November 07, 2010

Whether this outreach is an uplifting exercise in inclusiveness or a desperate strategy, it has proved patently counterproductive. Since the 1960s the GOP has overwhelmingly supported every civil rights bill that has been introduced in Congress. Richard Nixon gave this country affirmative action and set-asides for blacks, and in 1991 President George H. W. Bush and his Republican friends in Congress supported a civil rights bill which re-institutionalized racial quotas in hiring and education. In 2003 Bush, Jr., who prominently displayed blacks in his cabinet, went to Africa and apologized on behalf of white America for slavery’s sins. Bush’s penance was performed before a West African ruler from whom no contrition was expected for African tribes”€™ role in capturing and selling black slaves.

Republicans have not only “€œintroduced”€ themselves to blacks. They have sought their favor for decades and even rendered themselves obnoxious in the process. The result is a continuing loss of black votes to the Democrats and a Republican share that has gone from about 32% in 1960 to about 10% now. Has it ever dawned on the GOP establishment or their neocon gatekeepers that blacks just don”€™t want to vote Republican? However painfully the GOP and the RNC’s black chairman bow and scrape, black voters and their leaders think they can use the Dems more effectively.

Democrats can outbid the Republicans in redistributing money to black constituents and to black elites who live off tax money and government jobs. Have the Republicans ever bestowed on blacks anything equivalent to the Department of Education, which President Carter gave as a gift not only to the NEA but also to hundreds of black bureaucrats and black secretaries? And what has been the GOP equivalent of Obamacare, which redistributed money from middle- and upper-class whites and Asians to the black underclass? Yes, Medicaid already existed for the indigent, but now there will also be medical insurance for those who are not going to pay for it. Republican groveling and WASP symbolism cannot replace those gifts that only the Dems are prepared to offer black voters.

Since Thomas is so eager for his party to “€œintroduce”€ itself, perhaps he should tell it to be nice to Arab Americans. This group used to vote overwhelmingly for the GOP, but now they complain that Republican politicians and neocon journalists have not been evenhanded in Middle Eastern politics. What would Thomas think about this form of outreach? One needn”€™t ask! More than once he has urged the Israeli government to expel its Palestinian population.

I am not taking sides against the Israelis, who have a tough row to hoe. I am only noting the repulsive double standard our official conservative journalists display when deciding the groups to whom Republicans should “€œreach out.”€

P.S.: On Tuesday I voted for, among other candidates, a liberal Democratic pro-gay congressional candidate against a pro-war Republican who expressed interest in providing reparations for blacks. The Democrat, who lost overwhelmingly, is a longtime family friend who does not watch FOX.


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