Meet Obama’s field general
posted at 2:01 pm on April 25, 2012 by Jorge Bonilla
If, as the old saw goes, personnel is policy…then it is clear that the Obama machine (campaign and labor) has decided that its primary Hispanic outreach target is Central Florida. Accordingly, they have dispatched their best general to the field.
On Monday, José Delgado (Washington D.C. correspondent for El Nuevo Día) published a piece which featured the Democrat Hispanic outreach key players in Central Florida (Google-translated version here). I was familiar with some of the names cited (such as Franceschini, who has been active for years, and Acevedo, who is the public face of the Hispanic campaign in the I-4 corridor)…but one name, in particular, was not at all known to me (my translation):
“This is where the battle royal will be fought”, said labor leader José La Luz, whom the AFL-CIO has assigned to work on voter mobilization in Central Florida.
Since the name didn’t ring a bell, I started digging. It turns out that La Luz is not only a labor legend, but a “proud socialist” with a track record and radical pedigree going all the way back to the ’70s. Had he shifted to academia, as did many of the radicals of that time period, he’d undoubtedly be one of those “silver ponytails” that Andrew Breitbart alluded to at CPAC. Instead, he stayed in the field and became a master organizer.
La Luz got his start as a member of the now-defunct Puerto Rican Socialist Party (which had extensive ties to the Castro regime, according to Congressional testimony), and was active in that party’s Connecticut branch. By 1976, he rose to become a part of the PSP’s Central Committee, and attended the National Hard Times Conference (under the auspices of Prairie Fire and the Weather Underground). Shortly thereafter, La Luz left the PSP and joined the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, where he became Chairman of its Hispanic Commission, prior to the merger that led to the formation of the Democratic Socialists of America. After spending most of the ’90s in Chicago, La Luz officially retured to Puerto Rico as Executive Director of the local AFSCME branch, and successfully oversaw the multi-union organization of 150,000 government workers, and their (successful) campaign for collective bargaining rights.
Fast forward to 2007, and we begin to see how La Luz’ unique experience and skill sets come into play over the course of the past and current election cycles. Shortly after that particular speech, La Luz (who was, at the time, director of the AFSCME Leadership Academy) became chairman of Latinos For Obama. As such, La Luz worked in Colorado and New Mexico, driving registration, educating, and mobilizing voters until Election Day. A month and half before the 2008 general election, he had this to say to People’s World Weekly:
“We are showing how the companies and outfits that exploit Latino workers are the people behind McCain,” said Laluz. Between now and Nov. 4, Laluz said the Obama campaign is registering voters in New Mexico and Colorado and developing lists of tens of thousands of Latino supporters for Obama. “Those lists will constitute the people we bring out on Election Day,” he said.
By now we know that the strategy clearly worked, given that Obama gained 67% of the Latino vote in 2008. This strategy focused specifically on racial and economic grievances.
La Luz has remained active in the DSA, serving as vice-chair as recently as 2009, and adressing the DSA conventionin 2011 (watch the whole thing if you can spare the time, but if not, then definitely go to 24:11). In particular, the calls for a tax increase pledge, and the Occupy Spring Offensive bring special insight into what we can expect to see in Central Florida.
If you read through the Nuevo Día piece, you’ll see that La Luz is savvy enough to recognize that the immigration argument might not play as well in Central Florida, but the other elements of the strategy would.
Given the importance of the Hispanic vote along the I-4 corridor, and its national repercussions (let there be no doubt that FL-9 is now the Mother Of All Bellwethers), there was always an expectation that the Institutional Left would go all out. We also know that the muscle is never far from the smiling face, and the iron is fist never far from the velvet glove.
It is clear that Central Florida’s hispanic battleground (the most important in the nation) is a must-win for the regime, and it has sent its best general to the field.
Stuff just got real.
A Spanish-language version of this post is available at El Tercer Riel (The Third Rail).