Richardson’s gaffe and more — A comprehensive update on Latino appointments in the Obama Administration

December 11th, 2008 · 18 Comments

Here is Seneca’s latest update on Latino appointments in the Obama Administration:

Bill Richardson appears to have committed a big blooper. In a recorded video being bicycled around the internet, he states in Spanish that President Elect Obama is “un inmigrante.” Plainly, this feeds the anti-Obama bloggers, pundits, critics, bigots and other enemies of the newly elected President that want to believe he is ‘ineligible’ to become President because he is not “native born.” Of course, Richardson may have merely committed a gaffe (note the Supreme Court will not review Obama’s citizenship, as the Hawaii Health Department Director has confirmed that he was born in Hawaii).

It became clear that Obama will have so far at least two Asian Americans on Cabinet. Shinseki at Veterans Affairs and Chu at Energy, two African Americans: Holder at Justice as AG and Susan Rice at the UN, three white males Daschle at HHS, Geithner at Treasury and Gates remains at Defense, and one Latino to Commerce – Richardson. Still being speculated for Interior is Grijalva and Manny Diaz for HUD or Transportation. Talk of Xavier Becerra to USTR (the Trade Representative) died down this week, but no other name has surfaced and talk is that Becerra wants to stay in the House to be the third or fourth ranking Dem. Still the trade establishment is trying to recover from the shock of learning that Becerra is a serious contender for the USTR job. Becerra is not  regarded as a genuine friend of trade agreements unless they address blue/green issues (labor/environmental) — both anathema to the corporate and trade mandarins. Frank Sanchez is still being toted as probably the new Presidential Envoy to Latin America. He will probably need to get Hillary Clinton, the new Secretary of State, designee’s buy in.

The NSC Director for Latin America appears to be on track for Colombian American Dan Restrepo. Luis Lauredo (Cuban American), former Clinton Ambassador to the OAS, is promoting himself as the possible new Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America as is Arturo Valenzuela (Chilean American), a Georgetown Professor who was Clinton’s last NSC Director for Latin America. Both have keen competition from Mark Schneider, a former Senator Ted Kennedy confidante and former Clinton Asst Administrator of AID for Latin America and Julia Schweig, a leading Latin expert on Cuba at the white bread Council on Foreign Relations.

Joe Garcia, the Dems’ recent unsuccessful challenger to Congressman Mario Diaz Balart, is being talked about as a possible and most viable candidate for the of the powerful FCC or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Garcia (Cuban American) was formerly head of the Florida Public Utilities Board under the late Gov Lawton Chiles. Another Washington bagatelle has it that Henry Cisneros is strongly plugging for the recently defeated Texas Dems’ candidate for the US Senate, Rick Noriega to be the head of FEMA, which is not a job most people are rushing to embrace or seek. Word from Europe is that former Clinton Ambassador to Spain Ed Romero was seen visiting Madrid with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez in tow. It seems that Romero is openly and brazenly supporting Chavez’ candidacy for Obama’s envoy to King Juan Carlos. Romero, along with Chavez, was assumed to be measuring the curtains at the sumptuous Ambassadorial digs. The question remains: Is Richardson also standing tall for Chavez? Being ambassador to Spain opens plenty of business opportunities after you leave office, and Romero knows this well. Next we might see a Latino measuring the drapes at the Ambassador’s abode in Mexico City…

Tags: Barack Obama · Bill Richardson · diversity · Henry Cisneros · Hillary Clinton · Immigration · Kennedys · Rep. Mario Diaz Balart · Rep. Xavier Becerra · Rick Noriega · Seneca

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 XicanoPwr // Dec 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I like Joe Garcia. I had the pleasure meeting in Austin during the Netroots conference. He attended the Latino caucus and really didn’t want to leave the session when his handlers asked it was time to press the flesh.

    I must have made an impression. During the DNC Convention, we ran into each other. It was he who gave me his credential to see Obama accept the DNC nomination that night.

    I think he will be great in either position. I am not saying this because he gave his credential. I have done my homework, I think he has the experience to head up either position.

  • 2 Anna // Dec 12, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Richardson didn’t make a gaffe. He was talking about Obama Sr. Many times during the campaign Richardson stressed that Obama is the son of an immigrant.

