All Eyes On Puerto Rico?

Mar 16 2012 @ 10:31am

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Ben Jacobs hypes the Sunday primary: 

[Romney's disappointing performance in the South] makes Sunday’s primary in Puerto Rico, with 20 delegates at stake—more than New Hampshire, Vermont, or Hawaii among the states that have voted so far—a very big deal. Until Tuesday, the Caribbean territory, which has never played a big role in a GOP primary before, had been written off as a gimme for Romney, who is backed by the Republican governor, Luis Fortuno, and has been racking up delegates in territorial primaries that his less well-funded competitors have effectively conceded. …  If Santorum holds Romney below 50 percent there, it would deny the former Massachusetts governor at least 10 delegates—effectively removing the cushion he picked up with his two wins Tuesday. While there’s been no recent polling on the island, turnout is expected to be as high as 400,000—which would be more than Iowa and New Hampshire combined.

Meanwhile, Santorum has dubbed himself "Senador Puertorriqueño." But he screwed up royally on the language question. A reader reacts to our most recent Ad War Update:

Craig Romney’s heavily accented, Spanish 101 pitch in a recent local Puerto Rico radio commercial was a curious little drama to the few of us here who care about US politics, in this blind, insular, USA-forgotten island.

His father’s even heavier accent at the end of that commercial – the "I approve this message" – was less funny and folksy than it was ludicrous.  Few stateside people know how foreign these commercial sound and how desperate the fly-down trips of these Republican candidates appear to the people of an island that has been all but forgotten by US politics. 

Santorum was completely blind to local problems during his visit, catering, with his "English only"  insistence, to the crudest of Amurrican right-wing yahoos.  He met with out wildly out-of-touch conservative governor.  I wonder how absurd their conversation must have been.  Romney will visit the island, we hear, in the next few days.  Not much more is expected from him.  But both he and Santorum want those 20 Puerto Rican delegates.  And so a tropical and heartless Kabuki will be played out.  (Sadly, Obama flew down a few months back, delivered some boilerplate, collected some money, and then flew away in a blink of an eye.)

A century ago, this island was thrown in as booty, to sweeten the pot after the 1898 Hispanic-American War.  Cuba was the plum back then.  And now with Cuba opening up, God help us.

(Photo: Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) attends a prayer service at the Path of the Cross Evangelical Church in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 14, 2012. Santorum's two-day campaign on the island is meant to win the 20 of 23 GOP delegates up for grabs on the island commonwealth. His religious views are likely to entice the vote of the island's large Catholic population. By Christopher Gregory/Getty Images.)