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Seriously now....setting all snark aside....RNC Chairman Michael Steele deserves credit for speaking the truth about his own political party. Michael Steele deserves a standing ovation from the American people for being this honest.....
Why should an African-American vote Republican?
"You really don't have a reason to, to be honest -- we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True," Republican National Chairman Michael Steele told 200 DePaul University students Tuesday night.
The first step to recovery.....is admitting your failures. Owning them. I am proud of Michael Steele, as an American, for having enough courage to admit the truth about his own political party. Telling the truth breaks down barriers....and can lead to reform, change for the better. In this particular case...I sincerely hope so.
Steele, again to his credit.....took it even further....
“We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans,” Steele said. “This party was co-founded by blacks, among them Frederick Douglass. The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don’t walk away from parties. Their parties walk away from them."
Exactly. The Republican Party often proudly boasts about being the Party of Lincoln. There's much to admire about Lincoln's Party, from Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon Johnson, that is. But after the civil rights movement, which led to historic equal rights legislation, the GOP, led by the paranoid-delusional Richard Nixon, took a fatal wrong turn on the national political highway.
“For the last 40-plus years we had a ‘Southern Strategy’ that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, ‘Bubba’ went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.”
The 'Southern Strategy' was popularized by the Nixon political strategist, Kevin Phillips. Here's what he told the NY Times in 1970....
"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."
Not some off-the-cuff remark.....instead, a calmly calculated GOP political strategy to exploit sensitive and volatile southern white racist feelings in the aftermath of America's monumental ending of 100 years of legal discriminatory national policies.
"That's where the votes are." Ugly, isn't it?
Michael Steele, once again to his credit, spoke honestly about that ugliness. Steele's, "by focusing on the white male vote in the south" ..."we alienated many minority voters"....is so spot-on and candid,....especially in the age of take-no-prisoners, smashmouth politicking....he deserves a medal for bravery.
Even the greatest of the great Republicans, Ronald Reagan, the Legendary Father of modern conservatism, so beloved even now by conservatives that they want to put his image on Mt. Rushmore and the $50 bill,.....followed the 'southern strategy' pathway....
Philadelphia, Mississippi is known as the site of one of the most infamous race-related crimes in American history. Shortly after midnight on June 21, 1964, three civil rights workers were murdered by white supremacists on a highway outside of Philadelphia.
On August 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan gave his first post-convention speech after being officially chosen as the Republican nominee for President of the United States at the Neshoba County Fair. The speech drew attention for his use of the phrase "states' rights" at a place just a few miles from a town associated with the 1964 murders of civil rights workers. Reagan said, "I believe in states' rights ... I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them". The use of the phrase was seen by many as a tacit appeal to Southern white voters and a continuation of Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy,
This Nixon-Reagan strategy, RNC Chair Steele said, was for the purpose of race-baiting southern whites in the hopes of turning the white 'Bubba' vote, until 1964 primarily Democratic, into Republican votes.
It's time for the GOP to embrace the truth and admission voiced by Michael Steele. Embrace it, reform and move forward with a new vision of where the conservative party would take America.
Unfortunately, and I don't say this with any self-satisfaction, the Republican Party of 2010 seems to be 'doubling down', as it were, on that despicable southern strategy. Though blacks have been given legal and equal rights in America, other minorities haven't.
The RNC's baiting of the Bubba vote has expanded in the last 20 years to include gay-baiting.....and undocumented Hispanic-baiting. It's the same strategy Nixon-Reagan used. Only the hate-reaction lightning rod categories have been changed.
If we are to be one United States of America....these divisive political strategies must be sh*tcanned. That's what Michael Steele told his own party yesterday. Good on Steele for being so brave.