Monday, August 29, 2005

Lincoln Rising

“The party of Lincoln will not be whole until more African-Americans come back home,” declares Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman as he pursues an aggressive strategy of recruiting strong black candidates and opening greater opportunities for the one American minority that Democrats, as they did a century and a half ago, want to keep down on the plantation.
“More than a dozen black politicians are running on the Republican ticket in 2006 for Senate and House seats, governorships and other statewide races,” reports the Washington Times’ Brian DeBose. In Ohio, for example, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor, and running a strong campaign implicitly (and at times explicitly) in opposition to the badly tainted administration of incumbent Robert Taft, recently convicted of four misdemeanor campaign finance violations (and consistently given an “F” in fiscal responsibility report cards by the Cato Institute). Blackwell probably represents the GOP’s most significant hope of retaining the Ohio governorship as (thankfully) term-limited Taft steps down.
But there are many others. “More than a dozen black politicians are running on the Republican ticket in 2006 for Senate and House seats, governorships and other statewide races.
“It could turn out to be the most diverse Republican slate since the mid-1990s, said J.C. Watts Jr., chairman of GOPAC, a Republican political action committee. Mr. Watts won a House seat in Oklahoma in 1994, becoming the first black Republican to reach Congress since Sen. Edward W. Brooke III, Massachusetts Republican, who served from 1967 to 1979.
“‘I’ve often said that most black people don’t think alike, most black people just vote alike, and if Republicans understood black people better, you would have 70 to 75 percent of black people voting Republican,’ Mr. Watts said.”
If Republicans succeed in their efforts, it will be the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow. And more, as retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Frances P. Rice, chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association declares, it will ultimately benefit blacks most of all. “‘Blacks after 40 years of Democrat control are complaining about the same things: poorly performing schools, dilapidated public housing,’ Col. Rice said. ‘Socialism has not worked anywhere it has been tried. Why should we do it here?’”
Yet it is precisely Democrats’ insistence that blacks rely upon an antiquated socialist agenda, she affirms, that is “destroying the community.”
All too frequently, though, the response of threatened Democrats to infringements upon their “monopoly rights” is to invoke the most racist of stereotypes. As Republican Richard Holt, running for the now vacant seat of Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland of Ohio, explains, “‘It is difficult because of people like Harry Belafonte and Dick Gregory calling us ‘whitey’ and tyrants when all we want to do is make sure that our families are strong, that we own our own businesses and that our children get a good education.’”
This cynical strategy has almost run its course.

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