- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hola, Senora

Republican support among Cuban-Americans is no longer a given, according to some observers — particularly the New York Times, which recently posed the question, “Will Little Havana go blue?”

The neighborhoods of Miami will momentarily get a big, blue jolt from the heart of the Democratic Party.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is coming to endorse Joe Garcia in Miami this Wednesday before the end of the filing period. Nancy Pelosi knows the kind of leadership South Florida’s families deserve,” stated a campaign e-mail from Mr. Garcia.

He’s running for Congress in the 25th District, challenging Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican who has held the office since 2002. The race is one of 37 potential “red to blue conversions” thatwhich the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put on its wish list.

Mr. Garcia is chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation. He’s ready for a fight.

“Mario is not going to out-Cuban me, that’s one thing you — and he — can count on,” Mr. Garcia said of his rival.

Hosts with most

Jon Stewart, Chris Matthews, Chris Wallace, eat your hearts out. As of Tuesday, the four presidential debates have their officials hosts, and they ain’t you.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators for the 2008 general election presidential and vice presidential debates Tuesday. And the winners are (envelope, please):

Sept. 26 (the University of Mississippi): PBS anchor Jim Lehrer.

Oct. 2 (Washington University): PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill

Oct. 7 (Belmont University): NBC correspondent Tom Brokaw

Oct. 15 (Hofstra University): CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer

Mystery candidate

Americans aren’t hostile to Sen. Barack Obama, they’re uncertain about his spot on the national landscape, according to David Brooks of the New York Times.

“When we’re judging candidates (or friends), we don’t just judge the individuals, but the milieus that produced them. We judge them by the connections that exist beyond choice and the ground where they will go home to be laid to rest. Andrew Jackson was a backwoodsman. John Kennedy had his clan. Ronald Reagan was forever associated with the small-town virtues of Dixon and Jimmy Carter with Plains.

It is hard to plant Obama … . If you grew up in the 1950s, you were inclined to regard your identity as something you were born with. If you grew up in the 1970s, you were more likely to regard your identity as something you created.

If Obama is fully a member of any club — and perhaps he isn’t — it is the club of smart post-boomer meritocrats. We now have a cohort of rising leaders, Obama’s age and younger, who climbed quickly through elite schools and now ascend from job to job. They are conscientious and idealistic, while also being coldly clever and self-aware. It’s not clear what the rest of America makes of them.”

Girl talk

As far as female voters go, neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. John McCain “has secured a clear majority of women, who have decided every presidential election since 1968. Mr. Obama garnered 49 percent to Mr. McCain’s 38 percent, and 6 percent of these women said they were only leaning toward a candidate. With 90 days to go until Election Day, 10 percent of women are firmly undecided, indicating either candidate has a shot at becoming the next president,” said a Lifetime Networks survey of 500 women released Tuesday.

“The majority of women voters polled say gender does not matter. Obama’s selection of a woman running mate makes no difference to 55 percent of women voters, and McCain’s selection of a woman as his No. 2 makes no difference to 62 percent.

“The majority of women voters laid the blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss squarely on her and her strategists’ shoulders; they largely reject gender as a cause of her demise. Thirty-four percent believe she lost ‘because of the kind of campaign she ran’; 31 percent said because of ‘who she is and what she stands for’; and 21 percent said ‘because she is a woman.’”

Beneath covers

Forget the lofty stuff about audacity, at least for the time being.

Negative books about Sen. Barack Obama are topping the must-read lists, with a trio of “anti-Obama releases” in Amazon.com’s top 20 best-seller list on Tuesday — despite little critical attention or mainstream media coverage, according to the Associated Press.

“There’s a pent-up demand from people on the right side of the aisle who feel that the mainstream media is effusively covering Barack Obama and not critically covering him,” said Marji Ross, president and publisher of Regnery Publishing Inc., which just released “The Case Against Barack Obama,” by David Fredosso.

Until recently, the most widely read narratives of Mr. Obama’s life were written by Mr. Obama himself, in the million-selling “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.”

Now, gang way for the new best-sellers — Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality,” Mr. Fredosso’s “The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate” and Dick Morris‘ massively subtitled oeuvre, “Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies that Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us … and What to Do About It.”

“With book like these, the minute some people know they’re out there, they must have them,” said Cal Morgan, an executive editor at HarperCollins who worked on the Morris book as well as Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men.”

“The anti-Obama readership is largely one that has already made up its mind and is looking for validation, while the Obama readership comprises both those who have already made up their minds and those who are curious about him,” said Steve Ross, president of the Collins division of HarperCollins books — and at one point, Mr. Obama’s publisher.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.