November 24, 2004


Bush-black rapprochement urged (Brian DeBose, 11/23/004, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, one of the highest-ranking elected black Republicans in the country, said he would like to see President Bush smooth over his rocky relationship with the NAACP and schedule more speeches in black communities.

Mr. Steele, in a meeting with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, said he has discussed the matter with Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who recently sent a letter to the White House requesting a meeting with Mr. Bush. [...]

Mr. Steele said the president has an opportunity to show black voters that the Republican Party cares about their issues with the gesture and could improve black voter turnout for their candidates in future races.

He said, however, that he wasn't surprised Mr. Bush received more support from the black community in this most recent election, gaining two percentage points nationally (11 percent in 2004, up from 9 percent in 2000) and larger numbers in key states like Ohio, where Mr. Bush received 16 percent of the black vote.

Mr. Steele said issues such as same-sex "marriage," medical-malpractice reform and tax cuts resonated with many black voters, adding that the president could have done much better among that voting bloc if he had scheduled more appearances in black communities and spoke directly to them about his policies.

With the Democratic Party increasingly marginalized such groups need the GOP and the President is smart enough to use that to make the Republican Party more acceptable to blacks.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2004 9:33 AM

It is a good idea to try to pry blacks from the Dems. But I think an apology from the NAACP for the Byrd ads in 2000 should be the first step before the President meets with them.

Posted by: Bob at November 24, 2004 10:38 AM

There's a better way. Just do an end-run around the NAACP and go directly to African-American pastors. Spread some of that faith-based money around and let natuere take its course.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 24, 2004 11:58 AM

Heck, if the Republicans get anywhere close to 40% of the black vote, no leftist will ever again get elected to national office.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 24, 2004 12:06 PM

Steele seems like a good pol but saying the president should snuggle up to the NAACP to win favor with African Americans is wrong. The NAACP has shown it has no interest in being cordial or honest with Bush and Bush's efforts with them are wasted. That said, more speeches in African-American communities, with pastors, etc. is an end-run around the NAACP and should be done.

Posted by: AWW at November 24, 2004 1:28 PM

Steele's saying Bush should snuggle up to the NAACP because he's a good pol. It's not going to influence Bush re the NAACP, but it may well influence the NAACP re Michael Steele, which could help him greatly should he run for Governor (and afterwards, should he run for something bigger).

Posted by: Timothy at November 24, 2004 3:10 PM