July 14, 2005


Bush and Party Chief Court Black Voters at 2 Forums (ANNE E. KORNBLUT, 7/15/05, NY Times)

In a coordinated effort to reach black voters, President Bush heralded higher test scores among minorities on Thursday while his party's chairman, in an even more explicit overture, apologized for past Republican efforts to exploit racial friction.

Mr. Bush spoke to business leaders at the Indiana Black Expo here, after declining an invitation to appear at the national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the fifth consecutive year because of what White House officials said was a scheduling conflict.

"We're making big differences in the lives of African-Americans," the president told leaders at the expo.

Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, spoke at the N.A.A.C.P.'s convention in Milwaukee. In his most extensive comments yet on the subject of race, Mr. Mehlman apologized for the so-called Southern strategy that his party employed nearly a half-century ago, when Republicans used the hostility of the civil rights era to pit Southern conservatives against blacks.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," he said. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

No matter how high a regard you have for Ronald Reagan, for example, you have to be embarrassed that he kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2005 10:47 PM

The Republican embrace of blacks is simply a result of the racist generation dying off. When LBJ and other liberals decided they had to push civil rights, the racists went over to the Republicans, who were very happy to have a shot in the South. LBJ's prediction that he had lost the South for the Democrats proved right. But now that generation is dying, and no one has an interest in perpetuating racial division any more.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at July 15, 2005 11:54 AM