Tag: pandering

It’s About Branding

There I was, ready to enjoy some enchiladas suizas and a generous helping of tequila, when I saw them.

But first, let me be clear about the Mexican restaurant in which I was dining. Years ago, I saw Brad Pitt in the place. He wasn’t around on this night, so I don’t want to implicate him. The point is that this is a popular LA site that teeters on the edge of authenticity (good food in a simple setting) and hipster irony (the kid of place where Brad Pitt walks in to show off his bona fides).

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised to see a large table of yuppies (tangent: do yuppies still exist?) hooting and hollering nearby. It was a birthday party apparently, and they had their own wait staff.

Now, the waiters and waitresses for our area were dressed casually, in jeans and polo shirts. The wait staff for the private party, however, was dressed, well, more colorfully.

The waitresses had frilly dresses and Carmen Miranda-style headpieces, and the waiters were decked out in campesino attire, complete with huge sombreros.



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I Demand Pandering, and Right Now

First, let me offer belated thanks to Profe for commenting on my post “We’re Number Juan” and to Promethestherebel for his response to my post “Who Are You?”

Second, please remember that my pieces on the Huffington Post are also open to comments. In fact, despite the generous feedback I have received there, I have yet to see any truly deranged comments, so somebody out there is falling down on the job. Let’s get with it, people!

Speaking of Huffington, I want to address the odd linking that my post “Loving the Latino Voter” received there. Some organization named the Illinois Review excerpted the piece with the tagline “Liberal argues that Hispanics vote for whichever candidate panders to them the most.”

I’m not sure that was my argument, and the tone is definitely bitchy. But let’s look at that pandering charge anyway. It stems from my point that, so far, the Democratic platform has appealed to Hispanic voters more than the Republican platform has.

The Democrats’ approach, ergo, is pandering. How this is much different than candidates promising the moon and sun to Soccer Moms or Nascar Dads or blue-collar unionists or anti-tax small-business owners or NRA members or ACLU activists is beyond me.

The difference between pandering and “good campaign skills” looks to be negligible. Specifically, McCain reneging on his criticisms of the Religious Right is not pandering to Christian conservatives. Obama refraining from the smallest criticism of the Israeli government is not pandering to Jewish voters.

But addressing some issues that Latinos tend to value is pandering of the highest degree.

Now we’re all clear.

Sorry, but it seems that many people are uncomfortable with the fact that Hispanics (long the also-ran demographic of the voting population) are finally exercising some clout. This charge is especially prevalent among conservatives because they are – and there is no delicate way to put this – losing.

So if Democrats continue to win over Latinos, expect to see a lot more of that self-righteous j’accuse tone flying around. The fact, however, is that the attention Latinos are enjoying is no different from what majority-culture voters have demanded and received for decades. Indeed, Juan Carlos Lopez has argued that pandering to Hispanics is inevitable and long overdue.

So to my friends at the Illinois Review, I would say, “Yeah, Hispanics are indeed more likely to vote for the guy who panders to them the most… just like everybody else.”

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