Thursday, September 27, 2007

Profoundly embarrassed

As a lifelong Republican I am appalled and embarrassed at the insulting snub delivered by the four leading candidates for the GOP nomination in next years presidential elections. The top four all sent their regrets due to "scheduling conflicts" when invited to a debate at Morgan State University, an historically African American college in Maryland. Of course no one in or out of the party is buying it. It is certainly being seen as a slap in the face by black Americans, and rightly so. You are not going to get people to vote for you if you won't ask them to. The fact that blacks vote disproportionately for Democrats is not an excuse for insulting them. Our failure to engage them with honest discussion and explain where we stand and why, while inviting their input can only be seen as a contributing factor to this trend.

The simple and unpleasant truth is that the GOP can not continue to play the race card (which it has occasionally and shamefully done) and hope to win elections in an increasingly pluralistic America. Beyond the obvious immorality of such tactics it is a recipe for political suicide. Jack Kemp (former cabinet member and Republican VP nominee) succinctly summed it up when asked about the matter. He responded by wondering aloud if we are going to hold our meetings in some suburban country club in the future. Abraham Lincoln must be turning in his grave.

1 comment:

Wordsmyth said...

I think your observations are on the mark. This isn't exactly on point, but I was a wee bit disappointed when Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign in Dearborn, MI rather than Detroit. I have nothing but love and respect for our friends in Dearborn, but I thought it was a bit odd that he chose a suburb rather than the state's largest city. Then I remembered that Detroit proper probably has too many Democrats and (dare I say it?) too many black people for Mr. Romney's comfort.

If the GOP hopes to attract minority voters, they need to take some real steps toward that end. Mr. Romney was born in Detroit, lived in the city as a child, and his brother still practices law in Detroit. If his campaign would actually take the time to reach out to folks in Detroit, he just might win some votes. But he won't, for the very reasons that you mentioned in your post.