February 4, 2005


Bush Reaches Out to Blacks (LA Times, February 4, 2005)

The GOP has been courting black clergy since President Bush's first term, with its federal funding of faith-based projects and regular kaffeeklatsches for black pastors. Now that courtship is bearing fruit.

On Tuesday, a group of influential black ministers, which includes Los Angeles evangelist Frederick K.C. Price, proclaimed a pact with Republicans on issues such as opposition to gay marriage, support for school vouchers and the expansion of faith-based social programs. The ministers intend to support key Bush initiatives, including privatization of Social Security, in exchange for his consideration of reentry programs for ex-felons, aid to Africa and an overhaul of healthcare coverage. The next day, Bush announced a $150-million anti-gang initiative in the State of the Union address. [...]

It would be easy to write off any outreach by this administration to the black community as cheap politicking, just as it would be easy to attack the administration if it made no such effort. This president's policies haven't exactly exuded concern for inner cities. But Bush's faith and personal history — he once mentored a young man who was later killed in Houston's gang violence — should not be dismissed too lightly. Give Bush credit for recognizing a growing sense of desperation and tapping into the spiritual vein that has long infused black politics. And his decision to assign his wife, Laura, a former teacher, to head the anti-gang effort may be another sign that the president is genuine about wanting to pay closer attention to the plight of black youths in this country.

Democrats would be wrong to dismiss inroads made by Bush as evidence of blacks' political naivete. There was precious little talk from Democrats during the presidential campaign about inner-city malaise. Black leaders engaged in dialogue with both parties will only give their constituents greater political clout, which they desperately need.

That was the sound of Democrat butts puckering. If blacks do indeed have sense enough to support the party that actually has the power to help them then another Democratic constituency is lost.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 4, 2005 12:22 PM

Or perhaps the gasp of an angina attack as THE critical constituent group flakes. Among the Democratic niche markets, black voters are the largest block and vote at the lowest campaign cost-per-vote basis. Making good the loss here will cost dearly.

Posted by: Luciferous at February 4, 2005 1:48 PM

Backing both parties allows you to win even if one party loses. Glad to see Politics 101 catching on,

Posted by: Mikey at February 4, 2005 4:51 PM
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