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Citizens' Educational Foundation-US
The Shape Of Things To Come
By: Herbert W. Brown III*
29 January 2004
Two items in your latest edition of the Puerto Rico-Herald will no doubt catch the eye of those who are following events in Washington in this year of presidential elections. John Marino, in his article "The Deflating Dean Effect", and your weekly "Washington Report" covered two separate items which are very much interrelated. First, John Marino notes the quandary of Popular Democratic Party Democrats who jumped the gun and joined the Dean Campaign Band Wagon, only to see him finish a disappointing third in the Iowa Caucus and make a weak showing by placing a distant second in the New Hampshire primary. What Marino failed to explain is just why the PDP Democrats jumped the gun. Your "Washington Report" provides the answer. The PDP Democrats, fearful that Dean, who has made statements supporting statehood for Puerto Rico in the past, might repeat them during the course of the campaign, sought to take advantage of the fact that Dennis Rivera, the President of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union and avowed "independentista" who seethes at the thought of statehood for Puerto Rico, was set to drop $1 million dollars into the Dean campaign. Riding on the coat tails of Riveras $1 million commitment, PDPers saw the opportunity to stop the Dean campaign from taking a position supporting statehood (or for that matter any proposal like that recently made by General Wesley Clark that did not include the current Commonwealth territorial status as an option) and quickly joined the SEIU in its endorsement of Dean. If you look at photos of the SEIU endorsement event you will see former Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon and other PDP luminaries present to say "me too".
The strategy worked and Dean has remained silent on Puerto Ricos status, so as not to put an end to his "meal ticket". So much for the candidate who said he would stand up to special interests. In the likely event that Kerry remains the front runner and is eventually the Democratic candidate for president, we will no doubt see those same PDPers jockey to join the Kerry campaign. How so, if Kerry created such anger as a result of his opposition to the PDPs 956 economic development plan? Well, just look at whos running the Kerry campaign. None other than Senator Ted Kennedy, a long-time PDP friend and supporter, who has gone so far as to lend the Kerry campaign his chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill, who is currently serving as Kerrys campaign manager. I can assure you that things will get more interesting as the campaign develops.
* Herbert W. Brown, III is a Puerto Rican attorney and President of the Citizens' Educational Foundation-US, a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Puerto Rico's Self-Determination.