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Memo From Mexico | Mexicans Spurn McCain`s Pandering—Prefer Hillary (But They`ll Settle For Obama)
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April 03, 2008, 05:00 AM
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Who do Mexicans want as the next U.S. president?

All three major candidates (John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) have appalling records on immigration (see here) which must make Mexico`s elite happy. All three have pandered to Hispanics—by, among other things, appearing in the Spanish-language  Univision debates. And any of the three can be expected to push for an amnesty.

Nevertheless, of the three, John McCain has pandered more, and longer, and has proven again and again his contempt for US immigration laws. McCain defended the illegal alien marches of 2006. He opposed English Only laws and efforts to assimilate immigrants generally. He also seems fonder of Hispanic culture than traditional American culture:  in one speech, he said  the U.S. is better off not having a common culture, while in another, to Hispanic congressmen, he said that the Hispanic blood and culture was a "noble cause" that enriched the country. McCains`s Hispanic outreach director, Juan Hernandez, a longtime amnesty agitator, is actually a U.S.-Mexican citizen and a former Mexican cabinet minister!

So by any objective standard, McCain has pandered more to Mexico and Hispanics than either Hillary or Obama.

Then McCain must be very popular in Mexico, right?

Maybe he should be—but he`s not.

A recent poll reported March 21 by El Universal, Mexico`s paper of record, asked which of the three candidates—John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama—would be better for Mexico.

The results: Hillary Clinton got 41% of the Mexican vote. Obama was in second place, with 27% of the vote.

And John McCain? He got a whopping 8% of the vote!

Even Universal noticed the irony:

"The senator and certain Republican presidential candidate John McCain has spent the past 25 years of his life in the U.S. Congress as a frequent voice in favor of good relations between his country and Mexico. But a poll indicates that not only do Mexicans prefer Hillary Clinton over McCain and his Democratic competitor Barack Obama, but the belief that either of the Democrats would give a greater impetus to a migratory reform (amnesty, etc.) than McCain, who besides having been one of the co-sponsors of a failed proposal last year, also was the target of harsh criticisms from his party for his stance in favor of migrants." [Mexicanos prefieren a Hillary, El Universal, March 21, 2008.]

Personally, I`m not surprised that Hillary won a plurality of those polled. Most of Mexicans` knowledge of the U.S. is gained from translations of the U.S. MainStream Media (MSM), which is overwhelmingly Democratic. Bill Clinton was popular in Mexico, and was appreciated for the big bank bailout in the mid-1990s. (Republican leaders also supported it but didn`t get any credit in Mexico. VDARE.COM editor Peter Brimelow, in contrast, suggested in Forbes Magazine that the U.S.  would be better off simply buying Baja). And Hillary`s autobiography, translated to Spanish, did well here. Many Mexicans are Hillary fans.

In fact, in that same Mexican poll, Hillary had 98% name recognition. Obama and McCain tied at 73%.

Some 74% of those polled had a "very good" opinion of Mrs. Clinton, 73% had a "very good" opinion of Obama, while only 41% had a "very good" opinion of McCain.

I found out years ago that Democrats have a better image in Mexicans than Republicans, as I wrote in my very first VDARE.COM article.

Part of it because of the U.S. MSM (see above). But also, Mexico is just a more left-wing country than the U.S. Republicans are seen as the "party of the rich" and as "anti-Mexican". For example, a Mexican high school student recently informed me with complete confidence (I`m an American, remember) that Republicans treat Mexicans badly.

Given Mexican immigrants` predisposition to the Democratic party, it makes perfect sense for Democratic party leaders to import more Mexicans. So why do Republican leaders want to import more Democratic voters?

Besides better name recognition, the Mexican media comes up with another reason Mexicans may prefer Hillary—solidarity with Hispanics in the U.S.. As Universal put it:

" In some measure the good impression that Mexicans have of Clinton is due to the fact that she is more well-known and maybe as an increased reflection of the favorable image that the senator for New York has among Hispanics of the United States, who  have overwhelmingly  voted for her."

