August 19, 2005


Bush, blacks and the GOP (Harry Jackson, August 19, 2005, Washington Times)

Monday, July 25 was a watershed moment for me. I met with the president of the United States in a small meeting with other leading African-American community activists and religious leaders. The efforts listed below will have a strong appeal to the "New Black Church" that is emerging in America. [...]

First, Medicare drug benefit: The president mentioned the Medicare drug prescription benefit which will help 42 million Americans. This kind of practical action sits well with concerned black leaders because their constituents are disproportionately affected by the inequities in the health care system. Recent polls have shown that the black community has become skeptical of the president's social security reform. I am convinced that part of this concern has been anchored in the fear of change and awareness that the health care is a pressing need for those at or above the poverty line.

Second, corporate funds for faith based groups: The president announced a White House summit which will be held in March of 2006 to discuss removing barriers which prevent faith-based organizations from receiving corporate and foundations funds. This summit has the potential of allowing the black community's most adept social entrepreneurs access to income streams that can multiply their effectiveness in the community.

Third, compassionate work in Africa: The president's ideas about Africa are very refreshing. In the past, blacks have had the distinct impression that any crisis in Europe had weight. Africa's dilemmas, however, was never deemed urgent enough to address. Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are changing that perception...

...but the first was a quota hire.

Seeking black votes: Emphasizing values, GOP renews efforts to reach out position (Carl P. Leubsdorf, 8/19/05,

For more than a generation, Republican leaders have talked of cutting the overwhelming Democratic support among black voters. Now, under new chairman Ken Mehlman, they're trying again.

He hopes to expand on the modest 2004 increase in President Bush's black support, which stemmed in part from the values-based appeal that also solidified the backing of white religious conservatives.

In Ohio, where a gay marriage ban was on the ballot, exit polls show his share of black voters nearly doubled.

Since becoming chairman in January, Mehlman has made a major effort to reach out to African-Americans. He has repudiated the GOP's "Southern strategy" of a generation ago, spoken to major national black organizations, held a series of town meetings with black Republicans and enlisted the 16,000 black team leaders in Bush's re-election campaign.

Next year, Republicans may field black candidates for top offices in five Northern states, including several religious conservatives who contrast sharply with traditionally liberal black Democratic candidates.

Two main issues attract black voters, the GOP chairman said: "a belief that faith ought to have a place in public life" and that "we offer policies that are the path to opportunity."

African-American-owned firms increase (Jim Hopkins, 8/17/05, USA TODAY)
Cherie Ransom struggled to find work after Bethlehem Steel went bust in 2001, zapping her accounting job near Buffalo during the recession.

Ransom moved home to Virginia, but full-time permanent jobs were elusive, and some employers said she was overqualified. Ransom started a bookkeeping service from her Virginia Beach home, focusing on small-business customers.

Now, Ransom, 35, says she has enough work to consider hiring her first employee. "I was so busy last year, it was crazy," she says.

Her business is one of about 375,000 started by African-Americans from 1997 to 2002, new Census data show. That was surprising growth, given that African-Americans trailed Asians and Hispanics five years before, the last time the Census tracked the numbers.

The 45% jump in black-owned firms, to 1.2 million, was the highest growth rate among the largest minority groups, the Census says.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2005 6:22 AM

Clinton was a wannabe, from the moment he walked on stage on Arsenio.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 19, 2005 9:58 PM