March 8, 2005


Blacks hearing a new gospel from GOP (Clarence Page, March 8, 2005, Jewish World Review)

"While Democrats continue to rebuild after their setbacks in the 2004 elections, GOP leaders are quietly being escorted and introduced in the black community by leading ministers, like Bishop [Eddie] Long," [Donna Brazile] wrote.

Bishop Long, a politically independent black pastor of Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, hosted a recent civil rights forum that Brazile attended in Atlanta. The forum was sponsored by PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley and televised on C-SPAN. At the forum, Long and other ministers who had met with Bush praised their "new relationship and dialogue" with Republicans.

Less impressed are the traditional liberal black leaders. In a recent radio interview, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond chided the age-old push by conservatives "to find, develop, nourish, support and heavily fund some kind of an alternative leadership for black Americans."

But let's step back: Having visited some of the ministers around the country who have been receptive to Bush's outreach, most of them do not fit Bond's stereotype of "make-believe, black-face front groups ... with white hands on the strings and black faces dancing down below."

In fact, most of them appear to be the same sort of neighborhood-based churches and pastors to whom Democrats have turned for election victories. Out in America's real neighborhoods, citizens don't appear to care as much as the folks in Washington do about who's liberal or who's conservative; they just care about what works.

Brazile recognizes what the GOP is doing by working through black ministers because that's precisely how she and other Democratic organizers brought out the black vote over the years. If the faith-based initiatives are a new form of patronage, as some critics call it, at least it has more built-in accountability than the old variety.

Perhaps Mr. Bond could explain why finding, developing, and nourishing alternatives to a spectacularly failed black leadership is a bad idea?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2005 7:17 AM

Because he is a card-carrying member of that self same spectacularly failed black leadership? You wouldn't expect Chiang Ching to condemn the Cultural Revolution merely because it was a complete disaster, would you?

Posted by: Bart at March 8, 2005 9:42 AM

Because he'd have to find a real job.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 8, 2005 9:43 AM

Here locally, at least two Black churches that had always participated in the Democrats usual get out the vote knock and drag operation stayed on the sidelines this year. Reason-- gay marriage.

Posted by: Dan at March 8, 2005 11:56 AM