“Two Faced”: Does a Constituency Even Exist for the Obama Campaign’s Latest Ad?

One of the requirements for American citizenship is naturally:

Language
Applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language.
Applicants exempt from this requirement are those who on the date of filing:
– have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 15 years or more and are over 55 years of age;
– have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 20 years or more and are over 50 years of age; or
– have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn English.

Such a requirement is reflected in the immigration laws of most if not all other countries. The recent Barack Obama ad referring to John McCain as two-faced is voiced entirely in Spanish. ABC’s Jake Tapper dissects the accuracy issues of the ad’s content, here. [The ad itself is apparently no longer available at the Obama website.] The target of all campaign ads sponsored by McCain, Obama and their supporters is presumed to be eligible voters. My question is simple if, perhaps, naive. In view of the reasonable and universal citizenship requirement to learn the language of the destination country, what is the necessity to create a campaign ad in some other language?

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leo
leo
12 years ago

John McCain has posted Ads in Spanish
Don Carcieri ran News Paper ads in spanish and Italian in 2002
Oh and Ronald Reagan also
Bush sr and jr
and on and on

Earl
Earl
12 years ago

Ronald Reagan’s Spanish Exclamation
re:Government ia the problem
“Ibasta Ya”
You can find Reagan’s spanish on Youtube
or google Reagan “Ibasta Ya”

Roger Elbow
Roger Elbow
12 years ago

Jeb Bush ran campaign ads in Spanish
Sarah Palin had campaign signs in Inuit
yes Inuit signs

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

What in hell do you care about a constituency for Obama? You have no say or input on how he spends his campaign money.
For what it’s worth, my grandparents emigrated from Italy and lived the last 60 years of their life in Philadelphia. They struggled with English all the time. My grandfather got most of his news from L’Osservatore Romano which was printed entirely in Italian at the time.
He certainly appreciated having access to printed material in Italian as, I’m sure thousands of Spanish speaking folk here appreciate hearing their native tongue.
Your “concern” is untouching.
OldTimeLefty

Monique
12 years ago

Thank you for pointing these out. My question extends to all of these ads.

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

Both Monique and OTL are correct.
The law states that a naturalization applicant should be able to understand English.
Yet as OTL points out, it is Obama’s money to spend.
I have no problem with candidates spending their own money to advertise in foreign languages. I do have a problem with spending taxpayer dollars to produce non-English ballots.
Individuals have the right to get their news in whatever language they desire and candidates can certainly spend their money as they see fit.
But when government spends money to print ballots in other languages when all voters are supposed to be able to understand English, it’s gone too far.

observer
observer
12 years ago

Posted by Roger Elbow at September 18, 2008 8:05 PM
My God! Does this mean George Elbow has a brother? Does Doughty know?

Monique
12 years ago

Very good point, Anthony. The promulgation of ballots and other election materials in any other language is completely indefensible.

Mach
Mach
12 years ago

Monique-
Ballots in multiple languages helps ensure things are done properly. Just because someone can speak the language does not mean they are comfortable with it or can grasp all of it in all contexts. I mean plenty of English speakers have trouble with complex things in their own language, nevermind for people who are newer to the language. Putting it in a language they are more comfortable with is a better guarantee that people know what to do and how to do it.
We’ve got people screwing ballots up all the time because they don’t read instructions, at least multi-language helps prevent some of these errors (hopefully) and give us some sense of relief that votes are cast and recorded properly.
Same concept behind the adds. Some people will better grasp the message in Spanish. Of course, the ads also have the “identifying with the viewer” aspect which ballots don’t.

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