Juan Hernandez: McCain wishes he could have pushed my agenda (and, Ruben Navarrette is soft on divided loyalties)
Posted Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm
Ruben Navarrette writes about John McCain's Hispanic outreach director Juan Hernandez, a dual citizen (U.S.-Mexico) with clearly divided loyalties who's a former cabinet-level official with the Mexican government. In Navarrette's creative re-telling of McCain's loss (link), he could have won if McCain's advisors had only let him be himself. I.e., by supporting Hernandez' agenda.
"I remember a conference call with GOP leaders from Nevada, after McCain had become the nominee," Hernandez told me recently. "I heard them telling McCain on the conference call, 'Well, we still need some reassurance that you are conservative enough.' I mean, he's already the candidate, and they still want assurances? What are they going to do?"At this point it's worth recalling that McCain lost. If he had vigorously come out against "reform" - and had meant it, and had vigorously attacked the Democrats - he might have won due to the fact that the Democrats are extremely vulnerable on this issue. McCain, of course, is too corrupt and too poor of a campaigner to have attacked them over the issue, so that's a moot point.
Hernandez recalled that there were "hundreds of calls" during the primary campaign from local GOP officials asking that McCain come out and state that he was against immigration reform.
...At times, Hernandez said, McCain or some senior staff member would give an order to reach out to Hispanics, only to have it fall through the cracks and never happen. Not everyone, it seems, bought into the importance of Hispanic outreach. At one point, in the spring, Hernandez went to see McCain and tried to quit.Rather than taking an advantage to say good riddance to bad rubbish, McCain - of course - did the opposite:
"And to my surprise, he embraced me. And he wouldn't stop embracing me. He said, 'Juan, you have no idea how important it is to me for you to be on this campaign. They keep doing this to me in so many areas.'"It's pretty clear that McCain knew all about Hernandez and, when he was asked about him he just played dumb, with a touch of confusing racism with opposition to someone with clearly divided loyalties. Speaking of which, Navarrette just doesn't seem to understand why anyone would oppose a former cabinet-level official with a foreign government doing outreach of a U.S. presidential candidate:
...What did McCain mean, "They keep doing this to me"? I think it's obvious. He was talking about how some Republicans wanted to make him into something he wasn't. They should have let McCain be McCain. Which is what Juan Hernandez spent months trying to get them to do.
For what some see as his divided loyalties, he has taken his share of criticism. Personally, I think this is one of the things that drew McCain to him. As with Sen. Joe Lieberman or Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain finds kinship with those who have weathered the storm and still stick to their principles.In the case of Hernandez, those principles basically boil down to helping the Mexican government.