    But ever so eager to criticize anybody Latino, the webmaster takes a comment out of context and calls it a gaffe.

  • 3 india blanca // Dec 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I am not sure why the attitude towards Seneca, Ana but if you take the time to listen to Richardson he is referring to Barack Obama and not his dad…so it is a big metida de pata on Richardson’s part…Seneca is definitely right on this one.

  • 4 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Can anybody here explain how flooding the market with Illegal Alien chunte labor is good for the American blue-collar worker?

  • 5 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I mean, how does that benefit my job and wage security?

  • 6 XicanoPwr // Dec 13, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Looks like Manny Diaz was passed over for HUD Sec.

  • 7 Michaelr // Dec 13, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Anna is a carnival barker for all Latino politicians. She’s content sitting at the bottom rung of the food chain ladder and watching her tax dollars lavish the lifestyles of all her incompetent compadres politicos. She thinks praise will inspire their idealism, even though few of those Latino politicians know what that word means. It’s all very comical. The fact Bill Richardson made a gaffe, doesn’t undermine his ability, it just means he shouldn’t talk into a microphone after having several drinks.

  • 8 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Loretta Sanchez is the only Democrat worthy of having a few drinks with. She’d be a lotta fun…

  • 9 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    KETV — Omaha
    Lawmakers pitch crackdown on illegals
    Lincoln, Neb. — Some Nebraska lawmakers said the state can no longer ignore the issue of illegal immigration and are considering a plan that would require all businesses to verify the immigration status of anyone they hire. — A report by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee said Nebraska is quickly becoming divided into two groups…

  • 10 Anna // Dec 13, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Re: “She’s content sitting at the bottom rung of the food chain ladder and watching her tax dollars lavish the lifestyles of all her incompetent compadres politicos.”

    More mind reading and BS…

    And for all your ranting and raving, none of my representatives in local or state government are Latino. They’re all white.

    If you think Latinos in government are so bad, then maybe YOU should vote for better candidates.

  • 11 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Hey Anna,

    How about Fabian Nunez? He’d be great rep huh?

  • 12 Johnny Dilznik // Dec 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    It is disgusting enough when Tony Villar(raigosa) drops his BS spanish at a press conferece at the local level. Now we are going to have this clown Richardson doing it at the federal level. That really shows your commitment to the United States of America. Do you get why people don’t like this? It is a game that you are playing that alienates people.

  • 13 DfD // Dec 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Speaking spanish at press conferences is divisive and inflammatory to Americans…and that includes us pochos!

  • 14 india blanca // Dec 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    …the Spanish Speaking networks or local stations have the same responsibilities to their audience as the English speaking press…if a politician/government official/celebrity or anyone holding a press conference speaks Spanish what is the divisiveness in him/her answering questions in Spanish once they have answered in English…I dont see why it should alienate anyone and much less why it should be considered inflammatory…I think these beliefs show us to be small minded and ignorant…in other parts of the world the English speaking press including the US press corps always insists on their interview subjects to speak English if they are able…simply for the benefit of the audience…there is a huge Spanish speaking audience in our country and I see no problem in having the option to receive their news in Spanish…

  • 15 webmaster // Dec 14, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I agree with India Blanca. Speaking Spanish is not inflammatory. Bill Richardson is most likely English dominant at work 90+ % of the time. This looks like it was an international press event. I have heard Bill Richardson switch between both languages, usually with more ease, so I don’t see the big issue. And I agree that Latinos in the US should learn to speak, write, and articulate themselves in English, but people should not fear or feel intimidation by someone speaking Spanish at an international press event.

  • 16 El Cholo // Dec 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you Seneca: for restoring my hopes that there are actually some intelligent Latinos in the blogSphere who truly understand the political process. I was beginning to think that Spanish language television, along with the whole gangster rap virus had succeeded in dumbifying La Raza to the point of no return. You have inspired me.

  • 17 DfD // Dec 15, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    An international press event? That’s pretty funny! Now just who in India wanted to hear him speak spanish? ha ha ha

  • 18 DfD // Dec 15, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    The spanish speaking television needs to have equal time for english speakers by providing translators, at their own cost, and not to the taxpayers…

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