Wednesday, May 10, 2006

'The Year of the Black Republican?'

tee bee

I was skeptical when I saw the Washington Post headline, "The Year of the Black Republican?"

Black Repubs are nothing new, but the press has usually framed the left/right discourse in terms that Dems view them, generally as anomolous. So I was prepared for another race identity = liberal piece.

But after the usual recital of black/Dem allegiance debts, Dan Balz and Matthew Mosk focus on the political race of the three subjects: Lynn Swann (Governor, Penn.), Michael Steele (Senate, Md.), and Kenneth Blackwell (Governor, Ohio).

The three are running on similar platforms of lower taxes, smaller government, and opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, but they come to their contests with different credentials. Blackwell has a long résumé in elective office and conservative causes. Steele is a former state party chairman but has never been elected on his own. Swann is a true political novice, albeit one with the star quality of a Hall of Fame wide receiver.

All three begin as underdogs. Independent polls have shown Steele starting the campaign as much as 15 points behind the Democratic front-runner. Blackwell trailed by 10 percentage points in a pre-primary Mason-Dixon poll for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Swann trails Rendell in the polls and has lost ground since entering the race earlier this year.

Steele faces a blue state with just under one-third black votership; Swann is a celebrity and a rookie; and Blackwell faces the usual uphill road of a black conservative with a record (the charge: deciding while conservative=corruption).

The Repubs acknowledge strategy at work - ""We've gone from a model of outreach to a model of inclusion," [RNC Chair Ken] Mehlman said. "Outreach is a top-down approach. Inclusion says, 'Let's find some really good people and encourage them to run for office.' "

More to the point, both parties are looking at the long haul of voting patterns and black conservatives "proving" themselves to the left.

Voting patterns may change, and black voters may embrace conservatism and what it offers, but the Dem stance is unlikely to drop its cynicism regardless of the performance of the likes of Steele, Swann and Blackwell.

The Dems' real concern is the money required for these and other key races. Given the appeal of Steele in particular and the other two candidates in general as well as the profile of the offices in question, the demands will be steep.



At 2:06 PM, Blogger camojack said...

They're becoming less of a rarity all the time...

At 4:37 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

I have a great many black colleagues and clients who are, if not hard-right conservative, hold the kinds of traditional American values and ethics that are daily trampled by those politicians who pander to the looney-left. These are folks who have worked hard (and against stiff odds, in many cases) to enhance their own, and their family's, stake in the American Dream. In other words, they are completely integrated into the same society that once excluded them. As smart people, they look at these pasty white pols telling them what's good for black folks is good for them and just laugh. They know what's good for themselves is good for everyone. I simply cannot believe that the Democrats cannot abide a successful black middle and upper-middle class.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Why are Republicans "black" but Democrats African-American? Racism in the Republican Party, that's why!

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Brad Todd said...


What makes African-American any less racist than black? I don't remember the libs referring to whites as Anglo-Americans, what's up with that?

I remember the 1960's another word for racist was democrat...

You took a cheap shot, “politically correct” is dishonest and on it’s way out. Get real...

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Why are Republicans "black" but Democrats African-American

Silly man. Because everyone knows conservative blacks aren't "really" black, whatever that means.

I will never understand some people.

spd, my experience in the military has been just about the same. Many successful blacks, while aware there is still such a thing as discrimination, believe in themselves and reject the cult of victimology as a means to success.

And that *is* American. We don't all have an equal chance in life. Not all are equally handsome, talented, privileged, smart, or any of a number of factors that smooth one's path in life. But the great thing about this country is that we can all still get ahead if we are willing to try, and we do better when we depend on our own hard work than on government handouts.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger KJ said...


I don't think you know me very well. That's ok. But my comment was not to be taken at face value.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Joey said...

I think folks like Brad just need a thumb to suck every once in a while. Or just lighten up. That works too.

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man... change the font colour. How can you expect anyone to read this blog?

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brad Todd--

In the 1960's "Southern Democrat," or "Dixiecrat" may have been other words for racist, but guess who those Democrats later became. That's right...they defected to the Republican Party. I think it was the 1964 Civil Right's Act in the LBJ Administration that really pissed them off.


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