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Friday, July 15, 2005

They're Sorry For Their Racism

If you haven't heard yet, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman spoke to the NAACP yesterday. Here's an excerpt from his speech
Lyndon Johnson, a Democratic President, signed what in my opinion were the most important laws of the 20th century: the civil rights act, voting rights act, open housing law.

By the 70s and into the 80s and 90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out.

Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican Chairman to tell you we were wrong....

To all Americans who want equal opportunity in America, give us a chance, and we’ll give you a choice.
That's a nice sentiment. If he means a word of it.

So here are some things -- just off the top of my head -- that Republicans can do to show they really mean it, and aren't just looking to get something for nothing:
  1. Stop with all the pre-publicized, organized voter suppression. For example, not challenging "thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration". Or, having your party's officials send registered mail to new registrants, then, when that mail is returned, getting Republican party members to claim that they have "personal knowledge" that the registration is fraudulent, perjuring themselves in front of county election boards, and then instructing them to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights when they're caught. Believe me, I could go on.
  2. Stop with the ridiculous lists of "felons" that you match with voter rolls based on ridiculously broad criteria. Especially when you've hired an out-of-state firm (conveniently located in Texas) for a price that's orders of magnitude above others.
  3. Stop opposing laws meant to make voter registration easier, and stop minimizing the outrage.
  4. Support Federal legislation to require and provide funding so that there are as many voting machines per capita in cities as there are in suburbs and rural areas.
Believe me, I could go on, Mr. Mehlman.

Update: Not sure how I forgot this one. And the next time you talk about what a great President Ronald Reagan was, at least have the decency to acknowledge that he kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi -- with a paean to "states' rights"; maybe you can just say you regret that fact, rather than trying to excuse or lionize him for it. And I haven't even gotten to Lott, Thurmond, Helms, or the rest of those guys.


Blogger strategery4 said...

"Some Republicans" have used this tactic? How about Richard Nixon (Southern Strategy), George H.W. Bush (Willie Horton), and George W. Bush (McCain's "black baby" in the 2000 South Carolina primary).

OK, maybe you could argue that the use has declined somewhat over time -- but it's become less necessary over time simply because it's worked. The white Southern Democrats they were trying to draw in are now Republicans -- giving them their governing majority. So this "apology" amounts to saying "I know we used race-baiting to GAIN power, but now that we HAVE power and are trying to consolidate it, believe me when I tell just how guilty we feel about it now. I mean, sometimes the President can't even fall asleep at 9:00 because he's so sick about it."

And good call on the Reagan campaign kicking things off in the City of Brotherly Hate. That's the way I remember it, too, but some of the hagiography now has him launching his campaign at the Statue of Liberty (where I think he did have a subsequent event).

7/15/2005 12:23 PM  

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