Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Barack Obama -- A Black Republican's BFF?

So, Hillary Clinton first gives rise to Sarah Palin and now this. Political diversity fever -- catch it!!

A few of my homies talk about being an African American Republican in a Barack Obama world (A measure of how pathetically persistently lonely can be the "professional black Republican" existence: Of the four people quoted in this article, I personally know/met three of them -- and I haven't worked for the party in nearly a decade).

Don Scoggins sings a similar lyrics
as yours truly:
Scoggins, 63,...says his support for Obama wasn't just out of a sense of racial pride. But he was moved by Obama's forceful speech last June on personal responsibility, particularly among black men. "In the black community," Scoggins says, "the biggest problem is the deterioration of the black family. McCain wasn't interested in that — and I don't think he could ever have been the person to articulate it." Scoggins has faced criticism in some conservative circles for supporting Obama. But, he says, "Sometimes you have to lose in order to win. The Republican Party losing [is] forcing it to re-create itself into a party for the 21st century."
Former Maryland state party chairman, lieutant governor and 2006 U.S. Senate candidate, Michael Steele has already thrown his hat in for national party chairman (the election is in January):
Michael Steele does not diminish the power of the Obama victory. "As a black man, of course I am very proud of his accomplishment," Steele says. "It is at once uplifting — of not only a people but a nation — and sobering in light of the work that remains to be done to address the systemic erosion of black wealth, health and opportunity." But Steele predicts that Obama as President will find it difficult to appease his more liberal supporters as he is forced to moderate views on the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other issues.

Steele says if he is selected as the RNC's chairman in January, he will move swiftly to temper the party's tone, using the model of Ronald Reagan, who, he says, "made it cool to be a conservative." But one of Steele's more daunting mandates will to be to broaden the GOP's base of black voters. "I'll tell local chairmen, 'If you want to be chairman under my leadership, don't think this is a country-club atmosphere where we sit around drinking wine and eating cheese and talking amongst ourselves. If you don't want to drill down and build coalitions in minority communities, then you have to give that seat to someone who does."

That will be a particularly difficult challenge during an Obama presidency. But Steele says that people have to be reminded of the origins of the things over which they take issue with the GOP. Many blacks, he says, "look at the party as this bastion of racism, which it isn't. Democrats have to keep defining us as racists because that's how they stay in power. But just look at the inner-city school systems and the poverty levels that have been high for years. It's systemic, and you can't blame Republicans for that. I haven't heard Barack Obama talk about the recidivism rate among youth in the prison system, or drug addiction. I don't know what he's going to do. But I know we're going to be developing strategies that put us in places where we need to talk about entrepreneurship. We're going to offer something more."
And yet, Mike Memoli, Marc Ambinder's assistant, shares this nugget about a possible, ahem, "dark horse" in the committee race:
The Hotline reporting [Monday] morning:
After receiving calls from RNC members asking him to run for RNC chair, ex-OH Sec/State Ken Blackwell is now considering a bid (Wake-Up Call!
Blackwell was soundly defeated in his Ohio gov bid in '06, after a
controversial stint as the secretary of state there. He's since been writing at
Town Hall and heading up the Coalition for a Conservative Majority....

As candidates in 2006, Blackwell mostly held to his strict conservative views on abortion, taxes and gun rights, while Steele presented a more moderate face in the deeper blue Free State.
There are already several other -- Caucasian -- names in the mix for the RNC chair, but an energetic battle between two black candidates could get the party far more attention than the usual party leadership races get when the party is out of power. And suddenly, the traditionally completely marginalized black Republicans find not one, but two of their own having prominent roles in the future of the party. Talk about change we might believe in!

Gee, thanks, Barack. Couldn't have done it without you.

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