFT WAS, "EVEN IF I CAN'T MEET YOUR CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED FAMILY HERE, I CAN DIE IN PEACE THAT I SAW YOU ONCE AGAIN".
I CAN WRITE A BOOK ABOUT WHAT I SAW, WHAT I FELT AND HOW THEY FELT.
AND POLITICS WOULD NOT BE MENTIONED.
I HAD A FEW WORDS WITH SO CALLED CALLED "PRESIDENTE DEL CDR" AND BELIEVE ME THE CONVERSATION GOT HOT. AT THE END HE SAID "DAM,YOU HAVE OPENED MY EYES TO A FEW ISSUES, I WILL THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TOLD ME.
IN CUBA THEY ONLY SEE, HEAR AND DO WHAT THE GOVERMENT SAYS. IT IS IMPORTAND THAT WE GO THERE AND TALK TO RELATIVES AND FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD. TV MARTI WON'T DO IT!!
WE NEED TO GET ALL THESE POLITICIANS THAT DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE THE PRESENT POLICIES. THEY HAVE NOT WORKED...IF THEY DID NOT WORK IN 50 YEARS AND 50 YEARS IS A LONG TIME..THEY NEVER WILL!
MOST OF US DO NOT HAVE A LIFETIME TO KEEP WAITING.
THIS YEAR, MY SISTER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER, I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO HOLD HER HAND THROUGH THE THERAPY ND I CAN'T. WILL HER CANCER WAIT THREE YEARS IN A NATION LIKE CUBA WHERE ALL THE GOOD DOCTORS ARE NOT IN THE ISLAND? YOU TELL ME.
CHANGE THE POLICIES, GIVE LOVE CHANCE. ALL MY SOON NOT TO BE REPUBLICAN FAMILY IS VOTING FOR JOE GARCIA AND BARACK OBAMA! WE NEED CHANGES HERE AND CHANGES TOWARDS CUBA. GAS WAS $1.46 WHEN BUSH TOOK OFFICE. THANK YOU!
MAYRA PALMA

7:56 PM, September 18, 2008  

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