And get this, from the same article:

"….[U.S.] Hispanics tend to consider that Obama.. of an African father and Anglo-Saxon mother, who has the majority support of the Afro-Americans, is going to favor `his` group [blacks] to the detriment of the Latinos."

This is a reference to the emerging Black-Hispanic rivalry in the United States. It reminds me of a recent report, bluntly entitled "Minorities don`t trust each other" [Agence France-Presse, Dec 12, 2007], of a poll in which 44% of Hispanics and 47% of Asians reported being "afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime". Meanwhile, over 50% of blacks and 46% of Hispanics reported being treated with disrespect by Asian business owners. Half of blacks polled said immigrants from Latin America "are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the black community".  And, "All three ethnic groups viewed white Americans in a more favorable light than they did members of another minority."

In fact, Hispanics were more likely to say so than the other two groups:

"Sixty-one percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asians and 47 percent of African-Americans said they would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups."

It sounds like white Americans are holding the country together, albeit tenuously. Which raises the question: what`s going to happen if whites lose their majority status?

In contrast, the attitude of Mexicans (in Mexico) towards blacks is mostly theoretical. Traditionally, Mexicans have sympathized from afar with American blacks. But most Mexicans don`t have much contact with people who are recognizably black.  When they do, there are complaints of discrimination—by Haitian refugees residing in Mexico, and by the small minority of recognizably black Mexicans, who mainly live on the Pacific Coast.

Certainly, Mexicans do not share the same PC inhibitions about blacks that Americans do. They still tell jokes that would land them in big trouble north of the border. For example, previous president Vicente Fox, in one of his never-ending immigration spiels, said that  "There is no doubt that Mexicans… are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States."  This forced the Mexican president to submit to an American ritual: a ceremonial groveling meeting with Jesse Jackson! [Mexican leader criticized for comment on blacks  CNN May 14th, 2005]

That was followed a few months later by the release of a set of stamps honoring Memin Pinguin, the stereotypically black Cuban protagonist of a long-running Mexican comic book.  Even LULAC and the National Council of the Race criticized the Mexican government over this one. [Mexican Stamp sets off a new racial fracas James C. McKinley, Jr. , International Herald Tribune, July 1st, 2005]

What was interesting was Fox`s absolute cluelessness.  After playing the race card with the United States in defense of illegals in the U.S., he seemed flabbergasted by the response from black leaders in the U.S.

Now back to the Universal poll. As far as the renegotiation of NAFTA, 31% think Clinton is in favor, 21% think Obama is in favor, and 9% think McCain favors it.

Some 28% of those polled believe Obama has "good proposals" for improving U.S.-Mexican relations, while 27% believe the same about McCain. Oddly, only 10% believed that about Hillary Clinton. However, 22% of Mexicans polled thought Hillary would be a better president for Mexico because she`s a woman!

And that, by the way, is essentially what former president Vicente Fox said on one of his U.S. meddling tours—that he supports Hillary for president because she`s a woman, and since women bear children, they think about the future more and that makes them good leaders.

Which raises another interesting point. At the risk of generalizing, Mexicans are considered more male chauvinist than American men.  But now Mexicans are supporting Hillary.  Why?

There are several factors at work. For one thing, the Mexican media and academia systematically promote feminism. The Spanish language has even been affected. President Calderon and former president Fox are both fond of utilizing the rather bulky feminist construction "mexicanos y mexicanas", rather than the traditional "mexicanos" which refers to both men and women.

Mexicans have become quite accustomed to women political leaders. Currently Mexico has a female foreign minister, ( Patricia Espinosa), Speaker of the House (Ruth Zavaleta ) and  PRI party president (Beatriz Paredes).  Then there`s Elba Esther Gordillo  , leader of the powerful SNTE teachers` union, which is one of the biggest impediments to reforming Mexican public education. (Like our NEA). And, we can`t forget, Vicente Fox`s wife Marta Sahagun, whom some likened to Hillary, and who was also said to harbor presidential ambitions.

