While an overwhelming 94% of all African-American voters have supported President Obama, the soon to be Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, stood before the NAACP’s national convention in Texas and stated;
“I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for President. I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.”
Such was the case that Mitt Romney made for himself as he walked in to the proverbial Lion’s Den and addressed the nation’s oldest and largest African-American organization and tried to demonstrate that he will be a better President for not just Africfan-Americans, but all Americans.
The speech broke little new ground, and probably did little to change the minds of those in attendance but what it did do was demonstrate that the plight of African-Americans is no different from the plight of other Americans who are suffering from high unemployment and a government that is spending a trillion dollars more a year than it takes in. But while Romney’s pitch was good, it was anything but well recieved by the obviously and ironically prejudiced, so-called civil rights audience in attendnace. The less than tepid reception was to be expected given that that the impetus of Romney’s address to the NAACP was his opposition to President Obama’s policies on everything from trade, the size of government, energy, the economy, education, and the issue that initited the largest round of boos, his opposition to Obamacare.
Still though, Romney set his address up in such a way that it left African-Americans with some undeniably tough questions to answer to when trying to defend their support for President.
According to Romney;
“If someone had told us in the 1950s or 60s that a black citizen would serve as the forty-fourth president, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised. Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened. Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have to come down.
“Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before. And across America — and even within your own ranks — there are serious, honest debates about the way forward.”
Then Romney opened the door to make a case for why he would be a better President for all Americans , including those of color, than President;
“If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community. In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent.
“Americans of every background are asking when this economy will finally recover – and you, in particular, are entitled to an answer.”
To additional boos Romney added;
“If you want a President who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him.”
Romney ended his speech to the obviously appreehnsive audience on what was probably the single most conciliatory and positive note possible as closed his remark by notinng;
“You all know something of my background, and maybe you’ve wondered how any Republican ever becomes governor of Massachusetts in the first place. Well, in a state with 11 percent Republican registration, you don’t get there by just talking to Republicans. We have to make our case to every voter. We don’t count anybody out, and we sure don’t make a habit of presuming anyone’s support. Support is asked for and earned – and that’s why I’m here today…
“Should I be elected president, I’ll lead as I did when governor. I will look for support wherever there is good will and shared conviction. I will work with you to help our children attend better schools and help our economy create good jobs with better wages.”
Some may argue that Romney’s appearance before the NAACP was a waste of time. They will argue that the NAACP is hypocritically prejudiced organization that is anti-anything that is not liberal and which harbors within their ranks, pockets of a radical black racists. Be that true or not, Mitt Romney demonstrated that he does not fear differnces of opinion and that he does not shy away from standing up for his beliefs even among those who may not believe in him. And whether you agree with Romney or not, there was no denying that much of what he said was true. President Obama’s policies have not worked for anyone, most especially African-Americans who under President Obama have been negatively impacted by the deficit based culture of dependnecy and rates of unemployment that are higher for them than they are for anyother group of Americans in the nation. So the question now becomes, is supporting a a person becuase of their color more important than defeating a person whos policies are hurting people of color?
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