With the elections now over, I am stunned with the postmortem coming from the Republican Party and the lack of substantive analysis from its operatives.
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On the one hand, Mr. Jackson’s point rings just a bit off-key, as many Liberal/Democratic bastions are equally homogeneous: several notable past Democratic primary campaigns, venerated Liberal news media voices in the press, news magazines, and TV news — all of whom are eager to point out the mote in a Republican organization’s eye while receiving no criticism for the log in their own. Moreover, it is not as if the RNC received any better recognition when it was LED by an African American. There are times, in fact, when I am not so sure that some Republicans are put off from making any effort because they are tired of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t. When the GOP Convention doesn’t mention racism, they are damned for not talking about the problem. When the GOP’s presidential candidate famously showed any people with racist inclinations the door at the 1996 convention, they were damned for feeling they had to make such a statement. When the convention shows too few minority faces, they are damned for having no minorities represented. When it showcases many, they are damned for trotting out “tokens” (even though these “token” are often serious movers and shakers in the party, such as ex-Secretary Rice or the rising start Rubio). The urge to think, “what’s the point?” is strong.
On the other hand, I think there is a reasonable point that Republicans quite simply suck at politics. In particular, they don’t seem to understand the importance of form over substance in politics. For example, it is true that African Americans and Hispanics are quite socially conservative, and are even marginally fiscally conservative when you survey them without bias (e.g., if you ask, “should government live within it’s means?” the answer is “Yes”; if you ask instead, “should programs for the poor be cut to pay for tax cuts for the rich?” — a laughable position — they of course say “No”). So, many Republicans take a decidedly non-political view of this and think that nothing should be required to get people who fundamentally belong in your party to actually vote for and join your party. A perfect example of this stupidity was the 2008 GOP Convention, when VP candidate Palin referred to strong women who came before her and paved the way — then chose Democrats Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton as examples. HUH? Why not the first female elected US Senator, US Congresswoman, Congressional Committee Chair, US House Leadership officer, US Senate Leadership officer, State Senator, Speaker of a State Legislature, Majority Leader of a State Legislature, Mayor, Justice of the Peace, State Judge, Federal Judge, Supreme Court Justice, Federal Bureau head, UN General Assembly delgate, US Ambassador, US Marshall, Surgeon General, Presidential Cabinet-level official, US Trade Representative, National Security Adviser, Lt. Governor, National Convention speaker, National Convention Keynote speaker, National Convention candidate receiving votes for president — ALL of whom were Republicans. Could she see none of them through the glare of media hagiography of recent Democratic icons? She might also have mentioned that it was a Republican who authored the first bill to give women the right to vote, and Republicans who repeatedly pushed it in successive Congresses until it finally won passage and who forced it upon a reluctant Democratic President Wilson (who finally supported the resulting Constitutional Amendment only after Republican women suffragettes embarrassed him via hunger strikes in jail and attacks on his hypocritical criticism of Bolshevik revolutionaries in Russia over lack of liberty). That is, IF only Republicans didn’t suck at politics.
In the end, Republicans need to recognize they need to do more than just press for universal civil rights for ALL — regardless of race, sex, ethnicity — and for maximum liberty for ALL people. They need to do more than represent the ultimate hopes and desires for ALL Americans. They need to put on the SHOW as well. And the next time some Democratic ninny snidely asks “How come there aren’t more Black Republicans?”, they need to straighten their backs and speak with force and clarity: “Their would be a whole lot more of them if Democrats didn’t spend so many years economically blackmailing them, physically threatening them, beating them, shooting them, castrating them, lynching them, and dynamiting their homes in organized efforts to stop them from voting Republican.” That’s the kind of voter suppression — along with their poll taxes and literacy tests — against which today’s Democrats seek to compare the simple act of asking for a photo ID. No matter what you think of the Republican Party’s failed “outreach” programs, they are certainly better than these Democratic activities, which did not seem to have precluded them from capturing the African American vote not so many years later. What did they know that Republicans do not? Effectively, all they really did was finally — at long last after more than a century — get the hell OUT OF THE WAY of Republican civil rights efforts they had previously blocked or severely watered-down from their vantage of Congressional majority power. LBJ ushered in Civil Rights in similar fashion to the way Mikael Gorbachev did in the former USSR — by ceasing to stand in the way. That was enough ACTION to win the African American vote only because this weak “substance” was combined with great “form” and fanfare.
Here’s a curious final note: the bicentenial of Republican Abraham Lincoln’s birth occurred in 2009, during the presidency of America’s first black president. Did anyone notice? That president — a Democrat — did allow a set of commemorative Lincoln 1-cent coins to be minted. Otherwise, it was a non-event. Why? Because the true story of America’s FIRST Civil Rights Movement would necessarily require a great deal of focus on the GOP as the force for universal civil rights from it’s inception and the Democratic Party as the embodiment of the problem — in ways almost inconceivably evil — rather than the solution. This story was best left unremarked upon. Then along came 2012, and the occasion of that president’s re-election campaign, and a big Hollywood Liberal Democrat, Steven Spielberg had himself a movie blockbuster about Lincoln in the can — but just couldn’t QUITE get it out in the theaters before the election, missing by just 10 days — darn the luck! And on the occasion of its New York premiere, Spielberg decided he had to WARN the audience that they might find it “confusing” that the Republicans were the good guys in his film, but soothed them by explaining that the two parties switched places in the interim! Ah, but of course! And they are allowed to get away with this crap by a compliant “news” media engaged in a giant circular back-patting exercise with their fellow Democrats.
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