Some of these women have proven that, in the interests of equality, they can be just as incompetent and corrupt as a male politician—notably SNTE`s Elba Esther Gordillo, widely believed to have profited through corrupt practices.

Besides, although the Mexicans polled favor Hillary over Obama, I have no doubt that should Obama win the Democratic nomination, a later poll will reveal that Mexicans prefer an Obama presidency over a McCain presidency.

Sure, McCain has pandered to Mexicans. But their preference for the Democratic party will trump McCain`s pandering.

Some prominent Mexicans are already committed to Obama. When I showed my wife the bilingual Obama video "We Are The Ones", which I discussed in a VDARE.COM blog entry here, she pointed out that one of the Obama fans was Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, and sure enough, it was. Kate del Castillo is the one in the video who says (in Spanish) "Esta es nuestra América, mi América, tu América" which translates to "This is our America, my America, your America".

Except that you have to understand that América doesn`t have the same connotation that "America" has for an English-speaking American. In Spanish it means the whole continent, as reconquista-type protestors have reminded us with their insulting slogan "America is a continent and not a country". (For more on the America/América question, see here ).

And yet, here`s Kate del Castillo, a Mexican citizen, telling us who to vote for. What if an American citizen movie star tried to intervene in Mexican politics?

Several Mexican pundits have also come out in favor of Obama. An analysis/opinion piece by Jaime Martinez Veloz was triumphantly entitled "Obama the Hope of Latin America"[Obama la Esperanza de América Latina, La Jornada, February 15, 2008]  I blogged about it here .

Some highlights include:

"From his African-American origin, he [Obama] launches a motto of unity for the continent: `There is not a white America, an Afro-American America and an Hispanic America, there is only one America.`… For our fellow Mexicans and Latino brothers in the United States he [Obama] has a proposal: `I represent the people who until now have been marginalized. I will make sure that that those people have access to medical care and education, including the undocumented.`…the importance of Obama`s message arrives to all the corners of the United States and Latin America, where its definitions and positions outline a new relationship and a better understanding between our countries . Throughout its history Latin America has not been an enemy of the United States, but the United States has been to our countries…Whatever comes to pass (or doesn`t) in the United States affects our countries, that`s why with all our strength we should create a Latin Force behind Senator Barack Obama. I am convinced we have capability of doing so."

Another pro-Obama opinion piece, by Luis Linares, is entitled "Barack Oama and Change". [Barack Obama y el Cambio, Luis Linares Zapata, La Jornada, Feb. 13th, 2008]

 It goes on and on about how great Obama is and concludes that

"If Barack wins the presidency of the United States, he will be the first politician of the left (in the U.S. ideological context, an extreme liberal) of that country and another sign of the present and future of the continent."

Note that Linares recognizes that Obama is an "extreme liberal"—and supports him because of it.

Obama has his critics too. In El Universal, Esteban Moctezuma penned an editorial entitled Obama Fox, [El Universal, Feb. 22, 2008]likening Obama to former Mexican president Vicente Fox—not a compliment.

Moctezuma wrote that Hillary would be a better U.S. president, but that she is too boring for the campaign, and thus is being beaten by Obama`s style and contradictory demagogic promises.

Obama is winning, Moctezuma writes, because "..in the face of the deprivation and desperation of a multitude of Americans , who feel that they have even lost their identity, Barack builds for them a very attractive imaginary world…"

Moctezuma closes with his Obama-Fox comparison–

"Obama reminds me of Fox ! It brings me back to the days in which, in the morning [Fox] would say to the tenants that frozen rents were an act of social justice and in the afternoon to the landlords, that frozen rents should disappear ."

Bottom line: all the evidence indicates that Mexicans prefer a Democratic candidate (Hillary if possible, or Obama as second-choice) to John McCain.

Conclusion, not for the first time: pandering doesn`t pay.

And: Mexico and the U.S. are profoundly different countries. We cannot expect Mexicans to see things the American way.

American citizen Allan Wall ( email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his "Dispatches from Iraq" are archived here his website is here.