J.C. Watts, former GOP congressman from Oklahoma and a black American, on the decision of the four front-running GOP candidates to skip Tavis Smiley's All American Presidential Forum, scheduled to be broadcast by PBS this Thursday.
"I think the best that comes out of stupid decisions like this," said former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, is "that African-Americans might say, 'Was it because of my skin color?' Now, maybe it wasn't, but African-Americans do say, 'It crossed my mind.'" [SNIP]
The invitations were extended in March, but the front-runners have claimed scheduling conflicts. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's weighing getting into the race, called that excuse "baloney" and called the no-shows "fundamentally wrong." On "Good Morning America" today, Gingrich said GOP candidates are making a mistake because "African-Americans have been hurt more by the failures of government" than any other group.
Watts pointed out that some of the candidates with more liberal histories on issues such as guns and abortion have reached out to conservative groups that don't share their views.
See Rudy Giuliani and the NRA.
"You kind of scratch your head thinking why are they making decisions like that?" Watts said. He speculated the candidates don't have any African-American staffers who "could say to them, 'You're making a huge mistake strategically by not at least reaching out and talking to this demographic.'"The last emphasized thought had occurred to me also the first time I talked about this subject. The second thought, however, was that, if these candidates were to attend this particular debate, the only reason to do so would be to stress what all Americans of any party have in common, rather than stressing the seemingly competing interests which are used to divide us into factions. It isn't necessary for the staffer to be a black American in order to clue his/her employer in on the benefits of at least trying to get such ideas across. If they are unwilling to put or incapable of putting forth such an effort, then why should any of us, regardless of color, vote for them?
Captain Ed is thinking more strategically than the Top Four are:
We have scolded the African-American community for its lock-step support for Democrats. However, as the avoidance of this debate demonstrates, Republicans haven't exactly beaten down doors in an attempt to engage these voters, either. [SNIP]
I don't think that the refusal to attend the PBS debate has to do with inherent racism, but rather a sense that no short-term benefit will arise from engaging blacks during the Republican primaries. It's an unfortunate calculation. We have messages of empowerment through free enterprise and market-based solutions for education that could resonate, if only our leadership would engage African-American voters early and often. It may not help elect a Republican president in 2008, but it could generate enough interest to replace J.C. Watts as our only black Congressman within ten years of his retirement.I emailed my previous post on the subject ("Just Showing Up is Half the Battle") to the Top Four. I'll let you know whether or not I've received a response.
AND ANOTHER THING: The four second-tier candidates who will be at the Forum--Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Mike Huckabee and even Ron Paul--aren't exacty Leftwing ideologues. One might argue that they have nothing to lose by doing so, but, exactly what would the Top Four have to lose by being there?
UPDATE: Sam Brownback will attend also. MORE: Oh yeah, and Alan Keyes. Can't wait to find out what he has to say about the topic.
UPDATE: You know, when I read a comment section like this one--on topic--at Huffington Post, I don't wonder why some Republicans give up and I do wonder why I bother.
Black Republicans = Jews for Hitler.....
What a joke....Uncle Tom's for Bush
Black republiCON=Uncle Tom
There should be no such thing as a black republiCON.
Anybody who clams to be one has ulterior motives and should be considered a suspect.
RepubliCON is the party of racism who fights AGAINST civil rights.
The few people of color they do have in the Gopers party are hardly worth the powder to blow them to hell.
Black Republicans? definition: self-deluding uppity morons, i.e., Supreme Court pervert-Justice Clarence Uncle Tom. You deserve the spit in your faces.
Black republicans see the republican KKK hat and believe it is the big tent they've heard so much about. How saddd.Then there's this mind-boggling ignorance of history:
reBushlican supporting African-Americans should not forget history. If it was left up to the Greedy Obnoxious People (GOP), Negro's would still be riding in the back of the bus.And, blessedly this island of sanity:
WHy is it that huffsters cheered the democratics all refusing to attend the debate cosponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus? But now you are attacking republicans for not attending a debate sponsored by a historically black college?I need a shower; I fell as though I've been visiting Stormfront's site.