April 28, 2005


Rasta Republican: Meet Los Angeles's Ted Hayes. He's black, dreadlocked--and belongs to the GOP. (JILL STEWART, April 28, 2005, Opinion Journal)

Condoleezza Rice and Ward Connerly once epitomized black Republicans in California. But their ilk now also includes Ted Hayes, a social activist and inner-city coach whose billowing robes and dreadlocks don't exactly conjure up an image of the GOP.

More blacks than ever support vouchers and faith-based initiatives, and side with President Bush on gay marriage. Mr. Hayes recently made the transition himself, ending a long journey for this former leftist who founded Dome Village, an outcropping of pod-like homeless shelters along the freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

There are other prominent black Republicans in California, of course, such as syndicated radio host Larry Elder and community relations expert Joe Hicks. But even among these unusual thinkers, Mr. Hayes stands out. He's an intense critic of L.A.'s powerful "black old guard"--Democratic politicians, charity bosses and inner-city preachers who, for a generation, have responded to poverty and illiteracy by demanding government programs and blaming white racism.

Not surprisingly, plenty of people wish pesky black Republicans like Mr. Hayes would just slink away. He has skewered L.A.'s entrenched black leaders as "Negro officials," and he has the street cred to get away with it. As L.A. endured another crisis between black leaders and cops recently, he refused to denounce police for shooting dead a 13-year-old, Devin Brown, after a car chase. Instead, Mr. Hayes's press release faulted black church leaders who, despite their great power, rarely point to the lack of parental responsibility.

A totemic figure in L.A., Mr. Hayes has long emphasized problem-solving and individual responsibility. If you want to stop kids from shooting people, Mr. Hayes has told appalled black preachers and activists, stop blaming cops and "white folks" for urban tragedy and start blaming the lackadaisical inner-city family culture you support.

Mr. Hayes spent last fall tooling around the fortified neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, knocking on security screens and urging stunned residents to vote Bush. He explained that the Democratic Party was the Klan's party in the 20th century, and the party of the slave trade before that. A lot of people he met didn't know their pre-1960s history. He's ever unflappable. In early December, he appeared on Fox News to vociferously defend the right of Condi Rice to be Republican. His segment was introduced by a bemused Brit Hume, who hardly knew what to make of the Rasta Republican.

The two parties do rather neatly divide on the question of whether one is responsible for one's own behavior or not (on all issues but corporate responsibility).

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2005 12:16 PM

Peter Tosh, right?

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 28, 2005 12:58 PM

you bet

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2005 1:04 PM

As corporations don't actually exist, corporate responsibility is an oxymoron.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 28, 2005 4:51 PM

quod erat demonstrandum

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2005 5:32 PM

I like to throw you a bone now and then.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 28, 2005 5:57 PM

And I like picking them clean, breaking them open and sucking out the marrow.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2005 7:45 PM

Ah, an optimist.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 28, 2005 10:06 PM

I've never yet found any reason to be a pessimist.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2005 10:11 PM

"(on all issues but corporate responsibility)"

Huh? Enron happened on Clinton's watch, and was prosecuted on Bush's watch. And Bush pushed through new laws requiring executives to personally attest to the accuracy of corporate reports, with risk of personal sanctions if the reports are inaccurate. How does that not fit your pattern?

Posted by: ralph phelan at April 29, 2005 8:44 AM

That's criminality, not responsibility. But Republicans wrote and didn't write all the laws and regulations that allowed those scandals to occur.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2005 8:59 AM

Ralph: Sarbanes-Oxley is just a terrible law that is going to make corporate governance worse, not better. If that's corporate responsibility, leave me out.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 29, 2005 12:20 PM

"But Republicans wrote and didn't write all the laws and regulations that allowed those scandals to occur."

If I'm not mistaken, the Democrats controlled the House until the early 90s, and the Senate until 2002. How many of the laws that caused the scandals of the 90s were actually their doing?

Posted by: ralph phelan at April 29, 2005 2:11 PM

And the GOP the presidency and the Senate for a fair bit.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2005 2:18 PM