One headline calls them "Girls Gone Wild". Really? Whitman and Fiorina? Picture that. But that's what all the buzz is about , when the two top Republican female candidates for California governor and U.S. Senate downed shots of tequila at the Hispanic 100 lifetime Achievement Award Gala as the crowd cheered them on. . MSNBC reported that Carly Fiorina spoke first at the Newport Beach event, saying, "Mucho gracias. This evening has spoiled me forever ,from now on, I want to follow Paul Rodriguez (the emcee), and I think every speech should begin with a shot of Tequila." Then she let out a yell, "It was great!"
So why is this getting so much attention? Well for one, it makes for a salacious headline. But here's something to think about too. Would anyone have given it a second thought if these were men downing shots, remarks Ronnee Schreiber, a San Diego State University professor who's written about Republican female candidates. And it also depends on the situation, she says, would it have been rude to have turned the drink down? Candidates for decades, Schreiber adds, "have gone to various community based activities, eaten all sorts of food specific to the community, so it wouldn't be unusual to for example down a shot of tequila."
But beyond that there's also the "relatability" factor. "Both Fiorina and Whitman, throughout their campaigns, have struggled to square their brands of California-style moderate conservatism with the hard-line anti-immigrant rhetoric emanating from the national Republican party," according to Gawker.com.
Fiorina and Whitman "definitely need to woo the Latino vote, that tends to vote democratic," says Schreiber. "And they need to get to the 'decline to state' and independent voters--the swing vote."
But it appears both candidates have made no progress with Latino voters, as far as Pedro Rios of San Diego can tell. Rios is an immigration rights advocate with American Friends Service Committee, a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. "There's the issue of Whitman and the undocumented worker and the commercial in Spanish from Fiorina who takes a hard line on immigration, " adds Rios.
And as for the tequila shots? "It almost becomes a caricature of how they have been responding to the Latino community", says Rios. To the extent that the headlines are spinning the "tequila shots" Rios says they (Whitman and Fiorina) "are not taking the Latino community seriously. They are not in touch with Latinos. (If they expect) to relate by taking tequila shots then it's a perversion of how they relate to the Latino community. And there is no serious attempt at understanding the Latino community. "