Why McCain?

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 NinetyMilesAway.

7 thoughts on “Why McCain?”

  1. I think also many were not aware of Romney who does not have the big name in political circles that McCain has. Also the endorsement of the entire Cuban-American Republican delegation to congress (which I attribute to friendships) weighed heavily. Romney didn’t help his case with the Patria o muerte gaffe either.

  2. In Jacksonville, where McCain and his first wife used to live, Romney got about 33% more votes than McCain. This is a very conservative, Republican area. But even more surprising, Obama got more votes than Romney, and far more votes than Hillary. I don’t know what to make of that.

  3. I think you need to also consider many other reasons why Cuban-Americans would choose a McCain over a Romney: 1) apart from “foreign policy” issues (ie. Cuba), and the well founded distaste for the Democrats, Cubans are, at heart not true conservatives, as you guys define it; 2) Cubans have a long history of being moderate-to-liberal on social issues; 3) Cubans, aside from our distate for the way Mexico has been in bed with castro and the ill will that has engendered towards some Mexicans, are generally not anti-immigrant.
    These are only some examples, but I think enough to convey my point. Politically, Cubans are not really “conservatives” except when it comes to preferring a strong foreing policy. So, we gravitate towards more moderate Republicans who aren’t going to “send em all back,’ eliminate el comedor de los viejitos, etc. If you do not include this in your analysis, you are missing a big chunk of the puzzle.

  4. I agree with that LittleGator. But I think most Cuban-Americans are conservative in certain areas that McCain is weak on. Cuban-Americans tend to be entrepreneurial and thus against taxes and onerous government regulation of business. McCain seems to be declaring war against American business. Perhaps not enough was made of the issue.

  5. I agree with the general analysis presented here. Cuban-Americans aren’t generally far-right, but just enough to the right. Aside from the points presented, Cubans tend to be independent-minded. This would tend to draw them to a “maverick” such as John McCain, but that in itself doesn’t explain the support for McCain. A bigger factor is the national defense issue. That’s an issue where Cuban Republicans are pretty solidly conservative on, and one that coincides strongly with McCain’s views.
    Not to mention that the war on Islamofascism is #1 or a close #2 on most people’s list of priorities.

  6. Sadly he forgives the likes of “Fidel” head of the torturers,(reputed an official in the Cuban
    Health Ministry) yet he indicates he would not
    rule out prosecuting the interrogators of KSM,
    Zubeydah, al Nashiri. His Latin American advisors
    are Aronson, and other ‘soft’ officials on the Cuba, Venezuela, Columbia, questions.

  7. So McCain is a bad choice for the GOP nomination because he is not tough enough (rhetoric-wise) on Cuba?
    Man, talk about begging to be rendered irrelevant in the larger national electoral picture in the long run.
    Exiles are either going to one hundred percent American (look at total benefit for entire nation) or not.
    The Bible says that one cannot serve two masters….
    **That is why the Israel lobby is so reviled by the larger portion of the US population (it is not anti-Semitism, it’s anti-favoritism)
    Please outline how McCain stacks up against the remaining Republican contenders on ALL relevant issues for the American people.

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