Republican SOTU responses get lost in translation

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After State of the Union, subtle differences in English and Spanish GOP response.

For the third consecutive year, the Republican Party’s official response to the State of the Union was actually split in two: one in English and one in Spanish. UPDATE: This post was initially written to reflect initial reports that the 2015 SOTU response would be the same as past years, with the Spanish response a simple translation of the English one.

WASHINGTON — Representative Carlos Curbelo, a freshman Republican of Florida, slipped into the Capitol on Monday night toting three freshly pressed dress shirts and a half a dozen ties. Carlos Curbelo, said Republicans wanted to work with Obama to fix the immigration system. | AP Photo Republicans sent mixed signals on immigration in their two official rebuttals to President Obama Tuesday night: Iowa Sen. Curbelo, 34, is a former member of the Miami-Dade School Board who narrowly beat Democrat Joe Garcia in last year’s mid-term election in one of the country’s most competitive races.

Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) would deliver a carefully crafted GOP response to President Obama’s speech, while Rep Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) would deliver the identical speech in Spanish. The GOP selected Curbelo even though he broke with the party last week by joining a handful of representatives in voting against a Republican bill undoing the president’s controversial executive actions on immigration. “I remember as a child, my parents worked long hours for the benefit of our family,” Curbelo said. “They came to this country looking for freedom and an opportunity to work and contribute to this great nation. For them, the road wasn’t easy.” The congressman criticized the Obama administration for delivering “unearned concessions” to cruel dictatorships in Cuba and Iran.

Now we ask him to cooperate with us to get it done.” In an interview after the speech, Curbelo said he chose to focus on immigration as well as other issues personally important to him – such as education and Cuba – aside from the party’s broader economic message that was reflected in Ernst’s rebuttal. He had asked for a copy of Ernst’s prepared remarks a few days in advance of Tuesday’s address, and then made his own additions, including the references to immigration. The right-wing Iowan is a fierce opponent of immigration reform – under the circumstances, it was ironic her speech was being delivered in two languages since she’s an English-only support – while the Florida Republican has actually criticized his party for blocking bipartisan solutions. Curbelo, who made immigration reform a cornerstone of his campaign, also spoke about “modernizing legal immigration.” Ernst did not mention “immigration” once in her speech.

Leadership saw the remarks beforehand and were fine with them, Curbelo said. “I did not get any pushback whatsoever.” “That’s a shame that Democrats would try to criticize us for each of us having our own priorities and ideas and making them known,” Curbelo added. “I think leadership should be commended for encouraging those it selects to talk about their lives, their priorities and their vision.” They delivered similar messages that stressed unique life stories, their commitment to family and how the Republican Congress plans to govern over the next year. Curbelo fretted over which tie to wear (he settled on a red, silver and blue striped number that he said had been “lucky” for him in elections), another freshman, Representative Alma Adams, Democrat of North Carolina, was home in Greensboro, reviewing her plans to introduce an education bill — and thinking about her hair. On local Spanish language television station Mira TV, which aired some of Curbelo’s speech, Raul Martinez, a Democrat and former mayor of Hialeah, Miami-Dade County’s second-largest city, said Curbelo failed to reach non-Cuban Latinos. “This is a speech people will forget about quickly,” added Armando Ibarra, a principal of Ai Advisory, a public affairs consulting firm that has been working with Cuban dissidents in Miami opposed to Obama normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba. On Curbelo’s Facebook page, some people admonished the congressman minutes after he finished his speech. “It makes me sad to see a good Latino be so blind,” Armando Hernandez wrote. “I hope your party doesn’t boot you out once they don’t need you anymore.” Curbelo was among a minority of Republicans who voted against measures to undo executive actions that could protect as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, in addition to allowing them to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses.

Joni Ernst, the newly-elected Iowa senator who gave the Republican response in English, is a standard conservative on immigration — which is to say, an opponent of a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, and of President Obama’s recent executive actions to protect many of them from deportation. Steve King of Iowa — the leading immigration hawk in the House of Representatives. (Jeb Bush, who’s generally attempted to be a moderate on this issue, is pointedly refusing to attend King’s conference because he finds King too radical.) In 2007, as a county auditor, Ernst joined a lawsuit against Iowa state officials for offering voting materials in languages other than English. Curbelo, who disagrees with the Republican leadership on at least one core issue, immigration, did not see it that way — though he is well aware that his job Tuesday was to showcase diversity in a caucus that is overwhelmingly white and male. “I want to be modest about this — there aren’t that many of us that speak Spanish in the conference,” he said from behind the desk in his still-bare office, taking a pause between interviews. “But I also think the party was excited to have a young Hispanic voice.” While Mr.

In the case of Curbelo, his words are translated by a bilingual Washington Post reporter in consultation with an English-language translation of his remarks provided by GOP aides: Ernst played up her Red Oak, Iowa upbringing: “As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. Ernst hasn’t taken a stand on the House DHS bill yet — many Senate Republicans oppose Obama’s immigration actions but are squeamish about this bill, because they know it won’t pass into law and they’re worried about the prospects of a DHS shutdown at the end of February. But she has promised in the past to “fight executive amnesty.” Since Ernst and Curbelo gave similar speeches in two different languages, the main text couldn’t be anything either of them would object to. Obama on prime time television. (She did.) “It’s kind of like your own child — first of all, he’s very smart, he’s good to look at, I think he exudes a lot of genuineness,” she said Tuesday, shortly before catching her plane back to Washington. “We never thought there would be an African-American president. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.

An attack on Obama’s “executive amnesty” would force Curbelo substantially to the right of his current position — which would cause massive trouble within his heavily-Latino swing district. On the English-language version, the Republican condemned “amnesty” and “illegal immigrants,” while on the Spanish-language version, Heller conveniently forgot to include the same message. Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. By the same token, if Ernst said anything that could be interpreted as pro-amnesty, the right would be outraged — and it would undo any goodwill the GOP built up with its base over last week’s bill.

It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.” “Today, health insurance is more expensive for many families and the cost of insurance has increased. Adams, who is divorced with grown children, invited Taquawn Rorie, 20, a sophomore majoring in engineering at North Carolina A & T State University, to draw attention to her bill, which pushes for the arts to be incorporated in science education. But when the American people have sought solutions from Washington, the government has responded with broken politics that has made the divide between the rich and poor greater. Washington hasn’t listened and hasn’t worked for a fair economy that benefits everyone who lives in this country — not just the most fortunate.” Both lawmakers mentioned the push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a key priority for GOP lawmakers. But since the president himself barely mentioned immigration in his speech — and didn’t spend any time defending his executive actions — they didn’t really have much they’d need to respond to.

Curbelo spent a summer on Capitol Hill as a page when he was 16, after interning for another Republican of Cuban heritage, former Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.” “By putting children and teachers first, we drastically improved the quality of education in our schools and the neediest students have been the ones that have benefited the most,” he said. He took an apartment not far from the Capitol, only to realize he is spending so little time there that he might as well get a fold-up cot and sleep in his office to save time.

Then he added: “We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, modernize legal immigration and strengthen our economy.” “This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL and those radicalized by them,” she said. “We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. He plans to make that change in February. “I have not been able to find a rhythm, and I’m someone that likes to get into a routine,” he said. “I think living in my office will help me do that.

We can only imagine the depth of their grief.” Curbelo delivered a similar message, saying that the nation needs to support its veterans and continue fighting al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Curbelo proved adept at following directions; soon his head was bobbing up and down, his hands moving in a controlled, intentional way to make his points.

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