Republican SOTU Responses Get Lost in Translation

Steve Benen, MSNBC, January 21, 2015

For the third consecutive year, the Republican Party’s official response to the State of the Union was actually split in two: one in English and one in Spanish.

In theory, this was supposed to be simple. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) would deliver a carefully crafted GOP response to President Obama’s speech, while Rep Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) would deliver the identical speech in Spanish. What could possibly go wrong?


The potential pitfall was the disagreement between Ernst and Curbelo about immigration reform. The right-wing Iowan is a fierce opponent of immigration reform–under the circumstances, it was ironic her speech was being delivered in two languages since she’s an English-only supporter–while the Florida Republican has actually criticized his party for blocking bipartisan solutions.

The disagreement created uncertainty: how would Republicans deal with one of the nation’s most pressing issues when their two official speakers are on opposite sides? As it turned out, they’d deal with it in the most cynical way possible. Politico was one of many outlets to notice:

Republicans sent mixed signals on immigration in their two official rebuttals to President Obama Tuesday night: Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s rebuttal made no mention of the topic, but the Spanish-language version of the rebuttal, delivered by Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said Republicans wanted to work with Obama to fix the immigration system.

“We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, to secure our borders, modernize legal immigration, and strengthen our economy,” said Curbelo in Spanish. “In the past, the president has expressed support for ideas like these. Now we ask him to cooperate with us to get it done.”

If Republican officials had said the two lawmakers intended to give different speeches, this might be less of an issue, but they actually said the opposite.

Indeed, House Republicans specifically told reporters, in writing, that Curbelo would deliver “the Spanish-Language translated address of Sen. Joni Ernst response.” He’d have to change personal details such as his own name, but otherwise, it was supposed to be the same speech.


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  • Dave4088

    I think we all know the fix is in especially if Latinos received a different message promising amnesty and in their native language to boot! That might win some brownie points with the browns, pun intended. There’s always a Republican version to whatever anti-white poison is being vended by communist party USA.

    The GOP keeps flipping the bird to their white base at every turn. The sad part is that whitey keeps coming back for more and deluding themselves into thinking this time the GOP will deliver. Non-liberal whites have absolutely no political representation which could lead to some interesting times in the near future.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Where is there to go otherwise?

      • Dave4088

        Nowhere for now, but what’s the point in voting Republicans when they just emulate the Democrats every time they assume power in Congress? Rand Perm has sounded just like Eric Holder recently in critiquing our criminal justice system.

        • Yancy Derringer

          What’s the point in voting? Supreme Court appointments, if nothing else. We’re stuck with Sotomayor.

          Let me repeat that. We’re stuck with Sotomayor.

      • The American Freedom Party is one such place, although admittedly they don’t quite have the numbers nor the influence needed . . . yet. But they are pro-white. I left the GOP after the 2012 presidential election, and I’ve vowed to never vote again for a RINO as the ‘lesser of two evils.’

        The GOP has abandoned its more conservative principles and they are not pro-white – and that at this point in American history is the most important matter of all!

        • propagandaoftruth

          I think it has to be an a-political group that votes en masse, for whatever party. A sort of Magna Europan Falange or something.

        • Vito Powers

          When Ronald Reagan was asked why he left the Democratic Party, he said “I didn’t leave them. They left me”.

          That’s how I feel about the GOP. There really isn’t any there there. It’s like all they do is cliches and platitudes about “economic freedom”, blah blah. To top it off, Republicans like that phony Paul Ryan are obsessed with “reforming entitlements” aka Social Security and Medicare, programs that benefit seniors and aging baby boomers.

          But the same Paul Ryan wants to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit. Both Democrats and Republicans want to redistribute wealth from the white taxpayer base to the dysfunctional minorities.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Excellent, Dave, and thank you. This is true especially of the establishment Republicans. Now for the Tea Party types… they need watching, too, but can still be convinced to vote in our favor.

  • MekongDelta69

    You couldn’t have dragged me kicking and screaming, all while being waterboarded again, to watch that SOTU last night.

    • Jaggers

      The SOTU was intolerable, as is every Obama speech. The Republican response was uninspiring, as usual. So everything is business as usual I guess.

    • libertarian1234


      We stopped watching the SOTU address when old George was stuttering through it his first year.

  • dd121

    I don’t care what they said. To me repubs are irrelevant to my interests.

    • Veritas

      They shouldn’t be. The only other option is a Marxist party which wants to eradicate Whites. With proper political pressure, the Republicans are salvageable. The Democrats are not.

  • SentryattheGate

    Hispanic politicians don’t care about illegal status or the Constitution, they just care about “their own” people. That illegals will help our economy is bull. We already have a problem with politicians violating their oath to the Constitution, but Hispanics will be even worse, which is why they are welcomed here by the Insiders.

    • libertarian1234

      “Hispanic politicians don’t care about illegal status or the Constitution, they just care about “their own” people. ”
      That’s exactly right. The same is especially true of blacks whose only concerns are issues that affect blacks and to hell with the country as a whole.
      But that’s also true of every non-white and his politicians in this multicultural mish mash of competing tribes.
      Each group is fighting for domination and control for their own tribe. The only people in this country who are concerned about the overall present and future welfare of the entire country are white people.
      European immigrants after the country was settled came here for a better life and more freedoms, unlike the throngs of non-whites who have flooded the country for strictly economic reasons and tend to vote for anyone who pledges to give them more freebies.
      And after leaving their failed countries behind, to a man, one of the first things they do after getting comfortable is to tout how great their old country was and how superior their people were, especially their past achievements.
      And it never once occurs to any of them the fact that they are here speaks volumes about their old countries and their many failures.
      And almost every one of them are supremacists and advocates for their incompetent people and their failed countries.
      Multiculturalism is a recipe for failure. Tribalism under one roof leads to conflict eventually usually after years of contentious fighting and petty spats. It has proven so throughout history and the present situation throughout the West right now clearly shows that our societies are coming apart at the seams.
      And it’s going to get a lot worse.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Yeah, I was just over at the site of the Juarez City, Mexico newspaper that has discussions like this one and found their reporters parroting the same line about how much Mexican immigrants have done wonders for the economy in El Paso, Texas. Well, thanks to the virtual militarization of El Paso to keep the drug gangs out and the American tradition of free enterprise, uh, yeah. but you are left with the impression that if the Mexican immigrants, being Mexican immigrants, left El Paso, the entire economy of the city would collapse.

    • Spaniard in LA

      I know several individuals who happen to be 3rd and 7th generation Mexican American and they could careless about illegals.

  • JohnEngelman

    Immigration is not a problem that can be solved by negotiations leading to a mutually agreeable compromise.

    Immigration is a conflict that will have winners and losers. There is going to be more immigration, or less immigration.

    Even whites like me who enjoy cultural diversity are harmed economically.

  • IstvanIN

    Republicans = Collaborators.
    When do we get to shave their heads?

  • Permanent solution, or “Final Solution”? Manifest Destiny or “Lebensraum”?

    Not my problem because the “care” button here has been pushed so often that the circuitry beneath it has shorted out.

  • Vito Powers

    How can you be all things to all people with only one message? And what is this nonsense of a SOTU response being done in Spanish? The new Republican strategy seems to be to tell the rubes whatever they want to hear. Hone the message to a particular constituency, even if it’s contradictory to other messages.

  • rechill

    No, conservatives what a permanent solution. The GOP won’t make it happen.