You know Republican Maria Elvira Salazar is a pretty good candidate when the Florida Democratic Party resorts to treating voters in Congressional District 27 like idiots in order to discredit her.
The Party fired off a press release Friday headlined, "Maria Elvira Salazar Condemned Over Insulting and Divisive Comments About Immigrants." It accused the Hispanic television personality of making "highly insulting and divisive comments about America's immigrants."
Really? A news professional as popular as Salazar, who until January covered the heart of Miami, one of the most diverse communities in America ... a racist? This I had to see.
"Salazar's comments take a page from Donald Trump's playbook by diminishing the contributions of undocumented immigrants and insinuating they are mostly suited 'to pick up Jalapeño peppers in Southern California or to clean toilets in Orlando or in Manhattan,'" said Javier Hernandez, spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party.
An outraged Hernandez called Salazar's "divisive rhetoric ... disgusting," claiming "Maria Elvira is peddling racist stereotypes and diminishing the many contributions immigrants have made, and continue to make, throughout our great nation.
"Contrary to what she and Trump might believe, immigrants are more than just 'the help.'"
Well, lucky for recipients of the press release, the FDP included "proof" -- video conversations Salazar had with MSNBC and the Miami Herald editorial board.
Maybe the Party thinks voters are dolts, that all Hernandez has to do is drop Trump's name in the same breath as the Republican candidate's, and Salazar's goose is cooked.
Or maybe they think the headline will have the same effect as subliminal advertising, that voters are only headline grazers who won't investigate the latest thought drummed into their heads, won't watch the video "proof."
In either case, it's an attempt to treat the voters of CD 27 like blithering idiots.
Hernandez turned Salazar into a monster (he hoped) by pulling a line out of her conversation with Kasie Hunt during an MSNBC interview: "'That's why we need to reform our immigration system'," he quoted the Republican as saying, "'and we need to give visas to those that are coming to pick up Jalapeño peppers in Southern California or to clean toilets in Orlando or in Manhattan'."
He quoted her again during her Sept. 26 editorial board meeting with the Herald: "'Give people with no criminal record, the cleaning ladies, the people that are mowing the lawn, they’re picking the jalapeño peppers in Southern California -- those people deserve to have some type of legality, even though they are illegal or they came in without the proper documentation, but the system allowed them to stay. ...
“'Right now in Texas, I don’t know if you know this, but in Texas, you have an underground railroad funded and led by the business owners of America -- construction people, people that need to finish the homes, so they need workers. Somebody has to put the cement and the 4x4s. So the business-owners, or the construction moguls, are the coyotes.”
These are the words, the Party spokesman tells us, that should outrage all voters.
Take time to view at least the MSNBC video, it's fairly short, and we've displayed it on this page to make it easy for you.
Do you really, truly believe this protege of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is saying immigrants are only "the help," that the only thing they can do is pick peppers or load trucks? Show me where she says that. Salazar doesn't believe in open borders, but she very definitely wants to champion a guest worker program -- something many immigrants have said they want and many in business and industry in this country insist they need.
I've heard her on this subject. Congress pays lip service to a guest worker program, she says, and has since early 1993 when President Bill Clinton failed to get not one but two attorney generals he wanted. Remember Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood? Each of them had a "nanny problem." Lots of talk, lots of nonsense, lots of movement to nowhere. The guest worker program is just another piece of rhinestone candidates flash along the campaign trail, and Salazar is one congressional candidate who wants to go to Washington to be the Real Deal.
Is the FDP saying opening America's borders to all undocumented immigrants is only way we can show them respect?
Read up on Salazar if you want to know more. Her background is impressive. She was born and raised in Miami, the daughter of Cuban immigrants. It's where she attended college and started her career as a journalist, she says. It's where her daughters were born, where her mother lives, it's her "peace."
After 35 years of breaking-news coverage -- including serving as Miami’s local reporter for Univision Network’s flagship station, Channel 23 -- Salazar, 56, is one of the nation’s most recognized Latin American political affairs journalists for the U.S. Hispanic community.
Does this sound to you like someone who could have survived and thrived in a cutthroat local television market by "peddling racist stereotypes" to the community and the people she covered for more than half her life?
No wonder Democrat Donna Shalala, once a member of Bill Clinton's Cabinet and president of the University of Miami, once expected to run away with the CD 27 race, has such a fight on her hands. Salazar -- Maria Elvira to her friends -- looks like a rising star to me.
Bottom line: In spite of the headline on the press release, the only ones "condemning" Salazar about her "insulting and divisive comments about immigrants" are the folks running scared at FDP headquarters.