May 5, 2010

A Right Good Trend

Hatched by Dafydd

The New York Times seems a bit confusticated to report that a record number of black Republicans are running for House seats this year:

The House has not had a black Republican since 2003, when J. C. Watts of Oklahoma left after eight years.

But now black Republicans are running across the country — from a largely white swath of beach communities in Florida to the suburbs of Phoenix, where an African-American candidate has raised more money than all but two of his nine (white) Republican competitors in the primary.

Party officials and the candidates themselves acknowledge that they still have uphill fights in both the primaries and the general elections, but they say that black Republicans are running with a confidence they have never had before. They credit the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.

How can such a thing be, when the GOP is well known as the historic home of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Klan? Squirming a bit, the Times manages to find some voices to pooh-pooh the surge -- Democratic voices, naturally:

But Democrats and other political experts [Democrats are natural political experts, you understand -- DaH] express skepticism about black Republicans’ chances in November. “In 1994 and 2000, there were 24 black G.O.P. nominees,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic political strategist who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign and who is black. “And you didn’t see many of them win their elections.”

Tavis Smiley, a prominent black talk show host who has repeatedly criticized Republicans for not doing more to court black voters, said, “It’s worth remembering that the last time it was declared the ‘Year of the Black Republican,’ it fizzled out.”

Realizing that it's probably not exactly compelling to quote Brazile and Smiley on the irrelevancy of the many black Republican candidates, the Times slides seamlessly into more familiar ground:

Many of the candidates are trying to align themselves with the Tea Partiers, insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown. Videos taken at some Tea Party rallies show some participants holding up signs with racially inflammatory language.

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 25 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters think that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, compared with 11 percent of the general public.

One wonders whether Tea Partiers might actually be more knowledgeable about some of Barack H. Obama's appointments, such as Eric Holder as Attorney General -- his decisions, such as the decision to drop the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party after already winning it, and the president's knee-jerk defense of Professor Henry Louis Gates when the activist was arrested last July -- and his past and current associations, from the Irreverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former mentor, to his current political advisor, the Even More Irreverend Al Sharpton. Such greater awareness of just how racialist the current administration truly is might plausibly explain why Tea Partiers are more inclined to believe that the Obama administration is biased towards blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities and against whites. But let's MoveOn...

The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,” said Mr. West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. “There is no violence or racism there.”

Flummoxed by the refusal of black Republicans to attack the Republican Party as racist, the Times makes one last valiant stand for the natural order of things:

Still, black Republicans face a double hurdle: black Democrats who are disinclined to back them in a general election, and incongruity with white Republicans, who sometimes do not welcome the blacks whom party officials claim to covet as new members.

Black conservatives and Republicans running for office: It's just a cynical ploy to get elected!

I love this trend; I suspect there are also large numbers of Hispanics, Orientals, and Occidentals running as Republicans this year, compared to 2008 and 2006, when GOP chances looked much dimmer. When prospects are happier, more people of all races throw their heads into the ring. Surprise, surprise.

But in particular, the more minority GOP candidates run, the harder it is for the Left to pull their favorite slander-lever, the risible racism regurgitation. Too, whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower there are still many voters who tend to vote along racial lines -- and they are mostly minorities: I believe that Blacks and Hispanics are far likelier to ignore ideological differences and vote for co-ethnics than are whites. As long as the Republican Party is wrongly perceived as being "the party for white people only," we will continue to lose many marginal races that, politically and economically, we really ought to win.

In many ways, Hispanics are natural conservatives: They have very strong family structures and often large families; Hispanic culture supports hard work; they tend to be cultural conservatives, opposing easy abortion, drop-of-a-hat divorce, and same-sex marriage; and a great many Hispanics are small businessmen and other entrepeneurs.

The same is true, to a somewhat lesser degree, with blacks, who have been culturally crippled by decades of "leadership" by the likes of Jesse Jackson and the aforementioned Sharpton, who preach helplessness, dependency, and socially destructive behaviors (Larry Elder is positively Lincolnesque on this subject). For another example, blacks strongly support education vouchers that allow low-income students to attend private secular and religious schools, instead of the hellholes they're shunted into by geography.

There's no legitimate reason why Hispanics and blacks should overwhelmingly vote Democratic; yet the GOP has trouble cracking 35% of the former and even 10% of the latter, election after election. Sadly, I believe a significant portion of this gap is due to their tendency to vote for the co-ethnic candidate... and due to Republicans who shun "racial" recruiting, for ideological reasons.

Republicans believe such recruiting flies in the face of the nondiscrimination that has been at the core of the party since its inception in 1854, founded to oppose the expansion of black slavery; but I've never bought into that argument. Taking race into account when encouraging candidates to run is no more odious than taking into account a potential candidate's good looks, height, physique, or even self-selected characteristics like being a military veteran or having run a successful business.

Any candidate for office is first and foremost a person; and if you want to win elections, you must recruit the most likeable and electable person available, so long as he supports the party on key ideological issues. People are people, and they will react to appearances; it's foolish to ignore that simple fact, regardless of how "unfair" it may seem to short, dumpy, wannabe candidates -- or lily-white candidates in black or Hispanic districts.

I very much hope that many of these candidates prevail in their primaries, and then of course in the general election as well. We need to shed the silly and a-historic reputation of Republican racism. Besides, I'm fascinated to see how the Congressional Black Caucus rationalizes refusing membership to a dozen or more new black House Republicans; that should be both amusing and educational.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 5, 2010, at the time of 12:02 PM

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