Thursday, September 20, 2007

Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders

Let me start off my saying it took me a while to realize why Republicans suck when it comes to outreach towards black Americans. They're generally clueless in more ways than one. I think it's all about marketing.

Republicans base it all on history. History is great and all but what about today?Why should a black person vote Republican today?

Is it tax cuts? Is it health care? What about education? How about urban development? Building an atmosphere of economic growth.

And OK one of the Republican ventures into the realm of affirmitive action hasn't exactly been met with success. Then running black candidate for office hasn't been met with success. I can be unfair and point to Alan Keyes as a primary example.

Far be it for me to say I know all the answers to why Republican doesn't go far amongs black voters. The answer seems simple to me and it goes beyond what I think Republicans have been doing for years.

This forum at an HBCU probably could have worked to bridge that gap except that GOP candidates don't seem to want to go and other Republicans are upset about it...
Key Republican leaders are encouraging the party's presidential candidates to rethink their decision to skip presidential debates focusing on issues important to minorities, fearing a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters.

The leading contenders for the Republican nomination have indicated they will not attend the "All American Presidential Forum" organized by black talk show host Tavis Smiley, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore and airing on PBS. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) all cited scheduling conflicts in forgoing the debate. The top Democratic contenders attended a similar event in June at Howard University.

"We sound like we don't want immigration; we sound like we don't want black people to vote for us," said former congressman Jack Kemp (N.Y.), who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "What are we going to do -- meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we're going to be competitive with people of color, we've got to ask them for their vote."

Making matters worse, some Republicans believe, is that the decision to bypass the Morgan State forum comes after all top GOP candidates save McCain declined invitations this month to a debate on Univision, the most-watched Hispanic television network in the United States. The event was eventually postponed.

"For Republicans to consistently refuse to engage in front of an African American or Latino audience is an enormous error," said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), who has not yet ruled out a White House run himself. "I hope they will reverse their decision and change their schedules. I see no excuse -- this thing has been planned for months, these candidates have known about it for months. It's just fundamentally wrong. Any of them who give you that scheduling-conflict answer are disingenuous. That's baloney."

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman urged candidates to "reconsider this opportunity to lay out their vision and other opportunities in the future."

"Every one of these candidates I've talked to is sincerely committed to offering real choices to African American and Hispanic voters, and in my opinion have records that will appeal to many of these voters," he added.
I found this post from The Swamp with regards to President Bush's thoughts about this and other issues that are seemingly important to blacks as we head up for campaigh 2008...
Forget Hurricane Katrina. Forget Jena, Louisiana. Forget that the four top Republican candidates for president are snubbing a debate on minority issues next week at historically black Morgan State University in Baltimore.

President Bush said today that his Republican Party has a "good record" on issues of importance to minority voters, and that his party's candidates should campaign for votes from blacks, Hispanics and other groups.

"My advice to whoever will be our nominee is to reach out to the African-American community, as well as other communities," Bush said during a White House news conference today. "Because I believe that we've got a very strong record when it comes to empowerment, when it comes to education or homeownership or small- business formation."

Bush was asked by Suzanne Malveaux of CNN to comment on whether race relations in the U.S. are deteriorating, in light of events such as the noose found hanging from a tree near a building housing African-American programs at University of Maryland College Park, and the decisions of Rudolph W. Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson to skip the Morgan State debate next week

Bush stopped well short of saying that the top contenders should alter their current campaign plans during primary season and reach out to black voters, who are overwhelmingly registered Democrats. He seemed to steer his response to whomever becomes the nominee next year.

"We've got a good record to run on," the president said. "And my advice to our candidate would be to run on it."

I got another good one for you. Bush's response to the Jena 6 story...
"I understand the emotions," the president said. "The Justice Department and the FBI are monitoring the situation down there. And all of us in America want there to be, you know, fairness when it comes to justice."
I like you Mr. President, but this needs work.

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