While some Democrats claim that race baiting has been a staple of the national GOP since the “Southern Strategy of the Nixon era took hold, when it occurs it has been subtle. Increasingly, Florida Republicans have turned away from divisive issue that are can be characterized as race based, and have focused more on economics and other right wing think tank ideas, that ostensibly are developed to “empower” minorities. The GOP’s recent efforts to win over ethnic minorities have quite honestly, led to a large degree of blatant pandering by the party. But this week, the Republican Party of Florida has reversed itself and taken ethnic politics to a new level, something surprising from a state party that has generally been inclusive to minorities at least rhetorically.
Perhaps Florida’s biggest state legislative race is the contest in SD-8 between Democrat Frank Bruno and Republican Dorothy Hukill, and the RPOF is pulling out all the stops to win.
Bruno is originally from New Jersey and an Italian-American. The RPOF, knowing this and seeking to reinforce the caricature of northern ethnic politicos have run an incredibly cynical, offensive, anti-catholic and racist radio ad.
Below is an excerpt from the Orlando Sentinel.
“The state Democratic party — and state Senate candidate Frank Bruno of Volusia County — are crying foul over a radio ad paid for by the Republican Party of Florida.The ad, features two men named “Vinnie” and “Joey” talking in stereotypical Italian accents, going through a litany of taxes that have gone up during Bruno’s tenure as County Chairman and referring to him as a “political boss.”
“Don’t you get it? Frankie Bruno thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” says one of the characters. There’s no mention of Bruno’s opponent, Rep. Dorothy Hukill.”
Even as Republicans attempt to win over ethnic minorities, and gain more support from Catholics than ever before, elements of the GOP cross the line in campaigns. Whomever conceived and approved this ad at the RPOF should be terminated immediately. Florida Republicans rightly made an issue of the Florida Justice Associations racist ad against John Thrasher in a 2009 Special Election. This time they should follow their own example, retract the ad, issue a full apology to Chairman Bruno and fire those involved.