March 14, 2005


A courtship worth watching: Conservatives come calling, and blacks may be listening this time (Dan Gilgoff, 3/21/05, US News)

Black conservatives--and disaffected black Democrats--are preparing a major push to convince African-Americans, first, that they've been taken for granted by Democrats and, second, that the Republican Party might be worth another look, especially if the GOP more directly addresses issues of concern to blacks. It's an effort that Republicans have made before--but this time, partisans on both sides believe it could pay real dividends.

The initiatives have sprung in part from President Bush's modest gains among black voters. Though Bush garnered just 11 percent of the black vote last year, that was a 2-point jump from 2000. And in some key states, Bush made bigger gains: from 9 to 16 percent in Ohio and from 7 to 13 percent in Florida. With most African-Americans identifying as churchgoers, some pastors say a new emphasis on "family values," especially opposition to same-sex marriage, is responsible for the shift. Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland pastor and registered Democrat, who voted against Bush in 2000 but supported him last year, is leading an effort called the "Black Contract With America on Moral Values." The contract includes pledges to "protect marriages" and "eliminate abortion." Jackson is circulating the document among black clergy through a series of six summits across the country. Jackson hopes to collect a million signatures and says he's in preliminary talks with the White House: "We're dating, and there's tremendous attraction, but we're not married yet."

A conservative black group, the Mayflower Compact Coalition, will also begin collecting signatures next week for its "21st Century Mayflower Compact," a nine-point agenda for black America that includes support for school choice and private Social Security accounts. "We recognize the achievements of the civil rights movement," says Oliver Kellman, the group's chairman. "But we need a civil responsibilities movement." Advised in part by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's consulting firm, Mayflower is planning town hall meetings in up to 20 states--with the emphasis on battlegrounds where black support for Republicans could make a difference, like Pennsylvania and Michigan. The group will publicize the events via black media and churches, being careful to "push this as an issue-driven initiative, not a party-type initiative," says Kellman.

The thing of it is--the courtship alone helps the Party, helping to change its image in the eyes of not just blacks but moderate whites, particularly women.

(*) Under increasing pressure from The Wife, this marks the start of a new policy: henceforth, when you see the "*" if you're the first to get the allusion we'll send you a book.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 14, 2005 11:53 AM

"We didn't ;and on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth rock landed on us!"
Malcolm X

Posted by: Governor Breck at March 14, 2005 11:57 AM

Nicely done. But, of course, you're a member in good standing of the Black National Congress...

What are you reading these days?

Posted by: oj at March 14, 2005 12:03 PM

What kind of consolation prize are do you going to offer in recognition of the Time Zone handicap?

Posted by: ghostcat at March 14, 2005 12:08 PM

ghostcat: OJ doesn't recognize Time Zones as they are just another indication of the advnce of secular humanism.

OJ: These days I'm reading Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India by Lawrence James. It's quite good and not nearly as anti-Raj as I was expecting. Not as anti-Raj as Simon Schama at least.

Posted by: Governor Breck at March 14, 2005 12:16 PM

Optimists are best advised to regard this as a long-term courting that may yield benefits. Having hit bottom in the 1996, 2000 elections, the trend may be upwards now. (And if the GOP is selective about how and when to cherry pick support -- seemingly, what happened in OH in 2004, this can only be a net plus.)

However, will there not be disappointments along the way. You better believe it. For example, how well could this strategy work angainst Billary: the First Black President and the most devout Chritstian in the Democratic Party. If Blacks want to revert to being used by the Dems, this is a hard couple to ignore. How could a W-less GOP run aganist them in the Black community?

Posted by: Moe from NC at March 14, 2005 12:53 PM

> henceforth, when you see the "*" if you're the first to get the allusion we'll send you a book

Here's an allusion: Bring it on!

Posted by: Guy T. at March 14, 2005 1:46 PM

Gov -

Understood. And one suspects this book giveaway is The Wife's devilishly clever scheme to blow old leaves off the property.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 14, 2005 2:49 PM

Cole Porter said it first:

"Times have changed,
And we've often rewound the clock,
Since the Puritans got a shock,
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
If today,
Any shock they should try to stem,
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them."

Posted by: Rick T. at March 14, 2005 3:28 PM

Well, the California judge's ruling on same-sex marriage that just crawled across the bottom of the CNBC channel will probably have interesting fallout on the Black vote issue.

"No rational reason why marriage should be restricted between a man and a woman."

Posted by: ray at March 14, 2005 8:31 PM


Try a comment instead

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 12:23 AM